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A little too nice?

Twin Cities Almanac for Sunday. High: 79 Low: 63 Precipitation: 0″

* For what it’s worth I’ll be on KARE-11 tonight at 10 pm with Belinda Jensen, talking about WeatherNow, the all-weather digital channel that is tapping some of WeatherNation’s meteorologists and technology. I wonder if I’ll be able to find my way around the new & improved back yard? I’m looking forward to the visit – should conjure up some good memories!

Was I the only one (a little) disappointed not to see some rain yesterday? I know it was a Sunday, and it’s an unwritten law that rain falling on a fleeting Minnesota summer weekend is frowned upon. But still. The drought is expanding, I have a (strong) hunch our dry rut is going to get a lot deeper before things improve, possibly in the fall, when rains become heavier, steadier and more widespread – not the hit-or-miss showery rains that can be so frustrating this time of year.

Far southern Minnesota, the corn belt, is in pretty good shape. The boundary separating sweltering heat from free Canadian air conditioning has been stuck (consistently) south of Minnesota since May, but counties near the Iowa border have been close enough to the storm track to soak up beneficial rains, in many cases 4-8″ more rain than has fallen on much of central and east central Minnesota, now dry and dusty. Lake water levels have fallen as much as 2-3 feet. Crops are starting to show some stress from a lack of rain – remember, gardens, lawns and fields require roughly 1″ of rain EVERY WEEK during the summer months, and we have not seen nearly that much rain in recent weeks. Conditions get worse the farther east you go, towards the St. Croix River Valley, many towns just east of St. Paul experiencing “severe” drought conditions. Yes, we’ve seen fewer severe storms than usual, one benefit of our unusually cool, dry spell. For the summer temperatures statewide are running about 2 degrees cooler than average, so we’re saving a little $ on air conditioning too. I’m all for silver linings, but I’m growing increasingly concerned about the drought, I think it’s going to get considerably worse before conditions improve.

Rainfall Last week for the USA. Anything lighter than orange received at least 1″ of rain. Note how much of the nation received well under 1″ of rain, including central and northern Minnesota.

That said, Mother Nature will charm you with blue skies and lukewarm temperatures today, humidity levels still quite tolerable for mid summer. An approaching cool front will shove a few rag-tag showers and T-storms from west to east across the state Tuesday, most of the rain holding off until Tuesday night. Right now it doesn’t look like much, amounts probably winding up in the .10 to .25″ range – just enough to settle the dust. We dry out Wednesday before another (slight) possibility of bumping into a stray shower or storm Thursday. All in all a fairly quiet, uneventful week is shaping up, moisture and instability marginal for any severe weather outbreak late Tuesday. Temperatures will run on the cool side of normal, highs mostly in the 70s, humidity levels more reminiscent of mid September than mid July. The weekend is still pretty far off, but already a high percentage of Minnesotans are fixating on next weekend’s weather. So far so good – computer models are hinting at a weak bubble of high pressure dropping southward out of Canada, treating us to sunshine both days, highs in the upper 70s to near 80. The next 90? At this rate don’t hold your breath, but the GFS model is predicting low 90s by Monday, July 27. Mark your calendar. Until then enjoy Summer Lite, summer without all the harsh, unpleasant side-effects – precious little hail and humidity to speak of. I can live with that…

Sunday’s Near-Record Warmth. I keep pleading with people to try and keep a global perspective about climate, and not confuse weather with longer-term climate trends. Just because we’ve been cooler than average doesn’t mean the entire planet is trending cooler. Yesterday near-record warmth was observed over the southern Plain states and parts of Alaska.

Today’s Weather Map, valid at 1 pm. A bubble of high pressure sunning itself over Duluth will keep our skies blue most of the day, temperatures close to average for July 13. A return flow of moisture on the backside of that fair-weather-maker will increase winds across the Dakotas (note the isobars are closer together, implying stronger winds) with showers and storms forming just to our west. With any luck some of that moisture will drift into Minnesota tomorrow.

Precipitation Forecast from 7 am Tuesday to 7 am Wednesday. Computer models are hinting at some 1″+ rainfall amounts in a band just south of the Twin Cities, with another, heavier 1-2″ band of rain setting up over far northern Minnesota. Once again central counties may get ripped off in the rainfall department.

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