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Autumn hangs on, wintry rumors by late weekend?

Greetings from Annapolis, Maryland, where I spent the weekend watching the Navy football team eek past Wake Forest, occasional glimpses of my “youngster” (sophomore) son, Brett, at the U.S. Naval Academy, trying valiantly to avoid his old man. Sunday I searched in vain for my wife, Laurie, who ran the Marine Corp Marathon under a cool, sunny, perfect sky draped over the U.S. Capitol. Meanwhile my oldest son at Penn State, Walt, was on a road-trip somewhere in Pennsylvania, raising money for children’s cancer research. Yes, compared to other family members I often feel like a great big (useless) load. Where does all this energy/initiative/drive & desire come from? I’m proud of my family – sometime I marvel at their initiative and dedication. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by amazing people, at home and at daily at WeatherNation, where I’ve been blessed with a terrific team of meteorologists, developers, engineers and graphic artists (and no, I’m not biased one bit!)

Marathon Woman. My bride of 25 years, Laurie, after just completing Sunday’s Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. This is her 4th marathon. Me? I have trouble driving 26.2 miles.

The future (in my humble opinion) of weather is personalization & interactivity, blending social media and user-generated content into the weather story (everyone DOES want to talk about the weather!) and making it easier/faster for consumers to get the precise nugget of weather information they need to make a smarter decision; one that will save them time, money, plan their days/weekends with greater confidence and precision – and keep their families safer in the process. We’re just getting started. A few years from now we’ll look back at what we’re doing on the web (today) and laugh. This reminds me of the 1940s when baffled TV producers put radio programs on TV. It took them a few years to start creating content to take full advantage of this new broadcast medium called television. So it goes now. We’re slapping TV shows and videos on the web and raving about the Hulu’s and YouTubes of the world. Big deal. Once we really tap the interactive and personalization-capabilities of the Internet we’ll have something radically different – and better than what we have today. We’re just entering the second inning of a very long game.

Well, at least we salvaged a half-decent weekend – nice to see the sun out on Saturday, and at least yesterday’s showers and sprinkles were in a liquid form. Expect a few patchy clouds today, but more sun tomorrow as the mercury brushes past 50. Clouds thicken up again on Wednesday, a stiff (increasingly moist) wind howling from the south ahead of the next storm system. The latest computer models bring a surge of southern moisture into Minnesota by Thursday, the atmosphere aloft warm enough for mostly rain. Right now Thursday appears to be the soggiest day of the week as a fairly impressive storm tracks right up the Mississippi Valley, hurling a swirl of rain bands into Wisconsin and much of Minnesota.

On the backside of this next storm expect a fresh slap of (fresh) Canadian air, highs stuck in the 30s by Sunday. It’s still early (isn’t it always) but if….IF an area of low pressure approaches from the Dakotas late Sunday and Monday the atmosphere overhead might just be marginally cold enough for a period of wet snow. The best chance of a couple of inches? Sunday night into Monday morning. It’s too early to panic – or rejoice (if you have a snowmobile you’re aching to push out of the garage!) Just know there’s a potential for some accumulating snow – very close to home – early next week. Fitting that Halloween is Saturday night. By Sunday the weather maps may look positively scary!

Halloween Outlook, Saturday evening: partly cloudy, probably dry. Trick-Or-Treat temperatures in the mid 30s.

Friday’s snowfall from space. Rain was mixed with wet snow much of Friday, but temperatures were just warm enough to keep snow from accumulating during the daylight hours. But after sunset some of that wet snow began to stick – in a hurry. 4″ was reported in Red Wing, with a healthy 2.5″ for Eau Claire. You can see the fresh snow on the ground from the GOES weather satellite, a minivan size instrument 22,300 miles above the equator. Sometimes you have to look every careful to distinguish clouds from snow on the ground. Thanks to the local National Weather Service for more on this freakish example of “micrometeorology”.

Sunspot 1029 is a member of new Solar Cycle 24. Photo credit: SOHO/MDI. The sun is showing signs of life. Sunspot 1029 emerged this weekend, and it is crackling with B- and C-class solar flares. This movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) chronicles the sunspot’s rapid development from Oct. 23rd through 25th. For more information click here for all the details at
Sunspot Alert. Take my word for it, please, but things are heating up on the surface of the sun. So what? The only reason I’m including this astronomical nugget is because (some) scientists were linking our cooler-than-average summer with a total absence of sunspots. I’ve seen this correlation before: no sunspots = unusually cool weather for portions of North America, especially the Upper Midwest. So it stands to reason that if sunspots are on the increase again – maybe….MAYBE we’ll see a return to a milder trend in the temperature department. Time will tell.

Paul’s Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Intervals of sun, breezy. Cooler than average. Winds: NW/SW 10-15. High: 48

Tonight: Partly cloudy – chilly. Low: 35

Tuesday: Dim sun, windy and a bit milder. High: 54

Wednesday: Clouds lower and thicken. High: 52

Thursday: A cold rain, windy and raw. High: 47

Friday: Gusty and cold with a few sprinkles (possibly mixed with flurries). High: 42

Halloween: Nicer day of the weekend. Some sun, light winds – probably dry. High: near 40 (Trick-Or-Treat temperatures in the mid 30s).

Sunday: Sunny start, then increasing clouds. A period of wet snow is possible Sunday night – potential for a light, slushy accumulation. High: 37

Monday: Wet snow gradually tapers – potential for slushy, slippery travel. High: 36

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