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Saturday puddles, cooler and drier Sunday

Yep, looks like a Saturday out there. Why do sunny days tend to come on weekdays and storms favor weekends? One of the great, unsolved mysteries of our time, right up there with why people drive slow in the left lane and pizzas usually fall face down. I don’t pretend to have the answer. In truth we’re all more “weather-aware”, more weather-sensitive on the weekends, especially when we’ve made plans up at the cabin, or have company over, or want to keep the kids from going-zombie in front of the TV while the rain is pouring down outside. We tolerate weekdays, living for the weekends, packing as much outdoor fun as humanly possible into our fleeting Saturdays and Sundays. We definitely notice when it rains on a weekend, while a shower may go largely unnoticed on a Wednesday, when we’re all nestled in our windowless cubicles and offices.

There’s a long list of things to do this weekend, parades, festivals of all types, and the big Great American Backyard Campout It will be seriously soggy this morning, I can’t rule out some thunder and lightning through early afternoon hours, but the odds of severe weather are low (but not zero). The heaviest rains come during the morning and midday hours; a cool frontal passage turns winds at ground-level to the west and northwest this afternoon and skies will try to clear. There should be some sun during the afternoon hours. Bottom line: the later in the day your outdoor plans: the greater the chances you’ll be ok. The ground may be soggy and muddy in spots, but the heaviest, most widespread rains should have pushed off to our east. We may even get a peek at the setting sun, but a nagging wrinkle of cold air floating above the Dakotas will probably ignite another late-day round of showers and storms, most likely over far western Minnesota. But sandwiched in-between the showers SHOULD be a relatively dry, partly sunny stretch during the mid and late afternoon hours.

4-Day Forecast Panel from Unisys showing today’s showers and thunderstorms, followed by a clearing/drying trend Sunday (and a fairly strong pressure gradient for late June, implying gusty northwest winds tomorrow reaching speeds of 15-30 mph at times). For the very latest update click here.

Forecast map from WSI showing the bulk of today’s showers/storms pushing toward Milwaukee and Chicago by 7 pm this evening, followed by a (temporary) clearing trend over much of Minnesota. A secondary band of showers and isolated T-storms forms over the Dakotas and the Red River Valley, the result of strong instability, meaning another chance of showers and possible thunder by the evening hours, especially over western and central counties of Minnesota. To get the latest 24 hour forecast map click here.

Sunday looks better, drier, but noticeably cooler as an almost September-like airmass drains south out of Canada. The sun should be out during the morning and midday hours, but I’m worried that lingering cold air aloft may cause clouds to increase during the afternoon – I can’t even rule out a few late-day showers, most likely over the northern third of Minnesota (including the Brainerd and Alexandria areas). Better grab a light jacket or sweatshirt, daytime highs will hold in the 70s tomorrow, even some 60s far north, with lows tonight dipping into the 50s, possibly 40s north of Bemidji. Yep, we just careen from one extreme to the next. A tight pressure gradient should whip up a fairly strong northwest breeze Sunday, gusting over 20 mph at times, so expect a choppy ride if you’re heading out on the boat.

** Weather Factoid. So far we’ve had 5 days at or above 90 in St. Cloud this year, which is more than usual as of June 26. We should have seen 3 90-degree days, to date. BTW during an average summer we “enjoy” an average of 13 days above 90, most come from mid July into the first half of August.

Monday will be brisk with more sun, less wind, and highs holding in the 60s north and 70s south. It will warm up next week, 80s returning by midweek, along with a few scattered showers by Wednesday and Thursday morning. Looking ahead we should dry out Thursday afternoon, setting the stage for a fairly nice START to the 4th of July holiday weekend.

“The weather better be nice for the 4th”, my wife growled at me yesterday. She had a scowl on her face, watching me pour over the computer print-outs and computer projections. She was seriously pissed at me! “I’m just the messenger honey, I don’t make this stuff,” I protested. She shook her head. “I don’t believe you. Just tell me what I want to hear, ok?” Great. This is what I deal with on a daily basis, even from my wife and 2 boys. You, the dear reader, know full well that we have nothing to do with the weather, right? And no, my latest company has nothing to do with weather-control. That’s still science fiction (thank God). We won’t be able to nudge Mother Nature in any meaningful way, not in our lifetime. We have enough trouble just predicting the state of the weather, much less controlling it. That said, here are my initial thoughts for the all-important holiday weekend weather.

4th of July Preview

* Friday (July 3) looks like the sunniest, driest day with highs near 80. Not perfect, but better than average. See if you can get up to the cabin Thursday, to savor what should be the best day of the bunch.

* An approaching warm front will increase the chance of scattered showers and T-storms Saturday, the 4th. I do not think it will be an all-day rain, nor will it be a perfect, sun-soaking, cloudless day either. Most of the day will probably be dry, but clouds and random T-storms prowling the state will keep temperatures a bit cooler, probably in the 75-80 range. The best chance of showers/storms will probably come over western and northern Minnesota.

* Sunday appears to be the wettest day right now, long-range guidance (which is admittedly shaky this far out) hinting at a frontal boundary temporarily stalling out over central Minnesota, which could mean heavier, steadier rains and embedded T-storms much of the day. Too early to panic, and future models could change (for the better). Temperatures may hold in the 70s central and south, possibly 60s north, but there’s a slight chance that the weather may be drier and sunnier the farther north you go, north of Brainerd and Mille Lacs. It’s just too early to try and nail any details this far out. Stating the obvious: we’ll be watching this closely, hoping for the best. And honey, if you’re reading this, my dear bride of 25 years (who’s counting?) I will be sleeping with one eye open.

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