Friday, June 28, 2013

June Rainfall Helps to Nearly Wipes Out all of Minnesota Drought!

Weather bubbles
By Paul Douglas

I keep reading about personalized medicine, and my financial planner insists "every portfolio is different". Yet we still display one forecast, weighted for the Twin Cities. My blog & Conservation MN web site allow you to see what's changed, the latest models, and break down weather around the state. Now smartphone apps put you at the center of the weather map. Will we ever have personal weather assistants, digital meteorologists that know our schedules, our commutes and make sure we're paying attention when severe weather approaches? Give it 3 years. We're all in our own little bubbles; one-size-fits-all weather is so 1990s.

Speaking of bubbles, air cools 3-5F for every 1,000 feet you rise up into the atmosphere. A faster "lapse rate", cooling more quickly with altitude, can leave the atmosphere unstable. More showers and T-showers sprout today, but skies clear from north to south by late afternoon.
We have a big family reunion planned for the 4th, so I'm watching the maps with horror & fascination. Like a good politician the models keep flip-flopping, but right now the ECMWF keeps us in the 80s and mostly dry July 4-6. I'm not celebrating yet but I am cautiously optimistic.
Todd's Conservation MN Weather Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

SATURDAY: More clouds than sun, passing shower or T-shower possible. High 74. Wind: N 15

SATURDAY NIGHT: Clearing, comfortable. Low: 58.

SUNDAY: More sun, the nicer day of the weekend. Dew point: 55. High: 80. Wind: NE 10.

MONDAY: Perfect day to cheer The Twins. Bright sunshine. Wake-up: 59. High: 82

TUESDAY: Plenty of warm sun, still pleasant. Wake-up: 60. High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Isolated afternoon T-storm. Wake-up: 64. High: 82

THURSDAY: Some sun, T-storms far north? Wake-up: 65. High: 84.

FRIDAY: A little warmer. Wake-up: 66. High: 88

 Arizona Dry Thunderstorms

Dry Thunderstorms? How could that be?? The image below from the National Weather Service out of Flagstaff Arizona shows a "Dry Thunderstorm" perfectly! Look how the rain evaporates before it reaches the ground! Because it is so hot and dry, those rain showers tend to dry up before it hits the ground.
"The intense heat which has invaded Northern Arizona has resulted in a very unstable atmosphere across the high country. Hot temperatures near the ground are combining with some mid level moisture to produce high based thunderstorm activity. This type of pattern often results in mostly dry thunderstorms (Producing little, or very light rainfall) but gusty winds and lightning. Not a good situation considering the extreme fire danger!"
See more HERE:

Southwest Heat
YIKES! Look at how hot the temperature map looks below! The deep red and purple colors indicated temps around 100F or higher!. Some spots may even be near record territory for several days! This weekend will likely be the hottest time period during this heat wave!

Record Heat Continues
National Weather Service Offices in the Southwest have put great lists together with expected high temps vs. records through early next week. Take a look below at some of the hot spots near Las Vegas and Death Valley, CA. Note that some of the locations below could be near All-Time record highs!
See more NWS Weather Stories HERE:

Las Vegas, NV

Excessive Heat Headlines
Take a look at how many areas in the West will be under excessive heat headlines this weekend. Deep red/purple colors indicate EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNINGS. Temps in some spots will be 110F to 120F or more through early next week.

Respect the Heat!
Heat is one of the leading weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In the disastrous heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In the heat wave of 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago area were attributed to heat, making this the deadliest weather event in Chicago history. In August 2003, a record heat wave in Europe claimed an estimated 50,000 lives.
North American summers are hot; most summers see heat waves in one or more parts of the United States. East of the Rockies, they tend to combine both high temperatures and high humidity, although some of the worst heat waves have been catastrophically dry.
Read more Heat Safety Tips HERE:

Heat-Related Illness Symptoms and First Aid

  • Symptoms:
    • Painful muscle cramps and spasms usually in legs and abdomen
    • Heavy sweating
  • First Aid:
    • Apply firm pressure on cramping muscles or gentle massage to relieve spasm.
    • Give sips of water, if nausea occurs, discontinue water
  • Symptoms:
    • Heavy sweating
    • Weakness
    • Cool, pale, clammy skin
    • Weak pulse
    • Possible muscle cramps
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Fainting
    • Normal temperature possible
  • First Aid:
    • Move person to a cooler environment
    • Remove or loosen clothing
    • Apply cool, wet cloths
    • Fan or move victim to air conditioned room
    • Offer sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue water. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.
HEAT STROKE (or sunstroke)
  • Symptoms:
    • Altered mental state
    • Possible throbbing headache, confusion, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing
    • High body temperature (106°F or higher)
    • Skin may be hot and dry, or patient may be sweating
    • Rapid pulse
    • Possible unconsciousness
  • First Aid:
    • Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.
    • Move the victim to a cooler, preferably air-conditioned, environment
    • Reduce body temperature with a water mister and fan or sponging
    • Use fan if heat index temperatures are below the high 90s
    • Use extreme caution
    • If temperature rises again, repeat process
    • Do NOT give fluids

Southwest Fires
Hot and very dry weather is having an impact on fire weather this year. One expert described fire fuels this year are nearly 2 months ahead of schedule! The Silver Fire continues to burn in New Mexico. The fire is so large, that the smoke plume can be seen from Texas!

"Quick Photo-Update from the Silver. 8:30 am 6/28...the fire is developing another HUGE plume that is punching upwards of 35,000ft. It has the heat to blow way past the stable layer, exhibited by the of spread out flatter smoke layer. This is a VERY dangerous situation. Firefighters are keeping a respectful distance at this time. Structure protection is ongoing to the northwest of the fire. The fire is growing toward the NW."

Silver Fire from Space
This is what the Silver Fire looks like from space. It's hard to pick out the plume between all the other clouds, but it's there! The latest from suggests that the Silver Fire is 92,000+ acres in size and is only 20% contained.
See more from HERE:

Western Wildfires
Look at how many wildfires there are in the western part of the country. According to, another large fire is ongoing in southcentral Colorado; the West Fork Complex is 90,000+ acres in size and is 0% contained

Why So Hot?
Look at how far north the strong upper level winds have bubbled up into Canada! This indicates a ridge of high pressure where dry, sinking air is occurring. Keep in mind that as air decends, it tends to dry out and warm up, so the heating process is working even better now!

Western Drought, Eastern Deluge
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer - unfortunately for folks in the West, hot and dry conditions have been an ongoing theme now for several weeks and it doesn't seem like we're going to see that change anytime soon. Meanwhile, folks in the East continue to get copious amounts of moisture, which is good because we're seeing the drought disappear, but in some cases we've had so much rain that flooding is now an issue!
The West: Changes aplenty this week as spring gives way to summer and summer heat is making its presence felt with fires (or the threat of) continuing to steal the impacts spotlight for many. New Mexico continues to forge into uncharted territory, with data from NOAA-National Climatic Data Center (records going back to 1895) showing the past 12 months to be the driest on record for the state coupled with the past 24 and 36 months coming in as the second driest on record. Virtually the entire state falls within the two worst categories on our drought severity scale, D3 and D4. All eyes will be squarely affixed on the upcoming monsoon season.
Wyoming sees improvements in the northeastern corner of the state and degradation in the south, with the trimming of D0/D1 in the northeast and expansion of D2/D3 in the south in proximity to the Colorado and Nebraska borders.
Colorado’s situation continues to deteriorate under the influence of summer’s heat, noted by expansion of D2 in the northeastern corner of the state as well as a slight push north and west of D3 in the southeastern corner. Fire still remains front and center with regard to impacts, but rangeland conditions continue to take a beating all along the Front Range.
Arizona and Nevada both see increases in drought conditions this week. In Nevada, D2 pushes farther east toward the Utah border while in Arizona both D2 and D3 expand slightly in the north central region and within the Navajo Nation.
For a second consecutive week, California sees a push of D2 across all of the Sacramento Valley and points eastward into more of both the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada. Recent rains in and along the northwestern coastal ranges have not been nearly enough to offset the record to near-record year-to-date deficits that have led to reduced streamflows in many basins.

Midwest: The transformation to normal continues in the upper Midwest with heavy rains (2-5+ inches) bringing substantial improvements to Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. D1 has been removed from southwest Minnesota and D0 has been reduced as a result, leaving the only drought in the state confined to the Red Lake region in the northwest. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions were also reduced in northwestern Iowa on the heels of recent improvements.

 Minnesota Drought
Wow! What a difference 6 months makes! Minnesota has seen one of the most dramatic changes since the beginning of the year. All but 5% moderate drought has been wiped out since the beginning of the year, when 98% of the state was in a moderate drought, 83% was in a severe drought and 25% was in an extreme drought! Talk about weather whiplash... last year we were talking about extremely dry conditions and now we're talking about flooding!

U.S. Drought Outlook
Drought continues in the West, but a start to monsoon season may help to east drought conditions a bit in the Southwest!

Latest Seasonal Assessment - During the previous thirty days, wet weather and cooler temperatures overspread the far north central United States and the central corn belt, easing drought conditions but also causing planting delays and flooding along the Mississippi River basin. In contrast, dry, hot weather exacerbated drought conditions in the southwestern quadrant of the Nation, promoting the development of numerous wildfires across the Four Corners states and California. In the East, a series of storm systems including Tropical Storm Andrea brought significant rainfall to the entire Atlantic seaboard, removing all remaining drought areas, though abnormal dryness was observed along the Ohio River Valley and central Appalachians. During the upcoming three months, enhanced odds of below average precipitation are expected to promote further drought expansion into the northwestern U.S., while drought persistence is likely across California and the northern intermountain West due to a dry summer climatology. In the Southwest, the potential for a robust and early onset of monsoon wetness may bring drought relief to Arizona, western New Mexico, and as far north as southern Utah and Nevada. In contrast, enhanced seasonal probabilities of abnormal dryness and warmth in western Texas are expected to promote drought persistence and expansion. A wet summer climatology may aid in further east to west erosion of drought across the Great Plains, but the prospects for relief are less certain along the High Plains, where extreme to exceptional drought has been entrenched for months and soil moisture is very low. Suppressed dry season rainfall in Hawaii is expected to favor drought persistence and possible expansion, while climatological summer precipitation in north central Alaska may improve existing drought conditions.
See more HERE:

Precipitation Past 7 Days
Radar estimated rainfall over the past week suggests several inches of rain in many areas east of the Rockies, especially in the Midwest and also in pockets in the Pacific Northwest. All this rain coming in a such a short amount of time has led to many areas of flash flooding this past week.

Approaching Atlanta
Thanks to Jacob Wycoff for the picture below who took this picture from a jetliner on an approach into Atlanta. He said that they had to circle the storm until it blew past the airport! Cool picture!

National Storm Reports
According to, there have been more than 3,000 hail, high wind and/or tornado reports over the past 7 days. Interestingly, within that time frame, there were only 43 tornado reports and nearly 2,100 wind reports! That's pretty typical at this time of year. Generally, the number of tornadoes goes down and the number of wind damage reports goes up and large chunks of hot and humid air set up in the central part of the country. "Ridge Riders" or damage wind producing storm tend to develop on the outer periphery of this dome of hot air. This type of weather set up can persist for days and it's exactly what we've seen over the last several days!

5 Day Precipitation Outlook
NOAA's HPC 5 day precipitation outlook continues to show a fairly soggy scenario for folks east of the Mississippi River and especially along the Eastern Seaboard. Some spots along the Carolina Coast and Florida could see 3" to 5"+ through midweek next week!

4th of July Outlook
It appears that a fairly slow weather regime will continue through the early part of July with a large ridge of high pressure in the west and a trough of low pressure along and east of the Rockies. What this means is that it looks to stay mainly hot/warm and dry (with monsoonal thunderstorms in the Southwest), while along and east of the Rockies, we'll see pockets of showers and thunderstorms with areas of heavy rainfall possible. The image below suggests the accumulated rainfall potential on the 4th of July.

4th of July Temperature Outlook
The temperature outlook for the 4th of July looks fairly similar to what we'll see from the weekend into much of next week. Warm/Hot in the west and cooler along and east of the Rockies.

 Highs From Normal on the 4th of July
If the forecast verifies, many of us will be quite a bit cooler than average on Independence Day!

Thanks for checking in, have a great weekend ahead!
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