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Summer: the sequel

Yesterday: Day 9 above 80 so far in September. Temperatures running 5-6 degrees above average for the month. Yes, this may be atmospheric payback for our cooler-than-normal summer, although the trend in recent decades is for milder weather to linger longer into the autumn months.

Data from Pete Boulay at the MN State Climatology Office:

2007: 10 days above 80 in September

2003: 13 days above 80 in September

The most 80s? 18 back in 1908

Our weather honeymoon is going to hang on another 48 to 72 hours. The holding pattern responsible for high pressure stalling out from New England westward to the High Plains – will hang on into Sunday, meaning light winds, warm sun, temperatures 10-15 degrees above average -weather more typical of mid August than mid September. Our time warp is going to hang on a few more days, followed by a cooling trend next week (but it won’t be nearly as chilly as we thought it might be earlier this week). Each successive computer run keeps the cold, Canadian air farther & farther north. We’ll cool back down to “normal” next week, highs in the upper 60s to low 70s (where we SHOULD be right now). Latest guidance shows another storm “cutting off” over the southern Plains, showers lingering through the first half of next week, a few spilling over into Minnesota (if we’re lucky)). No frost, no flakes, no heavy jackets (yet), in fact I still think we’ll mellow back up to 80 or beyond by the end of September.

Bottom line: September ’09 may wind up being unusually warm, as much as as 5-7 degrees above average. Yes, until further notice summer has been extended, prolonged, stretched. I’m ok with that (hope you are too).

Um, do you think we’re a little too close to that tornado? Yes, Darwin does come to mind, looking at this harrowing photo. I’ve chased tornadoes on 3 occasions since 1985 (always from a MUCH greater distance, come to think of it). I stumbled upon a web site with the catchy title: “Time to turn back? The most incredible twister pictures.” Recap: 24 tornadoes in Minnesota so far in 2009, most of them EF0 and EF1 twisters with winds under 100 mph. No, we didn’t see anything even close to this, one silver lining of a cooler, drier summer across the Upper Midwest.

Smoke from a Distant Fire. GOES Satellite Image from Wednesday, showing patchy low stratus clouds/fog over central Minnesota, and smoke from wildfires burning in British Columbia, being swept southeast by prevailing jet stream winds. Look carefully and you can see the faint pall of smoke from southern Manitoba stretching southeastward across Minnesota into Iowa and Illinois. The result: deep, ruby red sunsets in recent days, a trend that should linger into the weekend.

Fall Foliage Update, courtesy of Conservation Minnesota. My hunch is that our unusual warmth may push back peak color by about a week or so. The Brainerd Lakes area is still 2-3 weeks away from peak color; the greater St. Cloud and Twin Cities area may not see peak color until mid October. Click here to go directly to the site for a lot of terrific, timely information.

Paul’s Outlook

Today: Hazy sunshine, still pretty spectacular. Winds: E/SE 5-10. High: 81

Tonight: Mostly clear skies. Low: 58

Saturday: Sunnier day of the weekend. Lingering sun, still unseasonably warm. Winds: S 10-15. High: 82

Sunday: Sunny start, but clouds increase by afternoon, still warmer than average. High: 79

Monday: Mostly cloudy, a few showers likely. High: 69

Tuesday: Unsettled, more clouds than sun, showers popping up by PM. High: 68

Wednesday: Partly sunny, another PM shower possible. High: 71

Thursday: A mix of clouds and sunshine, seasonable temperatures. High: 72

Friday: Sunny start, clouds increase, milder. High: 74

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