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El Nino is back

Oh no. I wish it hadn’t come to this. It’s baaaack. El Nino. Yep, the ultimate meteorological excuse of all time. The punchline of every weather-joke.

Oh no. I wish it hadn’t come to this. It’s baaaack. El Nino. Yep, the ultimate meteorological excuse of all time. The punchline of every weather-joke. The equatorial Pacific Ocean is warming again; it’s too early to know how extreme the warming will be, or what (if any) affect this warm stain off the coast of Ecuador will have on Minnesota’s weather this upcoming winter. Is El Nino already influencing the weather over North America – perhaps keeping the northern tier states of the USA cooler than average? Absolutely possible, but proving cause and effect in all things atmospheric is all but impossible. For more on the brewing El Nino click here for the latest from NOAA.

Weekend Weather Headlines

* 85 degree high on Friday, late-day showers sprout ahead of a cool front.

* Dew points dip into the upper 40s and low 50s today, nearly half as much water in the air as yesterday.

* Today: the sunnier, nicer outdoor day of the weekend.

* Showers likely Sunday, even a few thunderstorms. Potential rainfall: .3 to .5″

* No extreme heat in sight through the third week of July.

* Moderate drought extends into west central Minnesota. Moderate to severe drought conditions linger near Twin Cities and much of southeastern Minnesota.

* Twin Cities metro running a 6″ rainfall deficit since April 1. St. Cloud rainfall amounts 2-3″ below average since start of the growing season.

* Silver lining to our cooler, drier summer? Only 8 tornadoes so far in Minnesota. 10 year running average for the entire year: 44. Running 30 year average: 27 tornadoes.

* Average 6 pm dew point during June: 49.5 F. That’s the lowest (most comfortable) dew point since 1982.

Dew points across Minnesota early Saturday morning, showing 50s, even some 40s up north, unusually low (dry) for mid July. For the latest dew points across the state click here.

Sneak outside today; spend as much time as possible soaking up some mid July sunshine (wearing the appropriate level of sunscreen, of course) because tomorrow may not be nearly as pleasant in the great out of doors. A fast-moving, clipper-like system surging southeastward out of Canada will spread showers and embedded thunderstorms across Minnesota. In fact the rains may arrive before dawn Sunday morning over the western half of Minnesota. Clouds and showers will keep temperatures a few degrees cooler, holding in the upper 60s and low 70s up north. I’m getting sick of saying “take a sweatshirt.” It’s mid July, for crying out loud! Must be that ‘dang El Nino. That’s it – that’s the ticket.

WRF/NMM model valid 7 pm today. No rain is expected anywhere in the state from 1 pm to 7 pm today, a weak bubble of (Canadian) high pressure drifting overhead. Winds will blow from the W/NW at 10-15, with a few afternoon gusts to 20 mph. on area lakes. Expect low humidity and nearly unlimited visibility – no question today should be the nicer outdoor day of the weekend.

WRF/NMM model valid 7 pm Sunday. Showers and a few isolated T-storms surge into western Minnesota late Saturday night and linger into the afternoon/evening hours Sunday. It won’t rain the entire day, but many towns will pick up 3-6 hours of rain, the best chance of .50″ of rain coming over the southern half of Minnesota.

Looking ahead temperatures much of next week should be close to average, daytime highs from 80-82. No extreme heat (or humidity) is in sight looking out 7-10 days or so. Beyond that the crystal ball gets a bit murky, but at this point, based on everything we’ve experienced since May, I sure wouldn’t bet on an extended run of sizzling 90s anytime soon. The jet stream has been howling a few hundred miles farther south than usual for mid summer, a pattern which doesn’t show any sign of reversing anytime soon. Miss the heat? Don’t give up just yet: historically Minnesota’s hottest weather comes the last half of July into the first week of August. Still plenty of time to sweat it out (and complain about the humidity!)