Picture postcard perfect

O.K. I’m a king-size weather geek, and damn proud of it. I just installed a professional-grade weather instrument, something I’ve wanted to do for many, many years. My wife spent one too many days on the east coast, and that’s all the time I needed. I had some help – it was a little too complicated for my ADHD-infested brain (thank you Andy and Erik). If you want to see the latest readings for the Excelsior/Tonka Bay area click here. My weather station call letters are DW3409. And yes, I am great fun at parties….



Weather is subjective – after near 40 years of trying….attempting to predict the state of the sky floating overhead, I should know better than to editorialize. I mean, when it comes right down to it, who the bleep CARES what I think? I get it. All weather, like politics, is local. You care about YOUR weather, the weather being experienced by friends & family. No such thing as good weather or bad weather, right? One man’s washout is another man’s bountiful, soon-to-be harvest.

My shaky preamble and weak, watered-down disclaimer aside, September is a phenomenal month, possibly my favorite month, weather-wise. I think May is still my all-time favorite month on the calendar: those lengthening days, extended/bonus evenings and late sunsets, all that pent-up energy and hope for summer. Minnesotans are positively BUZZING by the time May rolls around. I’m having a tough time of it this year, dear diary. I’m feeling pretty blue. Maybe it’s because summer was so amazing. Yes, it was a couple degrees cooler than average (I blame the damn sunspots, or lack thereof) but we still had a blast. Here at home I was drafted to drive the boat, a 21 foot Malibu, a perfect little ski boat, and both boys wanted to brush up on their wake-boarding and knee-boarding. I was in charge of throttle and video (they wanted me to take HD video so they could critique their improvement over time). Normally I get an earful of crap when I attempt to take family pictures; this may have been the ONLY time since they were born when picture-taking was cheerfully encouraged.

Walt Kruhoeffer, 21, a senior at Penn State…..loves it when strangers come up and say “hey, you look like a younger, better looking version of Paul Douglas with much better hair. Rock on dude!” His degree will be in telecommunications, with a minor in business, and he’s rightfully nervous about the state of the media business – the revolution that’s unfolding. And that’s exactly what it is, btw. It’s a revolution. A gifted musician, he’s in an up and coming band called Northern Soul.

Back to my September Funk. To go from day after day of family time, water-sports, countless meals and untold laughs, and then wake up one morning and both boys are back to school (Penn State and the Naval Academy) and it’s just me at our 14 year old dog, Max, well, it’s a tough transition. No offense, Max….please don’t look at me that way!

Max, our 14 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We picked him up in Chicago back in 1996. He’s sitting beside me right now, encouraging me. Man, could Max ever use an Altoid.


The actual month of September may be my favorite, in terms of weather overall. It’s an incredible month, maybe the nicest of the year. The worst of the summer humidity is behind us, no more “stinking hot” days (although we never really had that spell of nasty heat this summer, did we?) Skies are blue, thunderstorms drop off rapidly, the risk of severe weather subsides as the month goes on. Even the bugs start to thin out, the mosquitoes about ready to throw in the towel.

Brett Kruhoeffer, just turned 19, a sophomore or “youngster” at the U.S. Naval Academy. Yes, he can get even more “air” than his old man. With a fondness for English and American History, Brett’s serious about making movies (or documentaries) when he gets out of the Academy. He seems to be a gifted storyteller, like his grandfather.

Minnesota brides-to-be take note. Please plan your outdoor wedding for the month of September, not June. It turns out June is the wettest month of the year, on average (about 4″ of rain). September rainfall is almost half that of June, although I’ve heard that Professor Mark Seeley has some compelling research that shows wetter weather being pushed back later in the summer….the TREND is for late summer to be getting wetter in recent decades. Very interesting, and no, I have no idea whether you can accurate chalk that potential trend up to climate change. Even thought I believe that global warming is real, not every single anomaly can be attributed to climate change.

So, August may have been the coolest in 5 years across the Upper Midwest, and in the Twin Cities August was one of the 10 wettest on record. The drought still isn’t over, but we did put a dent in it – the trends are somewhat encouraging. That said, I still don’t see any significant rainfall in the forecast until possibly next Wednesday. That’s right, each computer model run gets drier and drier for the holiday weekend. I’d be surprised if you see ANY shower or T-storm activity Sunday or Monday – moisture remains south of Minnesota, no frontal boundaries to focus upward motion and create rain until maybe the middle of next week. So this could wind up being one of the driest Minnesota State Fairs in recent decades, nothing like 1977, when 9.5″ of rain fell over the span of 12 days. That’s about 3 to 3 1/2 months worth of rain!

The bottom line: if you need dry weather for yard work, field work, painting, construction, ANYTHING….take advantage of this dry spell, which should hang on right through Tuesday of next week, temperatures mellowing into the low 80s by Friday and Saturday, definitely lake-worthy. Call me crazy (been called much worse) but it looks like we’re about to salvage an amazingly nice Labor Day Holiday Weekend!

Paul’s Outlook

Today: Mostly sunny and lukewarm. Winds: S/SE 5-15. High: 76

Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 54

Tomorrow: Plenty of sun, a couple degrees warmer. High: 78

Saturday: Warm sun, perfect for the lake or pool. High: 81

Sunday: Hazy sun, a bit stickier, more humid. High: 83

Monday (Labor Day). Sunshine lingers, still dry – amazingly nice for a holiday. High: near 80

Tuesday: Sun dimmed by increasing high clouds. High: 78

Wednesday: More clouds, first good chance of showers, T-storms. High: 75

Summer Facts & Figures (from a great little company called Planalytics, Inc.). Click here to read the full report, a great national overview of not only August weather statistics, but data for the entire summer. This is also a blunt reminder that just because Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest saw a cooler August, and a cooler summer for that matter, does NOT mean that the entire nation saw a cooler summer, quite the contrary:

U.S. and North America: August was warmer than average, but the 3rd coolest in the last 10 years.

Regional Extremes (Temperature):

San Antonio: 88.54 F. Warmest August ever recorded, breaking the record set in 2006. This follows the warmest July ever recorded.

Phoenix: 95.17 F. Warmest since 2007 and 3rd warmest in 15 years (1995)

Regional Extremes (Precipitation):

Philadelphia: 10.29″ Wettest August ever recorded, breaking the record set in 1971.

Pierre, SD: 3.78″ Third wettest August, lagging only 1970 and 2005.

Amarillo, TX: 6.89″ Third wettest August, lagging only 1974 and 1986.

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