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A TiVo for my life

I know the headline sounds a bit stranger than usual. I’m not in any way equating the value of my life with that of a TiVo. I mean, c’mon, that’s not even close to being a fair comparison.

I know the headline sounds a bit stranger than usual. I’m not in any way equating the value of my life with that of a TiVo. I mean, c’mon, that’s not even close to being a fair comparison. We’re talking about an incredibly cool technological device that allows mere mortals to SUSPEND TIME, record shows and play them back on YOUR schedule!

No, I wish I had a (new) Uber-Geek version of TiVo that allowed me to pause my life, freeze my summer right here……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Why would I want to do this? Well, both boys are home. The summer is, well, as good as it gets, right? I’m so glad to be out of the rat race of local television and anal-retentive, ratings-crazed News Directors who bark, growl & sniff every time you attempt to have a life on the side, a family, friends, you know, all that stuff that’s not nearly as important as being “on the news.” Right.

There is obviously risk starting up a new company, or staring any new job, especially in this (tortuous) environment. But one advantage is having a little more control over your schedule. If you’re making progress with your TO-DO LIST and the sun is out, you can actually sneak home an hour or two earlier than usual – or sleep in an extra hour. God, I never realized how amazing that could be, my forehead black and blue from saluting a long line of TV news directors since 1979. Nope, I would not want to be a TV news director right now.

To quote Carly Simon, “these are the good old days…” Heck ‘ya, you ‘betcha by golly Sarah! This is why we stay. This is what most Americans don’t have a clue about – why we are considered fly-over land by most Americans who have no idea how AMAZING a Minnesota summer can be. So someone please go to work on technology (or medication?) that slows the progress of time, allowing us to pause the joyous moments, the splashing, laughter, the great fireside chats with the people we love, the people we’re about to miss more than you thought you could miss anything on this planet. That same device can speed up through the utter crap, the morons in our lives sent here to make our ears bleed, the dopes with service jobs, the halfwits sent here to test our resolve and determination. Here….let me grab my lifesize TiVo Premium Life Enhancer 2.0 Unit (man is that thing HEAVY) and fast-forward through my crazy sister in law’s rant.

Sunset coming up? Hit slo-mo, sit back and relax. Someone once explained it to me. “Paul, when you were 3 years old an entire summer constituted 3/36th of your life, or 1/12th of the entire time you were on the planet. But by the time you reach 50 (looks bleak seeing it there in black and white) a summer is just a tiny fraction of the total time you’ve been kicking; we’re talking 3/600th of your life, or 1/200th the total number of hours you’ve been walking around on this damn fine rock.” I guess that makes sense. A summer was a much bigger (longer) deal when we were young – that’s why life seems to fly by at breakneck speed.

Thus my desire for a TiVo for my Life. Would a bright Minnesota entrepreneur please go to work on something in time for the Summer of ’10? The older I get, the less and less I take for granted….

NAM Outlook through 7 am Friday. Purple/blue/green shaded areas are regions of expected rainfall during each 12 hour period. A bubble of high pressure directly over Minnesota treats us to comfortable sunshine much of today. The approach of much hotter, stickier air from the south/west will spark a good chance of showers/T-storms tomorrow, with a nagging thunder threat (or should I say opportunity?) into Sunday.

60 Hour WRF-NMM Computer Outlook for 7 am Saturday morning. This graphic shows predicted rainfall Friday night, from 7 pm Friday through 7 am Saturday, hinting at bands of heavy thunderstorms setting up over central and southern Minnesota as a “hot front” approaches from the south. Warm fronts tend to become more active (increasing storminess) at night, so this isn’t too hard to believe. The latest computer run prints out over 2″ of rain for the Twin Cities, but .60″ for St. Cloud. This far out it’s hard to delineate which towns/counties will experience the heaviest rains – if you’re CAMPING Friday night keep in mind the sky may open up at any moment – especially over the southern third of Minnesota.

WRF-NMM Predicted Temperatures for 1 pm Saturday. Check out the expanding 90s sweeping into southern Minnesota by midday. As I’ve been saying since the beginning of the week I’m pretty sure the 90 degree “isotherm” will reach St. Cloud, with some mid 90s possible from the Twin Cities to Mankato, Rochester and Austin. Factor in a dew point in the mid 60s and it may feel like 100-105 over southern Minnesota. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the NWS issued a Heat Advisory Saturday, best chance south of the Minnesota River Valley.

So here’s what should happen in the coming days (God-willing). Keep in mind I’m just a messenger, a reluctant one at that.

Thursday looks sunny and fine, temperatures close to where they were yesterday as high pressure floats overhead. A return south/southeast flow on the “dirty side” of today’s fair weather maker will increase clouds on Friday, the best chance of T-storms Friday night, when rainfall may be locally heavy.

Depending on where those storms set up Friday night, the stage is set for what may be the first 90-degree day since late June. Saturday will bring back memories of the Dog Days, highs toppig 90 (south) with a heat index probably topping 100 degrees by 3 or 4 pm. If the storms linger longer south of the Minnesota River, then shave a few degrees off Saturday’s highs. Heading north? Highs on Saturday in the Brainerd Lakes area may hold in the low/mid 80s, even some 70s far north. So expect a HUGE north-south temperature contrast Saturday.

Sunday looks unsettled as a slow-moving cool front approaches. A few hours of showers and storms are possible, highs ranging from 70s Red River Valley to 80s central counties (and most lakes up north) to near 90 over southeastern MN, including the Twin Cities. It probably won’t be quite as hot as Saturday, but this weekend will be a subtle (yet blunt) reminder that summer is not going away anytime soon.

We cool off slightly early next week (low 80s, my kind of cool front). But long-range (GFS) guidance is indicating at another hot surge toward the end of next week, maybe a run of 90s – a few in a row? Too early to get specific, but as I’ve been telling you for some time, where Mother Nature giveth, she often taketh away. Unusual cool spells are often followed by unusual warm spells as the atmosphere tries to “even things out” and achieve equilibrium.

I know there’s football in the air (NFL game Sunday evening – hooray!), back to school sales are everywhere, kids are thinking about fall classes….

Don’t write off summer just yet. We had a nice intermission (all of July) but Part II may have more umpfh than you thought possible. My hunch: 1-3 days of 90+ temperatures – and more severe T-storms than we experienced in July. Just a gut feel based on the latest weather maps. Could be nausea….

Wednesday Evening Satellite Image. Check out the “monsoon” T-storms sprouting over the desert southwest (persistent hot weather produces a semi-permanent area of low pressure over Arizona, New Mexico and parts of California – a partial vacuum that literally sucks Pacific moisture into the southwest, sparking late-day T-storms. While you’re at it, go ahead and find Felicia’s “eye”.

NHC Forecast Track for “Felicia”. As of last night Hurricane Felicia was upgraded to a violent Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph, gusts over 170 mph. The 5-Day track above shows significant weakening of Felicia before the soggy remnants drift into Hawaii by early next week. The reason? Felicia is expected to pass over colder Pacific Ocean water. To get the latest information on Felicia (and anything that might be brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean or Atlantic), click here for NHC, the National Hurricane Center.
Perseid Meteor Shower. This year’s Perseid meteor shower could be even better than usual. “A filament of comet dust has drifted across Earth’s path and when Earth passes through it, sometime between 0800 and 0900 UT (1 – 2 am PDT) on August 12th, the Perseid meteor rate could surge to twice its normal value,” says Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. The following profile is based on the debris stream models of veteran forecasters Jeremie Vaubaillon and Mikhail Maslov:

Looks like the morning of August 12 stands the best chance of seeing the Perseids, what is historically Minnesota’s best meteor shower of the year. That’s next Wednesday. Circle your calendar! (or not).