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Another fizzling front

The forecast calls for more extremes; the term “average weather” is laughable, especially in Minnesota, as if our temperatures or rainfall patterns have ever flat-lined. It’s peaks and valleys; we just ricochet from one extreme to the next.

The forecast calls for more extremes; the term “average weather” is laughable, especially in Minnesota, as if our temperatures or rainfall patterns have ever flat-lined. It’s peaks and valleys; we just ricochet from one extreme to the next. Dry & dusty June and July, followed by one of the 10 wettest Augusts in modern-day records, over 6″, with as much as 10″ in a few towns. Cooler weather results in fewer hailstorms (farmers pretty pleased about that, I might add) and fewer tornadoes, but a twister just happens to form in the skies over South Minneapolis, without any warning from local media, the National Weather Service, Civil Defense or the Boy Scouts. The only thing that’s predictable: our weather will probably become more and more UNPREDICTABLE, EXTREME and downright ODD over time.

One correction: yesterday we shared some erroneous information. We did NOT just enjoy the driest Minnesota State Fair on record. Pete Boulay from the State Climatology Office got back to me with an update, turns out .08″ of rain fell on August 28, making it the SECOND driest State Fair on record. Turns out .02″ of rain fell during the 12 day run of the fair in 2003. The .08″ that fell during ’09 ties 1968 as the second driest run of the fair since the mid 1800s. Just wanted to clear that up so you can sleep soundly tonight, not toss and turn and worry “did we or didn’t we set a rainfall record at the fair? Inquiring minds want to know!” My attitude: if the weather is going to be goofy, let’s at least go for some serious RECORDS! Weather Boasting Rights for North America!! I know, break the tablet in half, Paul. Sorry I got a little carried away.

Peak Season for Minnesota Color. For more on Minnesota’s Fall Color Season click here. According to the Minnesota DNR, peak color is still about 1 month away for the immediate Twin Cities, but closer to 3 weeks away for St. Cloud. With the relatively cool summer (and ongoing drought) my hunch is that the colors may peak a little earlier than usual, and not be quite as vibrant as recent years. Hope I’m wrong on that score…

Big weather stories: Fred is the second official hurricane of the season in the Atlantic, odds are it won’t affect the east coast (or come steaming up the Mississippi); a weakening front kicks up a few stray showers across the state today; a better chance of a cool third of an inch of rain late Friday and Friday night, a few showers may still spill over into Saturday – Sunday still appears to be the better day of the weekend with at least some peeks of sun. It doesn’t look quite as cool this weekend, in fact we should stay lukewarm into much of next week. No dramatic cool fronts in sight – yet, but check out the GFS forecast graphic below: hinting at a “cut-off low”, a cold low in the upper atmosphere cut off from the main belt of westerly jet stream winds – spinning, twisting and churning just south/west of Minnesota from Sunday through the middle of next week, maybe ALL of next week. The brunt of any PM showers underneath that cold low should stay south & west, closer to Des Moines and Sioux Falls, but it may be a close call….next week almost certainly looks slightly cooler and a bit damper than this week.

Outlook for Monday evening, based on the GFS model. Check out the cut-off low just west of Minnesota, hinting at windblown showers across the Dakotas, Iowa, possibly into western and central Minnesota as well. This system may stall out precariously close to home next week, keeping us cloudier, more unsettled, possibly showery as well.

DNR Fire Danger. The greatest potential for wildfires is in northwestern Minnesota, at least for the near future.

Yesterday the Twin Cities saw it’s first 80-degree high in nearly 2 weeks. That’s almost interesting. The risk of wildfires is high over most of northwestern Minnesota. Moderate drought lingers over much of west central, east central and southeastern Minnesota – some towns are running a 12-15″ rainfall deficit since the beginning of June, 2008. It’s going to take many more months to pull out of this long term precipitation rut.

File this in the Wishful Thinking Department. Based on El Nino, slow, steady warming of equatorial Pacific Ocean Water, CPC, the Climate Prediction Center in Washington D.C. is predicting a m ilder September, October and November for much of the southwest, the Great Lakes and New England. After our cool summer Minnesota and the Dakotas are probably due (statistically) for a change in the pattern, one favoring slightly milder than normal conditions. That said, there is still a dire lack of sunspot activity – that correlates with cooler than normal conditions for parts of the planet, and lately that seems to include Minnesota. Bottom line: we have NO IDEA what’s going to happen much beyond a week to 10 days, and even that’s pushing it. That’s the honest-to-God truth…

Paul’s Outlook

Today: A fair amount of cloudiness, cooler & unsettled – passing showers and sprinkles but much of the day looks dry. Winds: E/NE 10-15. High: 77

Tonight: Partly cloudy, cooler than recent nights. Low: 56

Thursday: Sunshine returns, a warmer day. High: 81

Friday: Sunny start, then clouds increase. Showers likely late Friday and Friday night. High: near 80

Saturday: Unsettled, passing shower possible early, again late afternoon/evening. Some midday sun expected. High: 75

Sunday: Partly sunny, slight chance of a few PM showers. High: 73

Monday: Clouds increase, another round of PM showers. High: 72

Tuesday: More clouds than sun, temperatures close to average. Few showers (western Minnesota). High: 71