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Warmest week of the summer?

What a goofy “summer.” Deepening droughts, fickle rains, even more bizarre than usual, and a temperature trend that’s been a real head-scratcher. Historically Minnesota’s warmest weather comes the second or third week of July. Not this year. WeatherNation staff meteorologist Todd Nelson is has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations suggesting that THIS WEEK may wind up being the warmest of the entire summer, a good 3-4 weeks later than usual. Then again, when – recently – has the weather floating overhead been “usual”?

The Dog Days of August are here! No, the term has nothing to do with people “panting” and hot tempers leaving your neighbors “barking mad!” It has everything to do with the ancient Greeks, and some interesting superstitions back in their day. For an explanation see below…

Daytime highs should climb close to 90 each of the next 3 to 4 days. Considering the average high now is closer to 80 these highs are pretty impressive. There’s less soil moisture out there, a result of one of the worst droughts in a decade, and a nagging 3-6″ rainfall deficit since the beginning of the planting season. Less moisture means less water to evaporate, thus fewer PM popcorn (cumulus) clouds and less thunderstorm activity, which results in drier soil – the cycle starts up once again. It’s been said that droughts tend to perpetuate themselves, and now you can see why.

Did you see any lucky shooting starts last night? The Perseid Meteor Shower peaked Tuesday night, with as many as 20-25 pea-size chunks of debris/hour flaming through Earth’s atmosphere as (lucky) shooting stars. They should be visible again tonight; try to get away from city lights and give your eyes enough time to adjust to the darkness. This meteor show, one of the best of the entire year, is the result of Earth passing through cosmic junk in outer space, very few of those bits of debris actually survive the fiery trip all the way down to the ground.

No weather headaches this week, just a streak of sunny, increasingly breezy and humid days – highs near 90 pretty much every day from today into Saturday as winds increase from the south to southwest. By Saturday the (dreaded) dew point may be nudging 70 (hopefully everyone out at the PGA Tournament in Chaska will bring along a six pack of deodorant). By Sunday an approaching cool front may spark a few hours of showers and thunderstorms, some of the rain may be locally heavy with temperatures cooling down into the 70s (north/west) to low 80s (metro).

No tornadoes, no drama, no weather headaches – just a spell of hot, humidified air, a subtle yet blunt reminder that the Dog Days (named after the Dog Star, Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky) will be with us for a while. Ancient Greeks thought that the light given off by this star was so intense that it added to the heating of the Earth, that it was another source of intense heat. Party on Aristotle! Now we realize that the only star that heats our planet is the one that’s a little more than 93 million miles away.

GFS 9-Day Outlook from Unisys. These are predicted winds at 500 millibars, about 17,500 feet above the ground. You can deduce which way the winds are blowing (from the southwest through the weekend) but then notice the trough of low pressure swinging through next weekend – showers and storms arrive by Sunday – followed by a cooler, less humid west to northwest wind flow aloft. For the very latest outlook click here.

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