Tuesday AM soaking?

Sunday morning lows (minimum temperatures) around the state of Minnesota:

53 Twin Cities (normal low is 63).

43 St. Cloud (new record low for July 19).

37 International Falls (new record, old record was 43 F, set in 1958)

July Data for the Twin Cities from the National Weather Service.

* 3.2 degrees F. cooler than average so far.

* 14 of 18 days: cooler than average, largest extremes came third week of July.

* Only 5 days with more than a trace of rain reported. Only .26″ of rain so far in July (running a 2.11″ deficit just this month).

* 6 mornings so far in July waking up to temperatures in the 50s.

WRF/NMM Precipitation Outlook for Tuesday morning. This is what the computer model is predicting for rainfall amounts between 1 am and 7 am Tuesday morning. Some very impressive amounts are possible over central Minnesota, especially just north of St. Cloud, where the models are hinting at some 3″+ amounts (in 6 hours, mind you!) which would imply some very heavy, slow-moving thunderstorms moving through. I’m skeptical that rainfall amounts will be anywhere close to that amount, but some .25 to .75″ rainfall tallies seem realistic, a few farms and lawns may soak up close to an inch of rain Tuesday.

I woke up Sunday morning, slowly, nervously lifting one eyelid, carefully peering under the slats in the shades covering the bedroom window – catching my breath as I lunged for a closer look. Please God. Let it be sunny. The people need hope! Let this magnificent day live up to its name. That’s right, Sun-Day. Let it be. I opened the other eyelid and exhaled with relief, no, something closer to pure unadulterated joy. The sun was out, shining in all its glory, casting shadows, the excited chatter from my visiting nephews and nieces out in the living room was a good sign. So like everyone else in the state we attempted to make up for lost time and Saturday’s hideous cabin fever by rushing out onto the lake, along with a couple of million other Minnesotans. I’m still waiting for the day the DNR installs traffic lights out on ‘Tonka. Note to self: probably NOT a good idea taking your 80 year old mother in law to Big Island, dragging a circular, 8-person float behind our boat. Man, did I ever get some curious stares (but my dear “Nanna” had a ball). No one spoke of Friday’s wind chill or Saturday’s gray disappointment. Mass, collective amnesia strikes again. That’s the only reason this state keeps on going, btw. It’s because of our capacity, refined over the years, to forget even the most egregious weather trauma, turn the other cheek (yes, facial cheek) and focus on the positive and good, ignore/downplay/poo-poo the bad.

Because if someone told you that for 3-4 months out of the year it’s going to sting when you open the front door – and you’ll have to hold your breath until the heater gets going – and spring can last for a day or two – and when summer finally does show up (some time in June, usually) it’s magnificent, except for the drippy humidity levels, and the mosquitoes, so big they walk with a limp, and the DVD-size hailstones and roaring tornadoes and quality time spent curled up in your basement…..that, and oh yeah, an occasional taste of early October in mid July, complete with 30s, furnaces clicking on, even some patchy frost and records up north.

Yesterday was a tonic for the soul. I was counting my blessings, atmospheric and otherwise, all day, out with my family and my wife’s twin sister’s family in visiting from Washington. Friday and Saturday these visiting ‘kin kept looking at me – all of us, in fact – like we were halfwits, as if to say, “why are you putting up with this crap?” Today they got their answer, like a 2×4 across the forehead. They understood. Blue sky, little wind, low humidity, unlimited visibility, even the bugs seemed especially well-behaved. The mercury climbed to 75 at St. Cloud and 78 in the Twin Cities, but held at 64 in Grand Marais with a chilly breeze wafting off Superior. Farther west Canby boasted 80 degrees, and more of the state should sample 80 later today with sun most of the day.

Another frontal boundary arrives with potentially heavy showers/thunderstorms late tonight into part of Tuesday, the timing is still tricky, but Tuesday morning’s “rush hour” may be anything but. Several inches of rain is expected over parts of central Minnesota, less amounts closer to the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester. Remember we’re in a moderate/severe drought, down anywhere form 2-4″ of rain since June 1, closer to 6″ since April 1, so bring it on!

GFS Prediction for 7 pm next Sunday evening. This graphic shows predicted rainfall from 7 am to 7 pm next Sunday, with almost “spiral” bands of showers setting up around yet ANOTHER upper level, “cut-off” low forecast to spin up – AGAIN (!!) over Hudson Bay, Canada. This is unbelievable – incredible – almost supernatural! Some sort of blocking pattern or strange oscillation is preventing this “block” from transitioning into a new phase. This is the same pattern that sparked 60s, record chill and long faces from last Thursday into Saturday, and if – IF this model is accurate, we may be in for another round of cool, wet and windy from next weekend into the last few days of July. A far cry from a week ago when the GFS was hinting at 90s for the last few days of July. Just goes to show how fast the (long-range) forecast can go south.

The next clipper-like disturbance dropping southeastward out of Canada may rile up a shower or storm anytime late Friday, before a drier, cooler, lower-humidity breeze whips up behind the front Saturday, temperatures probably stunted in the 70s once more. It’s hard to fathom, but that same GFS model is painting another unusually vigorous, another chilly, rainy, stormy swirl over the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest from next weekend into the first few days of next week. Maybe it’s El Nino, perhaps it’s something else, but it’s just uncanny how the atmosphere wants to keep getting locked in a pattern that favors almost autumnlike weather from the Dakotas to New England, while much of the south, west (and oddly enough: Alaska) bakes under record heat. Enough speculation, just know that no 90s are shaping up, quite the opposite with temperatures quite a bit cooler than average for late July. Wait, how the heck did it get to be late July?

Is it just me, or have you noticed that every summer seems to fly by just a little bit faster than the one before?

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