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Even better than San Diego

Yesterday Nathan Timm left a message on my Facebook “wall”, which got me thinking. “Paul, can you remember a State Fair with a stretch of weather like we’ve had so far?

Yesterday Nathan Timm left a message on my Facebook “wall”, which got me thinking. “Paul, can you remember a State Fair with a stretch of weather like we’ve had so far? Not too hot, not too cold, no rain either?” The honest answer is no, I can’t remember a spell of dry, lukewarm, extraordinary weather this nice, lasting this long, coming at the tail-end of a so-so summer. September is an amazing month to begin with in Minnesota, still mild, lower humidity, fewer severe storms, no sizzling heat – and yet the cool, soaking rains of autumn are still 30-45 days away. June brides may want to reconsider: the odds of a dry, beautiful weekend in September are about 2 to 3 times greater than they are in June, the wettest month of the year.

Satellite Image of the USA. The enhanced convection (showers/T-storms) moving into Texas are the soggy remains of once mighty category 4 Hurricane Jimena. For the very latest image click here.

People often ask me which part of the USA has the nicest climate overall. If you’re looking for dry, moderate, few extremes, ample sunshine then San Diego has to take top honor, followed by the Carolinas, and then possibly Honolulu. A friend just returned from San Diego after enduring day after day of 95 degree heat. “I couldn’t wait to get back to Minnesota!” he said. “There I was, out in Weather-Nirvana, and I couldn’t wait to get back to good ‘ol MSP. It’s not what I was expecting.” I know I’ll change my tune in a few months, and San Diego will return to its rightful spot as America’s # 1 City for Weather. But for the next few days I’ll savor some of the finest weather of the entire year. What makes this SURREAL is that this gorgeous spell of weather is going to hang on right through a MAJOR HOLIDAY WEEKEND! I know, hard to believe, considering storms (given a choice) prefer to come on holidays.

The mercury hit 75 Thursday under a flawless, sapphire-blue sky. As winds pick up from the south in the coming days temperatures will continue to mellow, reaching 80 as early as Saturday. Low 80s seem likely Sunday and Labor Day Monday, roughly 5-10 degrees warmer than average, for a change. Seems like Mother Nature is trying to compensate with a little extra warmth at the end of summer, since the summer we had was short on heat and humidity. Not that anybody seemed to mind very much.

The drought is holding steady, still pockets of moderate drought over west central, east central and southeastern MN, with severe drought still showing up north/east of the Twin Cities metro area. August’s 6-8″ of rain helped the drought situation, but keep in mind we’re still running a 12-15″ rainfall deficit since early summer ’08 – it’s going to take many more months to pull out of our long-term dry rut. No cold fronts, nothing severe in sight – the first real chance of rain not until Wednesday of next week as a cooler front arrives. Long-range computer guidance is kind of interesting for the end of next week. Erika, once a tropical storm, is weakening – expected to fizzle off the east coast. But the latest GFS model shows Erika restrengthening over warm Gulf Stream waters, possibly regaining tropical storm, even hurricane status the latter half of next week. As I mentioned a few days ago, hurricane forecasters have a MUCH tougher time predicting intensity of tropical systems than the track itself. We’ll see if the models are onto something.

GFS Model Output for next Friday morning. Check out the tropical storm/hurricane predicted to be 100-200 miles south/east of New York City! The odds of this verifying, coming true, are pretty slim – this is probably a bug in the computer model. But, on the other hand, Gulf Stream water is unusually warm (temperatures in the low to mid 80s off the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia). The warmer the water (and lighter the winds aloft) the greater the potential for strengthening. We’ll see if Erika (downgraded to a tropical depression) really does amp back up into something respectable (and threatening) for the northeastern U.S. late next week.

Friday Football Forecast (evening hours, 6 – 10 pm.)

Mostly clear, moonlit skies

63-67 degrees (take a light jacket or sweatshirt)

Dew point: 55 (very comfortable).

Winds: SE 2-5 mph (very light winds).

Should be a perfect evening for high school football.

Paul’s Outlook

Today: Plenty of sun, a bit warmer than yesterday. Winds: S 5-10

Tonight: Mostly clear, moonlit skies. Low: 54

Saturday: Lukewarm sunshine, still beautiful. High: 79

Sunday: Hazy sun, a bit more humidity. High: 81

Monday (Labor Day): Warm sun, lake & pool-worthy. High: 83

Tuesday: Lingering sun, still dry. High: 81

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, few showers, possible thunder. High: 76

Thursday: Leftover shower, more clouds than sun, cooler. High: 74