Monday, September 6, 2010

Wind Advisory (and how you can SAVE a life)

* Tropical Storm Hermine brushes south Texas with 40-60 mph winds and a risk of tornadoes.

* Winds gust to 40 mph. today - typical weather for early October.

* Wednesday: nicest day of the week? Cool sun, light winds.

* Thursday: over 1" of rain possible - storms spike the rain on Friday?

* Slow clearing trend from west to east Saturday, Sunday may be the sunnier day of the weekend.

Blustery Tuesday. The map above shows predicted wind gusts around 8 am this morning, ranging from 30-40 mph over parts of central and southern MN (where the temperature gradient/contrast is greatest). Map courtesy of NOAA.

Brimming Rain Gauges. The heaviest rains on Labor Day fell over parts of western and central Minnesota - you can clearly make out the tracks of individual T-storms that dumped the heaviest amounts of rain, 1-2" from near St. Cloud to Alexandria, Glenwood and Benson.

Ominous Swirl. Monday evening Tropical Storm Hermine made landfall well south of Brownsville, Texas, the spiral bands wrapping around this (strong) tropical storm capable of scattered tornadoes and flooding rains.

Hermine's Track. Moisture leftover from "Hermine" may help to alleviate a drought gripping much of central Texas, a soggy, pinwheel of moisture surging north across the Plains states - it's conceivable that some of the sloppy dregs of Hermine may spike OUR rain here by Thursday.

Labor Day Climate Recap. Highs reached the 70s over southern Minnesota, the heaviest rains over central and western counties. St. Cloud picked up 1.34" of rain Monday, with 2.16" reported at Alexandria, that's 2-3 week's worth of rain in one day.

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Today: Mostly cloudy, VERY windy and cool with sprinkles. Winds: NW 20-40. High: 61

Tuesday night: Gradual clearing, winds start to subside. Low: 47

Wednesday: Plenty of sunshine, less wind - best day of the week? High: 68

Thursday: Cloud with rain, possibly heavy at times. High: 66

Friday: Showers and T-storms linger. High: 73

Saturday: Clouds giving way to slow clearing (especially western/northern MN). High: 72

Sunday: More sun, a fine September day. Showers possible far north late. High: 75

Monday: Partly sunny and pleasant. High: 74

Back to work - back to school - back to the grind. At least you won't be distracted by exceptional weather outside your window today. Welcome to another fast-forward October day in early September. Clouds will sputter along, whipped into a frenzy by 30-40 mph winds. Throw in a few light showers and sprinkles and you have a pretty disgusting display of September (at its worst). At least it won't snow...

And we lucked out for most of the holiday weekend, dry weather the rule Saturday, Sunday, even Monday morning. Late last week we thought that Labor Day would be the wettest of the bunch, and that turned out to be the case, although rainfall amounts were all over the map. A few severe storms flared up Monday, a storm watch had to be posted for southeastern MN. Unusual for September, but hardly unprecedented.

80s to our south, 40s lurking just north - any time you have such a huge temperature contrast the winds have to blow stronger - to keep the atmosphere in a state of equilibrium. Today will be typical - for the first week of October - temperatures stuck in the 50s and low 60s, a northwest wind gusting over 40 mph. at times. If you have football practice this evening odds favor a dry sky, nothing more than sprinkles - a definite whiff of windchill in the air (it will feel like low to mid 40s out there). Something to look forward to.

We get a sunny break Wednesday (winds drop off dramatically as temperatures hold in the mid to upper 60s). But storms seem to be stacked 2-3 days apart, the next wave of moisture arrives Thursday and Friday - the NAM/WRF model hinting at over 1" of rain Thursday, possibly spiked with a little thunder on Friday.

"Backlash" clouds may linger into a part of Saturday - not sure just how fast we'll clear out - although the outlook is better for western MN Saturday than from Duluth to MSP to Rochester, where low, lumpy stratocumulus clouds may linger into midday, even part of the afternoon. A west-to-east clearing trend is likely Saturday, with generally fair skies the rule from late Saturday into much of Sunday. Sunday may wind up being the sunnier day, at least for the metro area - any late-day showers confined to far northern counties of Minnesota.

Boulder Blaze. Local resident Kahle Toothill captured this photo of a brushfire outside of Boulder, one of a handful of blazes impacting the west. Overall the frequency and intensity of fires is not as significant as it was in previous years - more on a relatively quiet fire season here.

Finally, something non-weather-related, but very near and dear to my heart. Over the weekend we got the devastating news that one of my son's best friends took his life last Thursday. He was 20, about to transfer to the U. of MN, an avid movie connoisseur and just a great all-around guy. There were no warning signs, at least that we were aware of. My son is crushed - and all of us are left grasping at straws, trying to make sense out of a tragedy that makes no sense.

I'm involved with an amazing local organization, SAVE, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. A small band of volunteers reach out to people suffering from depression - and families that have been touched by suicide. Dr. Dan Reidenberg is a psychologist and Director of SAVE, an amazing guy who never fails to pick up the phone, any time of the day or night. Not only does he talk to depressed and potentially suicidal individuals, he's testified before Congress on a variety of subjects related to depression. He's concerned about recent trends - the recession and housing bust has left more people than ever struggling with depression. The message he preaches: help is available, in fact something like 98% of all people suffering from depression can be helped with a combination of medication and therapy. You DON'T have to live in pain - help is out there. If you are hurting, or you know someone, a friend, family member of colleague who is suffering through depression - even if it's just a gut feel - make sure they are aware of SAVE. Send them the web site or the phone number and encourage them to take the next step. There is no shame, no stigma - depression is like diabetes, it's a chemical imbalance in the brain, one that can be corrected. But left untreated depression can lead to terrible tragedy, as our family witnessed over the weekend. You can save a life - the first step is empowering people with information. Take the first step.

* In 2007 suicide was the SECOND leading cause of death in Minnesota for 15-34 year olds, the third leading cause of death for 35-44 year olds, 4th for the 45-54 age group.

* In 2007 there were 86 homicides in Minnesota, but 572 suicides.

* Suicide rates among our military and veterans are DOUBLE that of the general population, but also affect young people as well. SAVE helped the family of an 8-year old who took his life this spring.

* SAVE is the leading suicide agency working with public awareness of this issue, helping to reduce the stigma and shame of suicide and mental illnesses - and is now becoming the leading suicide survivor agency in the nation, helping families, communities and businesses after a suicide has occurred.

All you have to do is take the first step. In light of what happened last week with my son's friend I'm going to include SAVE's web site and toll-free number: 1-800-273-8255 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-273-8255      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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