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Remembering those who sacrificed everything

With a son in the Navy I no longer think of Memorial Day as just another holiday, another reason not to head into work. My 18 year old is wise beyond his years, and he possesses a bravery and confidence that is awe-inspiring.

Doppler radar out of Grand Forks, ND shows moderate/heavy showers and T-storms over much of the Red River Valley. The strongest storms will be west of a line from Detroit Lakes and Fergus Falls to Walker and Grand Rapids….a few hours of heavy rain for the Detroit Lakes area, but much of the day should be dry for the Brainerd Lakes region, where highs should still rise into the 70s with peeks of sun and a gusty southeast wind. In general expect sunnier, warmer conditions the farther south/east you go, toward the Twin Cities today. Rainfall amounts of 2-3″+ are possible over the northern third of Minnesota today, some minor flooding can’t be ruled out.

“I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.” —Benjamin Harrison

With a son in the Navy I no longer think of Memorial Day as just another holiday, another reason not to head into work. My 18 year old is wise beyond his years, and he possesses a bravery and confidence that is awe-inspiring. He’s known since the age of 8 that he wanted to serve his nation. He’s my hero, and always will be. But where does this bravery come from, what propels and young man or woman to want to sacrifice everything to give back? Any parent in my shoes will admit, in a moment of candor, that their feelings vacillate between pride – and terror. Don’t let anything happen to my baby, please. You find yourself muttering little prayers throughout the day, talking to other military families to find support and share a deep-seated anxiety that never totally goes away. Our hearts go out to families who can’t share this day with sons and daughters stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are in the line of fire half a world away. All we can do is keep them in our prayers and hope for God’s grace. To those who have served, and those swept up in unfamiliar and hostile lands today we say thank you, and no, we will never take your sacrifice for granted.

“I think this may be just about the best Memorial Day I can ever remember,” said Todd Frostad, a friend and business partner late Sunday. I agree. All I can remember is making excuses the vast majority of Memorial Day weekends, explaining why the front stalled, why the storms lingered, why most outdoor activities were washed out. We’re experiencing a rare, potentially once-in-a-lifetime EXCUSE-FREE spell of memorable weather, falling on a holiday? I know, unprecedented. Yesterday’s 73 felt miraculous, with brilliant sunshine, low humidity and a light whisper of a breeze, like something out of a postcard.

High pressure stands its ground again today, but an approaching area of low pressure will tighten up the pressure gradient over Minnesota, the contrast in barometric pressure, whipping up a more noticeable wind, blowing from the southwest, topping 20-25 mph. by afternoon. Yes, it promises to be a bit choppy out on our favorite lake. And any sun will begin to fade under a thickening canopy of clouds as the day goes on. It should still be lukewarm, highs reaching into the 70s across much of Minnesota. And with a few exceptions dry weather will hold. No cloudbursts are imminent, your bike ride, fishing adventure or late afternoon grilling should go off without a hitch, or a cloudburst for that matter. The only fly in the weather ointment: far western and northern Minnesota, where we can’t rule out some showers and T-storms, especially after lunchtime.

The chance of a shower or thunderstorm increases Tuesday as a weak, fizzling cool front limps across the state – computer models printing out little more than a tenth of an inch of rain. An isolated shower or sprinkle may linger into Wednesday, drier, sunnier weather returning for Thursday and Friday. Don’t ask about next weekend’s weather, ok? I’d rather issue a “no comment” for now, because it doesn’t look terribly promising at the moment. Long-range guidance is hinting at a front temporarily stalling nearby, with a pretty good chance of scattered showers and storms both days of the weekend. I don’t expect a steady, all-day rain right now, but let’s put it this way: it won’t be nearly as magical as the last couple of days have been. With much of southeastern Minnesota enduring moderate drought conditions it’s hard to get too indignant about any rain in the 7-Day Outlook, so I’m not about to complain (at least openly). It’s still early: maybe the maps will look more promising as the week goes on. That’s the thing about weather in Minnesota. Don’t like the forecast? Stick around. It’s bound to change.

Weather Headlines

• Memorial Day: more wind, more clouds, but dry across much of Minnesota.

• Assuming even minimal sun afternoon temperatures should be a few degrees warmer than yesterday.

• Best chance of late-day T-storms: far western Minnesota, near the Dakota border.

• Strong winds today, blowing from the southeast at 10-20, a few gusts over 25 mph.

• Couple hours of showers, possible thunder Tuesday as a weak cool front moves through.

• Driest days: Thursday/Friday.

• Unsettled, showery weather returns next weekend, best chance of a few hours of showers/storms coming during the afternoon/evening hours.