Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Continued cool sunshine. Hurricane Joaquin forecat to impact East Coast

Fall Colors Emerging
I am starting to notice a little more color each day/week around town. This particular fellow was well ahead of his friendly neighbors in Eden Prairie early Wednesday morning. The red and blue color contrast was quite spectacular... Get ready for some fall color peeping, we're getting close.

Fall Color Update
According to the MN DNR, fall colors are really starting to pop across the northern third of the state with as much as 50%-75% change visible. Also note that the Twin Cities is reporting pockets of 25% to nearly 50% fall color!


Cold Wednesday Morning
Thanks to my good friend and colleague, DJ Kayser (Twitter: @dkayserwx)  for the low temperature maps below. Note the widespread 20s across the northern part of the state!

Northeast Minneasota
Central Minnesota
Twin Cities Area


Beauty and the Beast
Joaquin Threatens East Coast
By Paul Douglas

A storm like Hurricane Joaquin quickly puts our "bad weather" into stark perspective. Minnesota sees its fair share of extreme weather. Blizzards are becoming more rare over time, but winter wind chills often dip to dangerous levels. Flash floods, river flooding, an occasional tornado.

But we don't experience massive, Texas-size storms capable of inflicting tens of billions of dollars in damage.

There is nothing quite like a hurricane, and Joaquin continues to vex forecasters. Most U.S. models pull the storm into the Mid Atlantic coastline by the weekend; the usually-reliable ECMWF sweeps Joaquin out to sea. Stay tuned.

While the East Coast braces for possible impact we rummage for light jackets and sunglasses. Cool sunshine spills into the weekend; a little rain next Tuesday. The same atmospheric holding pattern pulling tropical moisture (and possibly Joaquin) into the east coast will keep us sunny, cool and calm into Monday. An extended stretch of postcard-weather.

The metro should remain frost-free the next 2 weeks; GFS data hinting at a few more 70s by mid-October.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool. Winds: ESE 5. Low: 42.
THURSDAY: Plenty of cool sunshine. Winds: E 8-13. High: 62
THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Winds: E 5-10. Low: 41
FRIDAY: Blue sky, no drama. High: 63
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, still dry. Winds: E 5-10 Wake-up: 41. High: 62
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 63
MONDAY: Some sun, quiet. Wake-up: 43. High: 64
TUESDAY: Showers, possible thunder. Wake-up: 46. High: 63
WEDNESDAY: Wet start, then clearing. Wake-up: 48. High: 66

This Day in Weather History
October 1st

1999: One of the earliest significant snowfalls fell in a narrow track across southern Minnesota. Reported snowfall totals included 4.0 inches in Montgomery (LeSeur County) and Northfield (Rice County), 3.8 inches in Springfield (Brown County), 3.0 inches in Vesta (Redwood county), and 2.8 inches in Mankato (Blue Earth County).
1989: Temperatures across central and southern Minnesota were in the 80s. A cold front came through and dropped the mercury to the 40s.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
October 1st

Average High: 65F (Record: 87F set back 1897)
Average Low: 45F (Record: 24F set in 1974)

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
October 1st

Sunrise: 7:11am
Sunset: 6:54pm

*Daylight lost since yesterday: ~3 minutes and 6 seconds
*Daylight lost since summer solstice (June 21st): ~3 hours and 53 minutes

Moon Phase for October 1st at Midnight
2.6 Day Before Last Quarter


Minneapolis Temperature Trend
Temperatures will continue run slightly below average over the next few days with a slight warming trend possible into the second weekend of October. Extended model runs are suggesting a potentially bigger cool down by the second weekend of October. Regardless, it certainly doesn't look quite as balmy as it did about a week ago.

Highs From Average Thursday
Much of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley will be running below average by 5 to nearly 10 degrees on Thursday. This is, no doubt, a major change from what we were experiencing about 1 week ago.

Thursday Weather Outlook
High temperatures on Thursday will struggle to get to 60F in many spots across Minnesota with the exception of far western Minnesota. Note that feels like temperatures will feel more like the mid/upper 50s across much of the state.

Thursday Weather Outlook
A cool breeze will be in place Thursday. However, the strongest winds will be through the Great Lakes and the Dakotas. Much of central Minnesota will have lighter winds.

Thursday Weather Outlook
Not much happening in the weather department Thursday. Skies will remain mostly sunny across the state with the thickest cloud cover hovering over the Dakotas and perhaps slipping into parts of northwestern Minnesota. Thanks to an area of high pressure, we will continue to stay protected from any weather systems over the next several days.


Precipitable Water Loop
The precipitable water loop below shows how much moisture there is in the air and note the deep oranges/reds in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Eastern Seaboard. This particular loop shows copious amount of moisture being pulled up into the Eastern U.S., thus leading to heavy rainfall. Interestingly, more heavy rain is on the way over the next several days and a newly formed Hurricane Joaquin could makes things even more interesting...

National Weather Outlook
Here's a different look at the moisture being pulled in from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Look at the widespread dark green in the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast through the end of the week. This constant heavy rain threat could lead to significant rainfall tallies and possible flooding possible over the next 5 to 7 days.

5 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day rainfall looks quite impressive from the Mid-Atlantic to the Northeast. Note that some of the maximums suggest nearly 9" to 10"+ possible through early next week.


Significant Rainfall Potential Thursday
Here's an interesting product from NOAA, which suggests the best chance of flooding rains on Thursday. Note the highlighted area over the eastern portions of the Mid-Atlantic States.

Significant Rainfall Friday
Flood concerns will still be in place on Friday over some of the same areas.


Hurricane Joaquin
Here's the satellite loop of when Joaquin became a hurricane early AM Wednesday. Keep in mind that Joaquin is only the third hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
This is what NOAA's NHC had to say about Joaquin:

"NHC has upgraded Tropical Storm Joaquin to a hurricane. Reports from a U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph - a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains very low, since the environmental steering currents are complex and not being handled in a consistent manner by the models. Given that a wide range of outcomes is possible, it is too soon to say what impacts, if any, Joaquin will have on the United States."


1. Confidence in the details of the track forecast late in the period remains low, since the environmental steering currents are complex and the model guidance is inconsistent. A wide range of outcomes is possible, from a direct impact of a major hurricane along the U.S. east coast to a track of Joaquin out to sea away from the coast. It is therefore way too soon to talk about specific wind, rain, or surge impacts from Joaquin in the U.S.

2. Should the threat to the U.S. increase, any further adjustments of the forecast to the west would likely be accompanied by an increase in the forecast forward speed, with impacts along the coast occurring sooner than currently forecast. A hurricane watch could be required for portions of the U.S. coast as early as Thursday evening.

3. Many areas of the eastern U.S. are currently experiencing heavy rains and gusty winds associated with a frontal system. This inclement weather is expected to continue over the next few days, which could complicate preparations for Joaquin should it head toward the coast.

Tracking Joaquin
According to NOAA's NHC, Joaquin will likely take a hard right by the weekend and lift north ever closer to the East Coast. Keep in mind that exact forecast track is still uncertain at this point, but intensification can be expected in the near future.

Joaquin Intensifying?
Take a look at the model intensity guidance below... Note that several of the models bring Joaquin to Cat 3 strength...

Watching the Models...
Interestingly, several models hook Joaquin into the Mid-Atlantic region by late weekend/early next week, while there also seems to be some outliers that take Joaquin back out to sea.

Differing Model Solutions...
Below are a bunch of different models and model solutions for the same storm. Note how they all seemingly have different model solutions and timing. This is why forecasting tropical systems can be so tricky this far out.

GFS Solution - 7pm Saturday

Canadian - 1pm Saturday

ECMWF - 7am Tuesday
Note that the European model is one of the only solutions that takes this particular system back into the open waters of the Atlantic, away from the U.S..

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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