Early morning boomers

Update 4:31 am (way too darn early). Doppler shows very strong thunderstorms forming along a stagnant boundary snaking across central Minnesota from Alexandria to St. Cloud to the Twin Cities, a strong upper-level feature irritating this mini-front draped right over our heads. The result: frequent lightning, downpours, even some marble-size hail through the early morning hours, capable of minor street flooding – the morning commute may be a real mess. The good news: after these strong/severe storms pass the stage should be set for sunshine most of the day; things WILL settle down by mid/late morning.

* This is Lightning Awareness Week in Minnesota. For more details keep on reading.

O.K. I’m growing weary of tracking pulsating red and orange blobs on Doppler radar. We get a well-deserved, well-timed break from thunder-speak later today as a weak bubble of high pressure sets up shop over Minnesota, treating us to enough warm sun for a shot at 90 degrees. Yes, it will feel very warm, borderline hot out there later today, but at least dew points are “reasonable”, holding in the upper 50s, almost HALF as much water as was in the air back on Monday, when dew points where rising into the low and mid 70s over parts of Minnesota. Anything above 60 is considered “humid” by most people, a dew point of 70 is tropical, you break out into a sweat just standing still. On rare occasions the dew point can reach 80, which is Bora Bora-sweaty, dangerously humid, where you don’t even want to sneak outside for a few minutes.

Yesterday’s showers and thunderstorms are long gone, St. Cloud picked up .04″ of rain (high of 84) but heavier rain pelted the Twin Cities (for all of 15 minutes), dropping .16″ of rain. The Drought Monitor update comes out later today – it will be interesting to see if southeastern MN is still in a moderate to severe drought. It’s still too dry across much of the region, the lake in my back yard is down a good 2′ from normal. We’re still running a 1-3″ rainfall deficit since the beginning of the growing season, so we won’t sweat the showers, unless UNLESS they have the temerity to fall on the 4th of July holiday weekend. Then we’ll (quickly) lose our sense of humor and gallows humor about the rain, no matter how much we need a good soaking.

A south to southeasterly wind flow returns tomorrow, temperatures rise INTO the low, even the mid 90s ahead of a cool front. The best chance of showers, possibly a spirited round of strong/severe thunderstorms will come Friday night into Saturday morning. Behind the cool front winds shift around to the northwest Saturday afternoon, skies slowly clear from west to east, and you should be able to salvage plans after about 3 or 4 pm. Saturday night will be a lot more comfortable for sleeping with lows dipping into the 50s, and Sunday may still look and feel more like mid September, with highs holding in the 70s, a fresh, dry northwest breeze, interrupted by a few swollen cumulus clouds by mid afternoon. All in all not a bad weekend, overall, but Saturday morning may be a muddy mess.

Next week will run cooler, with highs in the 70s and low 80s, a few degrees cooler than average, especially the first half of the week, when sweatshirts may be needed up north. The good news: long-range computer guidance is hinting at warm 80s from July 3-5 with only a slight chance of a late-day storm Sunday, the 5th. By then daytime highs may be pushing 90, so a brief, cooling thunderstorm may be welcome. The 4th is still a long way off, I want to see a lot more data before I get comfortable with the forecast, but I realize you want to know this stuff, so I’m doing my best with the (sketchy) information at hand. Light a candle, think positive thoughts, a prayer wouldn’t hurt, although there are far more worthy things to pray about these days. Enjoy a blob-free Thursday (time to unplug the Doppler and let it cool off a little). I may find myself handcuffed to the old radar until again late Friday and Saturday morning, but that’s not going to stop me from evacuating to my favorite lake up north!

Weather Headlines

* Today: kick-off of Sauk Rapids River Days and St. Cloud’s Granite City Days; dry and warm for the Lemonade Art Fair and Concert later today – ideal weather!

* Storms early, some strong to borderline severe with vivid lightning, small hail, even minor street flooding. Slow AM commute?

* 90 possible today, likely tomorrow.

* Dew points in the upper 50s today, making it feel a little more comfortable out there, in spite of the heat.

* Round of heavy showers/T-storms late Friday, Friday night, lingering into a portion of Saturday morning; some half inch rainfall amounts possible.

* Saturday: wet start, sunny finish, skies slowly clear out during the PM hours behind a cool front.

* Sunday: hints of September with bright sun, a few PM clouds, and a fresh northwest breeze at 10-20. Temperatures hold in the 70s for highs, maybe some 60s far northern MN.

* Cooler start to next week, but warming up nicely in time for the 4th of July weekend.

4-Panel (GFS) computer model showing showers/storms Saturday morning, followed by a clearing trend Saturday PM, and dry weather Sunday (with a cool, refreshing northwest wind flow). To see the latest, greatest computer run from Unisys, click here.

Summer is the peak season for one of the nation’s deadliest weather phenomena— lightning. But don’t be fooled, lightning strikes yearround. The goal of this Website is to safeguard U.S. residents from lightning. In the United States, an average of 62 people are killed each year by lightning:

The reported number of injuries is likely far lower than the actual total number because many people do not seek help or doctors do not record it as a lightning injury. People struck by lightning suffer from a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms, including memory loss, attention deficits, sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints, irritability, fatigue, weakness, muscle spasms, depression, and an inability to sit for long.

Lightning is a serious danger. Through this site we hope you’ll learn more about lightning risks and how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your belongings. As a start, get an overview of Lightning Safety or stop by our comprehensive page of handouts, brochures, links and more.

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