Tricky weekend pattern

There is a wealth of information online, that’s hardly a secret. When I was in high school I vividly remember driving 45 minutes to a local community college to check out a few (paper) weather maps to get up to speed on the forecast. At the time (early and mid 70s) I couldn’t begin to imagine the staggering amount of weather data, maps, graphics and videos that would be available — at the push of a mouse-click — some 20-30 years later. The fact that you’ve found this blog/column means you’re a weather enthusiast, I have no doubt you have a great (and growing) collection of bookmarks for favorite sites. I hope to be able to add some of my favorite sites to your list — there are so many terrific sources of raw weather data you can use to check out the weather for yourself, on your terms, for your specific needs.

The days of being spoonfed weather at fixed time slots (5, 6 and 10 pm) are quickly coming to and end. All of us are habit-driven, many folks over the age of 40 (myself included) were weaned reading a paper or two every morning and watching the late news to make sure the world hasn’t blown up. That habit is a tough one to break for many of us. But younger people, weaned on X-Box, Facebook and Twitter, have been trained to live in a world of instant-gratification, get it NOW on MY TERMS. Local TV is in the process of reinventing itself, with infinite choices on-line it may be going the way of AM radio (which peaked in the 1960s and 1970s). It’s still around, of course, but it had to reinvent itself in the face of FM and satellite radio. Hey, I still watch TV news, but I get most of my information on-line now, from sources I deem reliable.

Not to wave the flag (too much), but that’s why I’m excited about what Conservation Minnesota and are attempting, multiple video updates throughout the day, providing updated information before it shows up at 5, 6 and 10 on the local stations. That, and custom graphics that allow you to check in and watch the weather change – morph over time, from home, from the office, on your schedule, when you need the information, not when someone else decides it’s time to share “the news”. We certainly don’t pretend to have the answer key, but now is the time for experimentation, for trying new and potentially innovative ways to tell the weather story, realizing we’re transitioning from a “speech” (newscast) to more of a “conversation” (blogs, web pages, Twitter, etc).

It’s a badly needed Friday, anticipation is in the air. Paul, tell me the weekend weather will be extraordinary, a perfect weather daydream come to life up at the cabin! Well, not quite. The truth: we’ve been spoiled. Last weekend (a holiday, you remember?) was pretty close to idyllic. In contrast this will be a fairly typical, run-of-the-mill weekend with a mix of sun, clouds and showers. No torrential rain, no all-day gully-gushers, nothing severe expected. With a little planning and luck you should be able to salvage your outdoor plans. I know, I know — you’re still waiting for 80s, heat, haze and humidity that will make it a pleasure and an obligation to go jump in the lake. I’m asked to do that on a daily basis, by the way.

A series of weak disturbances swept up in a northwesterly flow will spark a few rounds of showers, the best chance of a little rain Friday night and first-thing Saturday, again late in the day Sunday and Sunday night. The vast majority of the weekend looks dry — if you have something planned for Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning/midday you should be safe. It will still be on the cool side for taking the plunge up north, only the brave and foolish will be wake-boarding and water skiing.

The first half of next week starts out dry and lukewarm, the chance of showers and T-storms increasing by the end of next week. I hate to say it, but it may be quite stormy by next Friday and Saturday, a few of the storms may even be strong to severe. It’s a little too early to get specific, and I’m hoping that subsequent computer runs are a little more optimistic. In the meantime, enjoy your Friday and what should be a half-decent, totally salvagable (is that a word) weekend. We’ve seen worse, believe me!

Weather Headlines
• 81 degree high at MSP Thursday with brilliant sunshine makes for a perfect late-spring day.

• Mostly dry Friday shaping up, but clouds increase later today. Some rain likely tonight as a weak, clipper-like system moves through.

• Damp start early Saturday, but the sun should be out much of the midday/PM hours

• Next chance of showers/T-storms comes late Sunday and Sunday night.

• Weekend temperatures should run a few degrees below average (mostly 60s for highs up north).

• Dry the first half of next week, but more showers/storms return by next Thursday and Friday.

• Potential for a partly-puddly spell of weather next weekend.

Paul’s Outlook
Today: Sunshine much of the day. Clouds increase by late afternoon. Winds: West 5-15. High: 74

Tonight: Good chance of showers. Low: 54

Saturday: Damp start, then increasingly sunny, a bit windier. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 75

Sunday: Sun much of the day. More showers, possible thunder late Sunday and Sunday night. High: 78

Monday: Plenty of sun, slightly cooler, less humid. High: 72

Tuesday: Mix of clouds and sun, a little cooler than average for June 2. High: 73

Wednesday: Lingering sun, still quite pleasant. High: near 70

Thursday: Growing chance of showers and T-storms. High: 75

The National Weather Service has some great web resources including an hour-by-hour forecast of cloud cover, temperature, dew point, wind direction and speed, and a probability of precipitation. For the very latest, hour-by-hour “tabular” information for the Twin Cities region click here. Trust me, this is one site you may want to bookmark for future viewing.

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