Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Few Warm Blasts This Week - Strong Storm Potential Tuesday

Severe Threat Sunday Night

As we head through the rest of Sunday evening and into the overnight hours, there is an Enhanced Risk of severe weather from the Twin Cities to the southeast, indicating a higher chance of seeing severe weather. The main threat across this Enhanced Risk area is damaging winds, but storms will start off to the north and west during the early evening. Those storms will be capable of very large hail and a tornado or two.
Here's a look at the potential timing for storms this (Sunday) evening in to the overnight hours:

Warm, Dry Weather Expected To Continue

Some of you might be thinking what you should do about watering the next few weeks with dry weather in the outlook. Here's some tips from University of Minnesota Extension climatologist and meteorologist Mark Seeley from his latest WeatherTalk column:
"-water plants and gardens at night or very early in the morning to minimize evaporation losses.
-use a light coating of mulch around some plants to minimize water loss from the soil, and to suppress weed competition.
-adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting as the longer grass keeps root systems shaded. During a warm July, lawns will need 1-2 inches of water per week.
-direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs, hedges and trees that can utilize the water.
-try to water at a rate that matches the infiltration rate of your soil....perhaps with a soaker hose.
-for newly planted trees and shrubs (planted this spring or summer) water thoroughly at least once per week all summer."
A Few Warm Blasts - Strong Storm Potential Tuesday
By DJ Kayser, filling in for Paul Douglas

Each person has their own ideal weather. For example, I'm not one that exactly enjoys the heat and humidity of summer. I much prefer the spring and fall - a cool, crisp morning with highs topping off in the 60s to 70s.
I’m not sure many people would have enjoyed some of the weather during the Dust Bowl era. This week marks the warmest week ever recorded in Twin Cities history back in 1936, when each day between the 10th and 14th saw a high of at least 105. This Friday will mark the anniversary of the warmest high ever recorded in the Twin Cities - a blistering 108.
Temperatures won't be close to that this week across southern Minnesota, though the thermometer could approach 90 a few times in the next seven days. The first attempt will be on Wednesday, when dew points will also approach 70 across southern Minnesota. Before that, though, some strong thunderstorms will be possible Tuesday into Tuesday Night, with the potential of damaging winds. Another quick blast of heat will be possible heading into next weekend.
Extended Twin Cities Forecast
MONDAY: Lingering morning storms. High 85. Low 68. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NE 3-5 mph.
TUESDAY: Afternoon strong thunderstorms. High 87. Low 73. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.
WEDNESDAY: A few storms. Dew points near 70. High 88. Low 63. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind S 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY: Less muggy and a touch cooler. High 83. Low 65. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind NE 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY: Sunny skies. Warming trend begins. High 85. Low 68. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.
SATURDAY: Potential of a few storms. Muggy. High 90. Low 65. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SW 5-10 mph.
SUNDAY: A few afternoon clouds. High 86. Low 64. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind N 3-5 mph.
This Day in Weather History
July 10th

2002: Intense rainfall causes extensive street flooding in St. Cloud. 2.70 inches of rain falls in 1 hour and 45 minutes at St. Cloud State University. People were stranded in their cars and had to be rescued by the fire department.
Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
July 10th
Average High: 84F (Record: 106F set in 1936)
Average Low: 64F (Record: 49F set in 1996)
Average Precipitation: 0.13" (Record: 1.93" set in 2002)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
July 10th
Sunrise: 5:36 AM
Sunset: 8:59 PM
*Length Of Day: 15 hours, 23 minutes and 1 second
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~1 minute and 20 seconds

*Next Sunrise At/After 6 PM: August 2nd (6:00 AM)
*Next Sunset At/Before 8:30 PM: August 8th (8:29 PM)
Minnesota Weather Outlook
Monday is expected to be a mainly sunny day across the state, with just a few morning storms lingering across southern Minnesota. Highs will top off in the 80s across central and southern Minnesota, with 70s across the north.
Temperatures on Monday will be within a few degrees of average across the state, with the real warm weather for this time of year far to our south and west.
Temperatures will approach 90 twice this week here in the Twin Cities - toward the middle of the week and into next weekend. Models continue to try and hint at a warm up in the extended forecast (next week), however this has been the pattern past day seven for a while now, so only time will tell what will happen.
Looking ahead, a Slight Risk of severe weather is already in place across a good portion of Minnesota Tuesday and Tuesday Night. The current set up shows storms forming during the afternoon hours across western Minnesota, capable of large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes. Storms will eventually merge into a line as they head east and southeast, posing more of a damaging wind threat into the evening and overnight hours.
Models have come into some sort of alignment for rain chances over the next several days. The next chance of accumulating rain comes with the severe risk Tuesday into Wednesday, with about a half an inch of rain possible. The next chance comes in Friday Night/Saturday, with maybe a quarter inch. Another chance is there as we head toward the beginning of next week.
National Weather Outlook
Monday Forecast
The heat is (still) on across the central and southwest United States on Monday, with highs in the 90s or higher in spots. We'll be tracking numerous showers and storms across the country during the day.
Areas from the Northern High Plains to the Central Plains will see highs that are 5-15 degrees above average on Monday. The most concentrated areas of cooler than average weather will be observed in the Pacific Northwest and into parts of Maine.
The lower Great Lakes could see 2-4" of rain through the end of the week as we watch a few batches of storms move through the region. Up to 2" of rain will be possible across parts of eastern Georgia northward into eastern North Carolina. Meanwhile, monsoonal storms in the desert southwest could bring pockets of heavy rain across the region. 
90 Degree Days So Far Nationwide

This map, courtesy of IEM and OSU PRISM, shows the number of 90 degree days vs. average through July 4th across the country. A good portion of the Southeast and lower Mississippi Valley has seen lots of rain so far this summer, helping to bring them fewer 90 degree days than normal so far. Areas that have seen more 90 degree days than average include parts of the Southwest, southern Texas and the peninsula of Florida.

Extreme Drought In The Dakotas, Montana

Drought has quickly been spreading across parts of the northern Plains over the past month or so. As of the latest Drought Monitor, released last Thursday, 29.3% of North Dakota was under Extreme Drought along with 12.9% of Montana.

Many areas are running a good 4-6"+ behind on rainfall since May, with some areas seeing some of their driest months in recent history. I found this information interesting from the latest Drought Monitor: "On July 1st, the National Weather Service Office in Glasgow, Montana reported several dry precipitation records were broken for Glasgow including: the driest May and June (0.72 inches) since 1918; the driest April, May, and June (1.24 inches) since 1918; and the driest January through June (2.75 inches) since 1983."

This drought is having a huge effect on crops and soil conditions across the region, with deteriorating pasture and crop conditions. Above is a table compiled from the latest USDA Crop Progress report, issued on the 5th, showing that a majority of the corn and wheat crops are in poor to very poor condition and moisture in the soil is short. Another update will be issued on Monday.

Long Flash Of Lightning In Minnesota

The Geostationary Lightning Mapper - a new lightning detector on the GOES-16 satellite - captured a long flash of lightning last month in Minnesota. More from NASA SPORT: "The GLM observes a flash that extends well behind the main convection (observed by the radar mosaic) and spans over 100 miles.  The extent is roughly between Duluth, Minnesota and International Falls, Minnesota.  This example shows the importance that the spatial extent of GLM observations can play in lightning safety as the threat of lightning is non-zero, even after the main convective line has passed."

Lower 48 Saw Second Warmest Start To Year On Record

NOAA released numbers for the first half of the year Friday (along with June climate numbers), and the first half of the year ended up being the second warmest on record for the lower 48. According to the news release: "The year-to-date (YTD, January through June 2017) average temperature was 50.9 degrees F, 3.4 degrees above the 20th-century average. This was the second warmest first-half of the year in the record, 1.2 degrees cooler than 2012. The YTD precipitation total for the Lower 48 states was 17.86 inches, 2.55 inches above average. This ranked as the sixth wettest YTD on record."

Big Stories In June: Southwest Heat and Southeast Rain

Tucson, AZ saw their warmest June on record as the Southwest scorched, meanwhile Tropical Storm Cindy contributed to the wettest June on record in Gainesville, FL. More from Praedictix: "The heat dominated parts of the middle and end of June 2017 in the Southwest, with numerous locations setting daily records... with some seeing consecutive days in a row with record temperatures! The peak of the heat appeared to occur around June 20th, when Phoenix saw a record high of 119 (tying for their 4th warmest high ever on record) and Las Vegas hit 117 (tying for the warmest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas history). This heat only allowed one location, however, to see their warmest June on record - that was in Tuscon, AZ, which saw four record highs during the month and shattered numerous all-time consecutive day streak records."

Nine U.S. Billion Dollar Disasters In First Half Of 2017

According to NOAA, there were nine extreme weather events during the first half of 2017 that each added up to at least a billion dollars in damage. There were 57 deaths in these nine events which included two floods and a freeze. It wasn't the most on record for the first half of the year, however - that record is 10, set in both 2011 and 2016. There was a grand total of 15 billion dollar events last year.

100 Billion "Failed Stars"

No, that's not the number of people that tried out for "American Idol," "The Voice," or another one of those (too) many singing competitions. That's the number of brown dwarfs that scientists are now estimating exist in our galaxy. More from Gizmodo: "New research suggests our galaxy contains as many as 100 billion brown dwarfs—a type of celestial object that didn’t have quite what it takes to become a full-fledged star. The finding shows just how ubiquitous brown dwarfs really are, and how many false starts are involved in the formation of new stars. Brown dwarfs exist in a hazy area of astronomy. They’re too hot and big to be planets—about 15 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter—but they’re too small to be stars, lacking enough mass to sustain stable hydrogen fusion at their cores. Brown dwarfs are a result of processes that normally lead to the formation of stars, so they’re often referred to as “failed stars.” Harsh, but that’s astronomy for you."
Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech
Ready To Be Godzilla?

You might have the opportunity to virtually fly through cities in iOS 11 according to a new feature discovered in the beta builds. More from Gizmodo: "With the introduction of iOS 11 and a development tool called ARKit, Apple is betting that augmented reality could be the next revolutionary feature for smartphones. At the very least, it’s facilitated a secret feature that lets iPhone users pretend they’re giant monsters stomping through a tiny city."

Want Some Vinegar With Your Wheat?

A new study has found that crops like rice and wheat can continue to prosper in drought conditions - if they are grown in acetate, which is found in vinegar. More from Popular Science: "With the threat of climate change looming, farmers and scientists alike are realizing that crops have become more resistant to events like droughts if we want to maintain a reliable food source. It sounds—and sort of looks—like something out of a middle school science experiment, but according to a study done at RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan, a new and simple way to increase a plant's drought tolerance is to grow it in vinegar."

Image: "After 14 days in drought conditions, only the plants treated with acetic acid (in the middle column) survived. (RIKEN)"

Volvo To Go All Hybrid Or Electric By 2019

One bold step for an auto maker? Volvo announced earlier this week that every new model they release, starting in 2019, will be either partially or fully electric. WIRED, however, doesn't think it is all that bold: "But take a close look and it will become evident that going electric isn't that risky at all. The international winds of regulation blow toward gas and diesel alternatives. The industry's Next Big Thing—autonomous vehicles—will be battery-powered. Even consumers, especially those at the top of the market—the place where Volvo’s customers like to hang—look to be interested in EVs. So, in reality, Volvo and its competitors are being pushed into electric propulsion. The Swedes are just rolling with it—and boasting that they're driving the change."

Image: Volvo Car Corporation
Thanks for checking in and have a great Monday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!
 - D.J. Kayser

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