Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Strange Weather In Unusual Places (and a shot at 80 here by Friday)

* Beautiful weather lingers into Saturday morning, temperatures 10-20 degrees above average.

* 80 F. not out of the question Friday afternoon in the Twin Cities, typical for late August.

* Weekend outlook has soured - an "upper level disturbance" (puddle of unusually cold air aloft) will spark scattered showers Saturday afternoon into Sunday, couple hours of rain possible each day - still relatively mild.

* A colder front brewing between Saturday, the 16th and Wednesday, the 20th of October: highs in the 40s and 50s, but readings may rebound into the 60s again after the 20th of October.

"A-Train" Satellites Search for 770 Tons Of Dust In The Air. According to NASA - every year an estimated 770 TONS of Saharan dust blows into the Atlantic Ocean, swept thousands of miles downwind, reaching South America, even the southeastern USA. The impact of this steady stream of African dust on hurricane formation, ocean currents and climate change is still largely misunderstood, one of many lingering meteorological mysteries.

What 2 Degree Temperature Rise Means To Canada: Report. Canada is expected to warm more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet in the years ahead, resulting in a potential increase in timber yields, but less water in rivers and the Great Lakes for transportation - a decidedly mixed bag. For more on how our neighbors to the north are weighing the pros and cons of a steadily warming climate click here.

Expert: Texas Is Getting Hotter Due To Global Warming. A researcher at Texas A&M has data showing much of Texas warming at the rate of 1 degree F/decade. He predicts that "triple-digit heat will become the norm in Texas, and 115 degree readings won't be surprising." More from USA Today here.

As The World Burns: How the Senate and the White House Missed Their Best Chance To Deal With Climate Change. The New Yorker has a long, well-written article about the political football climate change has become in Washington D.C. Bottom line, when drafting a comprehensive bill that would address not only climate change but America's energy security, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. An interesting read.

Twins Play-off Weather Outlook

This Evening (Target Field) 7:37 pm: Clear and unusually mild. 55-60 F.

Thursday Evening (Target Field) 5:07 pm: Clear and relatively balmy (for October). 56-63 F.

Saturday Evening (Yankee Stadium) 7:37 pm. Mostly clear and dry. 58-63 F.

Sunday (Yankee Stadium) TBD. Sunny and pleasant. High: 67

And So It Begins. 3" of snow reported on Mt. LaConte, Tennessee (elevation 6,593 feet) by WOOD-TV. Ouch. It was the earliest (heavy) snowfall since 1979. Ironic that it's snowing on either coast (Sierra Nevada of California may pick up 10" of heavy wet snow or more in the coming days). Meanwhile high pressure straddling the Plains will keep Minnesota sunny, balmy, and unseasonably mild through early next week with a string of 70s - 80 is still not out of the question close to home by Sunday. More on the freak Tennessee snowfall here.

Hail and High Water. When you think of Las Vegas you probably think of hot sand, slot machines, extravagant shows on the Strip - but flash flooding? This home video shows what happens when 6"+ rains fall on the desert. Serious flooding was reported in the Lake Meade area, reports of a "wall of water" sweeping across the normally placid lake - no reports of injuries, but a nearly stationary storm hovering over California is going to soak much of the Desert Southwest in the coming days - we haven't seen the last of the flooding in this part of the USA.

It Never Rains In Southern California - But It Does POUR! This YouTube clip shows accumulated water on Interstate 5, traffic slowed to a creep. An estimated 32,000 residents of Los Angeles were without power, the result of high winds downing power lines. Record lows have been set all up and down the west coast, some of the suburbs of San Diego experienced the chilliest October 5th since 1928.

Are Tornadoes Increasing? 145 tornadoes in Minnesota and counting in 2010. Nationwide it SEEMS like the tornado count has spiked in recent years. Is this really the case, or are we just doing a better job of finding and reporting on tornadoes that have always been there? With the rise of Twitter, YouTube and citizen journalism (and the popularity of the movie "Twister" inspiring thousands of amateur tornado chasers) - there's no question that we now have access to more numerous streams of real-time tornado information. But can we actually connect the dots and state (with scientific certainty) that "tornadoes are on the increase?" Some researchers aren't  so sure, the one major tip-off would be a documented increase in low-level moisture, the fuel that powers the severe, rotating "supercell" T-storms that often go on to spin up tornadoes. More on the ongoing debate from Discovery News here.

Storm Chasing In Arizona - In October? Photo courtesy of Twitpic. Now I've heard everything...

What The Hail? The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce would not be thrilled to see this YouTube clip get out into the wild. Windswept hailstorms - in October? Snowbirds considering heading south to Arizona may want to put off the road trip for a few more weeks - our weather will be far kinder & gentler, at least through the third week of October.

Wow Factor. Just another amazing day in paradise. Wild hailstorms in Scottsdale, while we bask in mid 70s and bright October sunlight. Yes, the world has suddenly gone crazy, an upside-down weather pattern. Highs ranged from a brisk 56 at Grand Marais (a town that should be annexed by Alaska) to 74 in St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, 76 at International Falls (nearly 20 degrees above average) and 77 at Alexandria. By the way, 74 at MSP is the normal high for September 10.  I'm feeling better about my 80-degree high prediction. Just a matter of time...

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

Today: Sunny & spectacular. Winds: NW 10-15. Evening temperatures falling into the upper 50s. High: 70

Wednesday night: Clear and a bit cooler. Low: 44

Thursday: Blue sky - feels like mid September. High: 71

Friday: Sunshine, even milder. Hard to remain cooped up indoors. High: 78 ( a few thermometers near 80!)

Saturday: Sunny start, clouds increase with a few PM showers. High: 73

Sunday: Unsettled, a few scattered showers likely. High: 71

Monday: More clouds than sun - another shower or two in the area: 74

Tuesday: Partly sunny - another  round of showers possible late. High: 73

THIS is the Minnesota I wish the rest of America could appreciate. While the northeast gets clobbered with wind-whipped rain (and even some snow over the higher terrain of Tennessee and West Virginia) and flooding rains grip California and Arizona - the Upper Midwest has been transformed into an oasis os high pressure: warming, sinking (drying) air - a streak of sunny, spectacular weather which will leave us with some of the best weather in North America through at least the first half of next week. 8-10 dry, sunny, Septemberlike days in a row? Pretty unusual to be seeing weather this nice, for this long, during what will probably wind up being the first HALF of October. We had a wet, stormy, fairly wild summer (can't shake that 145 tornadoes statistic out of my mind just yet). I guess we were due for a cosmic break, and it's here. If you can't sneak outside today, you'll get another shot Thursday - and Friday - and much of Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of next week. Amazing. A taste of San Diego or Palm Springs - in Minnesota - in October?

Only one (small) fly in the weather ointment. Computer models are hinting at an "upper air disturbance", a swirl of unusually cold air aloft, pinwheeling overhead Saturday, destablizing our skies enough for a few showers Saturday afternoon into Monday of next week. I don't think it will be a steady rain - but I'm not nearly as optimistic about the weekend as I was yesterday, plan on at least a couple hours of rain Saturday afternoon and Sunday - relatively mild, but not nearly as nice as the next 3 days. Again, I wouldn't be suprised to see an 80 pop up Friday - best chance south/west of the Minnesota River Valley, toward Windom, Mankato and Albert Lea. These temperatures are forecast to be as much as 20 degrees above average, statistically very significant.

Long range models cool us off (rather noticeably) between October 16-20 (highs sinking into the 40s and 50s), but a bit of a rebound again after the 20th, maybe a few more 60s. No snow in sight, but late-week shorts WILL give way to a reality check 2 weekends from now. Bottom line - make the most of the next 3 days, arguably not only the nicest weather of Autumn, but some of the finest weather of the entire year.

What A Difference A Year Makes. October '09 was nothing like what October '10 is turning into. The first snow (.3") came on October 10, followed up quickly by a 2.5" snowfall on the 12th. In all it snowed (at least flurries) on 5 separate days during October of 2009, the warmest temperature 64 F. on October 7. No cold or snow in sight (although we all realize that it's inevitable). For die-hard winter weather lovers all I can say is, be patient. Your day is coming). Click here to see monthly weather records for MSP going back to 1997, courtesy of the MN State Climatology Office. How bored are you right now?

And to think - a year ago we were faced with a much different weather scenario. A year ago (today) the high was a whopping 47. We were faced with a series of clipper-like storms, each one dragging progressively colder air into Minnesota. On October 10, 2009 a coating of snow delighted Twin Cities residents (.3" to be exact). Just two days later, on October 12 a whopping 2.5" of snow fell, enough to shovel and plow and elicit a string of grunts, groans and cries of despair I'd just as soon forget. Not this year - we get a supersized Autumn in 2010. Maybe it's payback for an unusually warm, sticky (and severe) summer. Maybe it's cosmic retribution for the flooding we muddled through in late September. Whatever the reason I hope you can escape your cubicle and soak up what should be some of the finest weather of 2010. Bright sun, WITHOUT the bugs, humidity or wild, raging T-storms. A Minnesota Fall the way it was probably meant to be...

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