A little weekend frost

7 am temperatures predicted for Sunday morning, showing a large area of 30s from Lake Mille Lacs to Taylor’s Falls, northward to Duluth, Tower and Embarrass, where a rare, late-August frost can’t be ruled out. Chilly weather extends as far south as Iowa, where more 30s can’t be ruled out. The “urban heat island” (more industry, concrete/asphalt) should keep temperatures in the Twin Cities metro area no cooler than 40-43 degrees.

I was debating one more mad dash up to the cabin on Pelican Lake, one more chance to check out “Elvis” at Breezy Point (I swear it really might be the real Elvis swooning out there on the dock). But the more I look at the weather maps the more inclined I am to stay put, loiter here in the metro, maybe check out the State Fair while it’s cool, comfortable, more like late September.

Yes, I’ll say it again: if you like your State Fair strolls cool and pleasant, with just a hint of an autumnal bite in the air, a dash of crisp, crackling and cool, you’ll enjoy this upcoming weekend. You may even need a light jacket or sweatshirt – morning temperatures will hold in the 50s, reluctantly reaching the 60s by afternoon. It still looks like Sunday will be the nicer day of the weekend with more sun and less wind, high temperatures peaking in the mid to upper 60s.

We will see a nice warming trend next week, temperatures recovering to near 80 by midweek, even a chance of some low 80s for Labor Day weekend. Long-range guidance would have you believe we’ll see a run of 80s, even a few 90s (!) the second full week of September. I know – very odd. With the exception of a fleeting shower later today, again next Wednesday, it’s a basically dry forecast for the next 7-10 days. If you need an extended dry spell for yard work, field work, construction, painting – whatever – take advantage of this relatively quiet spell. No downpours, no freakish EF0 tornadoes hovering over downtown – yes, I think we’ve seen our excitement for the month.

Sunday F-F-Frost? I know, it’s way too early. We’re barely two months past the Summer Solstice! How ’bout a little mercy? Well, I’m afraid we have many of the ingredients necessary for a late August frost – a fresh transfusion of dry, Canadian air, a bubble of high pressure directly above Minnesota, resulting in little or no wind at ground-level by Sunday morning.

Some of the coldest nooks and crannies of northern Minnesota (and northwest Wisconsin) could experience a brief frost – from Tower to Sandstone, Hinckley and Hayward, WI. I want to stress that MOST of the us will not see a frost, but I have a feeling that some of the coldest nooks and crannies up north are going to come within 2-3 degrees of freezing Sunday morning. That said, by late afternoon those same towns will be more than 30 degrees warmer, with highs in the 60s. Good grief – we just careen, ricochet, from one extreme to the next.

The arrival of this surge of sweatshirt-worthy Canadian chill will set off more clouds today, especially by afternoon, and a fleeting shower is possible, but instability and moisture is marginal for any thundershower activity. If you’re heading out to the State Fair I wouldn’t worry too much – just make sure you can duck into a building (preferably one with heart-healthy food) if the sky opens up for 30 minutes or so.

WRF/NMM Model showing predicted rainfall later today, from 1 pm to 7 pm. A southbound cool front will spark a few instability showers, even a clap of thunder – nothing terribly heavy or severe is expected right now.

Drought Monitor, latest update. Conditions are improving with our recent heavy/regular rains. Last week 14.4% of Minnesota was suffering through a moderate drought. Now that number is down to 7.5% of the state. The region of extreme drought that was showing up north/east of St. Paul, in Chisago county, has disappeared, thanks to recent downpours. Even so, half the state is still too dry, and I don’t see any significant rain looking out the next week to 10 days.

Rainfall Statistics for August

Twin Cities: 6.35” (2.9″ wetter than average) Temperatures for the month running half a degree cooler than average

St. Cloud: 5.08” (1.77 wetter than average). Temperatures for the month running .7 degrees cooler than average


“The two cities were separated only by a thin well-bridged river; their tails curling over the banks met and mingled, and at the juncture, under the jealous eye of each, lay, every fall, the State Fair. Because of its advantageous position, and because of the agricultural eminence of the state, the fair was one of the most magnificent in America. There were immense exhibits of grain, livestock and farming machinery; there were horse races and automobile races and, lately, aeroplanes that really left the ground; there was a tumultuous Midway with Coney Island thrillers to whirl you through space…”

– From A Night at the Fair, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1921.


Minnesota State Fair Statistics
(thanks to Pete Boulay at the MN State Climate Office)

Hottest: August 24, 2003: 97 F.

Coldest: September 1, 1974: 36 F.

Wettest: 1977 (9.48″ rain reported during the length of the fair)

Closest tornado: June 14, 1981. The “Har Mar Tornado” passed 1 mile north of the fairgrounds.

Strongest winds: August 20, 1904 (wind gusted to 110 mph. at the St. Paul Weather Bureau before the anemometer blew away! Winds would have been comparable at the state fairgrounds).

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