Soggy finish for the PGA

Deep down in the dark, disturbed, delightfully deranged part of your brain, you knew darn well this would happen. Eyes of the world (ok, the golf fanatics) on Minnesota – SOMETHING would happen that would reinforce old, tired stereotypes, SOMETHING would get those color commentators over at CBS a little stiff in their britches, SOMETHING would set them off on a riff about “Minnesota’s difficult weather choices.” So much of the PGA was a best-case-scenario for the MN Chamber of Commerce and their futile attempt to convince the world (aka golfing freaks) that we live in a peaceful, golf-friendly land not all that dissimilar to San Diego, Palm Springs or Sarasota.

A Wet Round. No, it won’t be THIS wet today, but the Hazeltine course will play slow and soggy, no question, after the nearly 1″+ of rain that has fallen in the last 24 hours. The sun should peek through this afternoon, enough brightening for highs near 80. Another shower/storm may flare up by early or mid afternoon, the atmosphere will still be irritable and unstable enough for another 30-45 minute cloudburst….can’t rule it out. If you’re lucky enough to be holding a ticket dress for wet and be pleasantly surprised if Mother Nature shows last-minute mercy. I mean….why should she? All those people gathering outdoors….in one place….at the mercy of the elements…..all peering up at the sky…..without their cell phones to show them the latest Doppler radar image…..forced to rely on snippets of radio or TV reports….scanning the fairways for any sign of tornadoes or beachball-size hail. I mean, once and for all. Millions watching, waiting, hoping, anticipating…..what can possibly go wrong?

Heh heh heh….that’s a good one. We almost pulled it off. 3-4 sunny, breezy, low humidity days, bordering on hot. Yesterday I got a little nervous about all those technicians in the blimp, as a line of heavy weather approached Chaska. I knew the party was over, Mother Nature would (indeed) have the last laugh when it came to course conditions (too fast, too slow, too wet, too firm, where’s Goldilocks when you need her?) Hard to get Minnesota’s weather “just right.” Don’t we know. Look at the bright side: no hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, no earthquakes, more tolerable traffic (with a few notable exceptions) and a keen appreciation of golf. With 4 precious months to swing clubs none of us take our narrow window of good-golfing-weather for granted, right? Yes, the course will play SLOW and WET today, but they should be able to get in the last few rounds, with the full cooperation of Mother Nature. Tiger appears unstoppable, wouldn’t you say? He truly is a force of nature…

Dewpoint temperatures as of Sunday morning. Note the 70+ readings south of the Twin Cities, but drier air spreading into southwestern and far western counties behind a cool front. It should feel a bit more comfortable as the day goes on.

After a seriously soggy start (capital S!) our skies will slowly brighten today, the sun should peek through by afternoon, most of the showers and storms drifting into Wisconsin as winds shift from southwest to more of a westerly direction after lunch. We can’t rule out a stray shower or storm later today, but the best chance of rain will come from Duluth south, right down the St. Croix river valley, where another 1-3 hours of rain can’t be ruled out as new lines of showers and storms “fire” along the leading edge of cooler, drier, more comfortable air.

WRF/NMM Outlook for 7 pm today. This model graphic shows expected rainfall between 1 pm and 7 pm today, the best chance of heavy showers/storms over far northeastern MN and Wisconsin, but there are hints of more hefty showers and T-storms reforming over the St. Croix and Mississippi River Valley later today ahead of the cool front’s wind shift line. In general the farther east you live in the great state of Minnesota, the greater the odds of a couple hours of additional rain, the farther west you reside, the better the odds of getting through the rest of the day without having to make a mad dash indoors. The HEAVIEST RAINS, last night’s soakers the triggered flood warnings near Willmar and St. Cloud, are now well to our east, pushing toward Milwaukee and Chicago.

Best chance of more showers/storms today: Duluth to the Twin Cities to Rochester on east into Wisconsin.

Wettest time of the day: morning/midday hours, conditions should get sunnier, drier by afternoon. Once winds are blowing from the west or northwest at your house the risk of getting blasted by a big, beefy T-storm is pretty minimal.

Temperatures: highs stuck in the 70s, maybe some low 80s over southeastern MN, deeper into the warm, humid air.

Fine weather returns Monday and Tuesday, a Canadian breeze keeping any storms at bay, well south & east of home, dew points falling into the 50s tomorrow, then the 40s on Tuesday as a dose of Septemberish weather swirls into town. The only fly in the weather-ointment: a nagging swirl of cold air aloft sparking more showers for far northern MN Monday.

Best chance of more showers this week: Wednesday/Thursday.

Temperatures this week will be cooler than last week, little question about that, although we may rebound nicely, possibly back into the low 80s again by next weekend.

Computer models bring Hurricane Bill fairly close to the eastern seaboard about 8-10 days out, but right now the simulations are all pretty unanimous in keeping this weather threat well offshore, swept out to sea by a strong, September-like cool front. Is my comfort level 100% on this? No. Is it ever 100? No. If I had friends or family members living anywhere from Boston to Long Island to the Chesapeake Bay would I be tuning in often to hear the latest hurricane prognosis for the eastern seaboard? You better believe it. It’s that time of year.

GFS Forecast for 7 am, Monday, August 24. Yes, we’re talking more than a week from now, so there is MUCH that can go wrong with this forecast, but the model trends seem to be for a series of Canadian cool fronts to keep Bill safely out to see, playing with whales and cruise ships, but little else.

NHC Predicted Track for “Bill”. Now just a tropical storm, Bill is expected to strengthen to hurricane status and track toward the Caribbean on a path that should keep the brunt of the wind and rain associated with the storm north of the Lesser Antilles, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For the very latest information from the National Hurricane Center click here for a wealth of information.

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