Today: scattered showers (thunder possible). Dew point: 62. Winds: N/NE 10-15. A fairly unsettled day with more clouds than sun. Highs: 69 (up north) -75 (metro lakes).
.04" rain predicted today (best chance of a few showers and T-showers this afternoon).
Sunday: nicer day of the weekend with bright sun (no rain expected). Dew point: 57. Winds: S/SE 5-10. Highs: 78-83.
Dry weather lingers into Monday, possibly Tuesday of next week.
Over 2,000 Unhealthy Air Alerts So Far In 2011, Nationwide. Details from EPA and NRDC below.
.37" rain fell on Midland, Texas Thursday. That's more rain than fell on Midland the previous 10 months combined!
Photo credit: (Thursday night) in Arizona, photographer Marsha Adams caught a Perseid meteor shooting over Ship Rock near Sedona.
Perseid-Cam. Here's a live stream of the meteor shower, courtesy of NASA and UStream: "A live video/audio feed of the Perseid shower is embedded here. The camera is mounted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. During the day, you'll see a dark gray box -- the camera is light-activated and will turn on at dusk each evening. At night you'll see white points, or stars, on a black background. You can also access these links to more all sky cameras to have other views of the sky. Before the camera activates, you can still hear the audio of meteors passing through the sky, creating blips, pings and whistles. The meteors themselves don't make sounds, but they ionize the air around them as they burn up. These ionized air molecules reflect radio waves back to our antenna. You can also watch throughout the night and see a Perseid fireball composite "grow" as new Perseids are added to a composite image, courtesy of ELP Allsky in El Paso, Texas."
Severe Saturday. A few storms may be severe ahead of an eastbound cool front from the southern suburbs of Chicago southward to Indianapolis, Louisville and Memphis.
Saturday Weather Map. The latest WRF model shows an almost September-like storm spinning up over southeastern Minnesota - a swirl of showers and T-storms from Minnesota across Wisconsin, southward to St. Louis and the Mid South. More showers and storms stretch from Pittsburgh southward to Charlotte and Savannah, while the western half of the USA stays mostly-dry.
Today: Instability Showers. A pool of cold air aloft will leave the atmosphere over Minnesota and Wisconsin unsettled today, a few hit-or-miss showers (possible thunder) as winds swing around to the north. It won't rain the entire day, but .10 to .20" rain is predicted - best chance during the afternoon and early evening hours.
Sunday: Weather Bliss. Tomorrow should restore your faith in a Minnesota August - a bubble of high pressure settling over southern Minnesota, treating us to bright sun, highs within a whisker of 80 with dew points in the 50s and a light south/southeast breeze, under 10 mph. No rain expected Sunday.
"Death By Ignorance". Veteran meteorologist, research scientist (and part-time tornado chaser) Chuck Doswell, a legend in the field of tornado research, has a few deep thoughts about tornado warnings and why the death toll was so high this year. Here is an excerpt of a post at his blog, "Chuck's Chatter": "We meteorologists could issue pretty much perfect forecasts and yet people still will die as a result of storms when they hit populated areas. Why is that? It’s fatalities that justify the cost associated with studying severe storms. Society invests its resources in our research with the hope that increasing our understanding of storms will result in improved forecasts, in turn resulting in reductions of fatalities associated with storms. Perhaps there’s even some hope of mitigating the damage such storms produce, as well. In my examination of storms and the fatalities they produce, I’ve discovered that a significant fraction of storm fatalities arise from ignorance! Not all fatalities, to be sure – there are other factors that cause fatalities: poverty, physical handicaps, age, etc. But I believe the majority of deaths are directly or indirectly related to ignorance. People drive into tornadoes. People drive into rising flood waters. People ignore severe weather warnings. Why? In part, the answer seems to be ignorance, in one way or another. There are two types of ignorance: the first is simply a lack of knowledge. Everyone has gaps in their knowledge for the simple reason that no one knows everything. But there’s another type of ignorance: willful ignorance. This is when someone has a good reason to know something, because that knowledge could save their lives, but they simply choose not to learn. This willful ignorance has a synonym: stupidity."
Report Details 2,000 "Unhealthy Air" Alerts in 2011. Iimage above courtesy of the EPA. Here are more details, courtesy of EPA and the NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council:
"A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council counts more than 2,000 code orange alerts in U.S. communities and national parks from Jan. 1 to early August. One reason for the high numbers may be the extreme heat waves over much of the country. In 1994, another year with lots of heat waves, it "was a notorious example of a bad air year. I'm betting this year will be a notorious year too," he says. It's not surprising that the highest number of code orange days are in California, given the large number of vehicles in the greater Los Angeles area. It also means that smog can spill across the mountains around L.A. into some of the deserts. "We don't expect to find pollution there," Walke says. Some of the numbers included eastern San Bernardino County, with 54 code orange days, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks with 44, Joshua Tree National Park with 39 and Atlanta with 28. The numbers are based on early EPA raw data obtained by NRDC."
"Thursday afternoon's visible satellite imagery was very cool as two holes in a large area of cumulus clouds persisted over south central Illinois. To understand why these holes appeared, the process of cumulus cloud formation must be understood. Below is a schematic showing the earth's surface and air near the surface being heated by the sun. As the temperature increases rapidly, air parcels begin to rise because they are warmer than their surroundings. If you combine the rising air with enough moisture, clouds are created because the air slowly saturates as it rises and cools. Cumulus clouds are formed! The reason there were no clouds over the large lakes is because water does not heat up as fast as the land does during daytime heating, and therefore air parcels were not rising high enough to create clouds over the lake."
"Mystery Tree" Survives Wildfire - Again. Neatorama.com has the remarkable details - this thing just will not die! "A 20-foot juniper tree near Sunset Point, Arizona survived a wildfire last week that consumed everything around it. It’s not the first time, either. In fact, the tree is a famous survivor. Every year it’s decorated for Christmas and Independence Day. Right now, it’s covered with several American flags and yellow ribbons. It also has its own water system set up underneath, with several large drums and a pipe to feed it water."
"Damn Clicker!" A few million dollars worth of meteorological hardware, and it all comes down to a souped-up garage door opener (the "clicker" TV meteorologists use to advance their weather graphics systems). A couple of times over the years my clicker wouldn't work (sounds serious). The batteries tend to drain when it gets cold - making the clicker useless (meaning you wind up talking about ONE graphic for 3 minutes). Not good. Once, at KARE-11, I got so frustrated with my crippled clicker that I threw it as far as I could - maybe that's why I'm no longer at KARE-11. Here's a quick blurb about Chuck Bell, a TV meteorologist in Washington D.C., as reported by the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. How do you think he handled his "inoperative clicker problem"?
Better-Than-Expected Friday. A wave of storms passes south/west of the metro early Friday morning, and then the sun came out - treating us to a fairly nice Friday. More storms rumbled into western Minnesota by evening, but by that time the atmosphere wasn't unstable enough for anything severe. Highs ranged from 67 at Grand Marais to 77 in the Twin Cities, 79 at St. Cloud, where the sun was out for a couple of extra hours.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Showers taper, partial clearing late. Risk of a meteor shower. Low: 57