76 F. average high for September 6.
74 F. high on September 6, 2011.
25 mph wind gusts possible this afternoon - risk of a passing shower or sprinkle between 2 and 6 pm.
Saturday now looks like the milder day of the weekend (low to mid 70s). Another cool frontal passage keeps highs in the upper 60s to near 70 across much of Minnesota Sunday, as winds ease statewide.
70% of Nebraska now in exceptional drought, the most extreme designation. Source: NOAA.
109 F. heat index yesterday at Searcy, Arkansas.
“Isaac’s rains were like Chapter 1 in the drought relief book,” said David Miskus, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s climate prediction center. “We still need a lot more rain to go here to really eliminate this drought.” - excerpt from a New York Times article on the drought below.
Photo credit above: "A portion of a 440-foot transmitter tower lies draped over a small building near the Riverland Community College west building Wednesday morning. The tower came down during the severe storms that swept through Wednesday between midnight and 1 a.m." Eric Johnsonfirstname.lastname@example.org
* more great aurora links here.
Will Winter Return With A Vengeance? I doubt it (based on recent trends) but I reserve the right to be pleasantly surprised. Here's an excerpt from my (bootleg) copy of the 2012 Farmer's Almanac. Why not. "After a year of unprecedented warmth – both during the winter and summer months – the great debate over whether or not Old Man Winter will return with a vengeance is on. Last winter was the fourth warmest for the contiguous 48 since record keeping began in 1895, with 24 states experiencing below-normal precipitation. In fact, California experienced its second driest winter ever. In only 10 states—chiefly across the nation’s midsection— was winter precipitation above normal. The situation became critical this past spring and summer with broiling hot temperatures across much of the country and the most severe drought conditions the nation has seen in more than 50 years."
- The U.S. Drought Monitor, released on September 6, places portions of southwestern and south central Minnesota in the Extreme Drought category. Many northwestern Minnesota counties, and many of Minnesota's southernmost counties, are said to be in Severe Drought. In total, approximately 63% of Minnesota is considered to be in the Abnormally Dry category or worse.
- The drought situation in northwest Minnesota and in far southeast Minnesota is the result of an historically dry autumn in 2011, a snow-sparse winter, and a dry 2012 growing season. The moisture deficits in southern Minnesota developed rapidly due to very hot and very dry conditions that begain in late June and continue as of this writing. Over the past 11 weeks rainfall totals in many Minnesota counties fell short of average by four or more inches. This is the climatological equivalent of missing an entire summer's month worth of precipitation. In some south central Minnesota communities, late-summer rainfall deficits are in excess of 6 inches.
- The U.S. Geological Survey and Minnesota DNR report that stream discharge values are very low at numerous Minnesota reporting locations. Stream flow values rank below the 10th percentile for this time of year in some of these watersheds.
- In a September 4 summary, the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service reported that topsoil moisture was 22% Very Short and 41% Short across Minnesota. The report also indicates that roughly 85% of Minnesota's corn and soybean crop is in fair, good, or excellent condition. This is a significantly higher percentage of favorable conditions than those found in other Corn Belt states.
- Ample autumn rains are critically needed to replenish soil moisture reserves. Water levels on other hydrological systems (lakes, rivers, wetlands) will rebound only after the soil profile is recharged.
* latest Minnesota Drought Monitor is here.
Wide Area Of Nation Still Parched After Storm. The New York Times has more on (slight) relief from Isaac, and how much of the USA is still suffering through the worst drought since the mid-50s. Here's an excerpt: "The remnants of Hurricane Isaac that blew through the middle of the country over the weekend softened the worst drought in decades in some areas, but a large portion of the nation remains desiccated with ponds still too shallow to water cattle, fields too dusty for feeding and crops beyond the point of salvage, meteorologists and agriculture experts said Wednesday. Conditions have, in fact, worsened in some rain-starved regions untouched by the hurricane’s gray clouds, meteorologists said."
Graphic above: Drought's Footprint. "More than half of the country was under moderate to extreme drought in June, the largest area of the contiguous United States affected by such dryness in nearly 60 years. Nearly 1,300 counties across 29 states have been declared federal disaster areas. Areas under moderate to extreme drought in June of each year are shown in orange (above)" Source: New York Times.
Flash Flood. Jennifer Shutte snapped this photo of street flooding in Salisbury, Maryland Thursday afternoon, the result of slow-moving T-storms dumping out some 1-2" rains in a short period of time. Details from WBOC-TV.
Haboob! Another massive dust storm swept across Phoenix Thursday, the result of T-storm downdrafts whipping up sand and dust and suspending 1 mile overhead. Thanks to Dr. Matthew Pace for shooting some compelling footage, available on YouTube.
Image credit above: "A lidar scan, taken from the ground, of New Orleans' I-510 bridge taken on Aug. 31, 2012." USGS.
Iowa's Wine Lovers Rejoice Over Crop. I've never tried a fine Iowa wine. Most of my wine comes out of a box, but I'll give a try - if you say so. Details from The Des Moines Register: "The drought may give wine aficionados a rare gift this holiday season. Iowa grape growers and wine experts say hot, dry weather has concentrated the grapes’ flavors, which will lead to unusually tasty reds and whites. “The quality of the crop is fantastic,” said Mike White, a viticulture field specialist at Iowa State University. “It’s some of best that I’ve seen.” But some shadows have fallen on the vines. A frost in April killed much of the grapes. The drought also produced smaller fruit. White predicts the volume of the grape harvest will fall by 30 percent."
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
Photo credit above: "In spite of overwhelming scientific evidence for climate change, people find ways to reject that evidence if it does not fit with their world view. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center."