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A little Minnesota magic

Yesterday was a cool, smooth tonic for the soul. Standing by the water, watching the sun slip below a glass-like mirage of water and sky, it was hard not to get a little choked up.

Yesterday was a cool, smooth tonic for the soul. Standing by the water, watching the sun slip below a glass-like mirage of water and sky, it was hard not to get a little choked up. We see so many minor miracles – all around us – every day, yet rarely do we take the time to disconnect, and soak it all in. I’m genetically challenged in that regard: so focused on tomorrow, next week, next month, making sales, growing my companies, fixated on the bottom line, trying to insure that my employees, my friends, have stable jobs for a good long time. With all the distractions of modern life it’s hard to focus in on the here and now, to take the time. I make it harder than it has to be, of course. What kind of idiot walks around with 2 cell phones? One is for R&D, or I keep telling myself that. Yep, never met a gadget (er, “productivity tool”) that I didn’t like. We’ve made it so easy to Twitter away and reach out to distant friends on Facebook, but in the process we’ve distracted ourselves half to death – made it very hard to get off the grid and just savor the present. Which on a day like yesterday, was in fact, a present.

Wow. This was the view that made me stop – think – and turn off both cell phones yesterday around 5 pm. The photo doesn’t do it justice….

Soliloquy aside, we all NEEDED to bask in a little natural sunlight yesterday. This is a tough time of year – the pressures of the holidays are at hand, and yet Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. It seems the sun sets shortly after lunchtime now – these dark days of November and December can rough on the soul. Oddly, sunshine tends to increase in January and February, thanks to fresh surges of bitter (but dry) air originating near the Arctic Circle, enough numbing air to chase the clouds to our south and east. I tell newcomers to Minnesota the truth: our coldest days of the winter are usually our sunniest days, and somehow, having blue sky and a pleading sun overhead seems to help. Call me nuts (heard it before, thank you) but I’d much rather have a string of sunny days at 10 degrees F than a week of gray and 35. But that’s just me….

Hints of Indian Summer. The latest “meteogram” shows temperatures peaking near 60 both Saturday and Sunday, followed by a temperature tumble next week. Considering the normal high now is mid to upper 40s, even next week’s temperatures aren’t too out-of-the-ordinary for the second week of November.

November is the second cloudiest and third snowiest month of the year for most of Minnesota, so every day like Thursday is a gift from on high – every day we delay the knee-deep slush and windchill babble on the radio and TV is a victory on the Roulette Wheel of Minnesota Meteorology. The mercury peaked at 54, but Redwood Falls boasted a respectable 60, almost 13 degrees ABOVE normal, for a change – a taste of what’s to come. Today the approach of a significant warm frontal boundary will spark more mid and high-level clouds, the altostratus and cirrus canopy that dims the sun. Some call it “filtered sunshine.” Naive optimist that I am I prefer the term “partly sunny”, which (of course) means the same thing as mostly cloudy, but let’s not dwell on the negative, eh?

Snow-free through Tuesday. The latest GFS accumulated snowfall prog shows a little snowfall expected across the Rockies and portions of interior New England, but no fresh snow close to home anytime soon.
Prep Sports Forecast for Friday Football. Heading out this evening to cheer on your favorite team? Grab a jacket, but leave the rain gear at home. Skies should be partly to mostly cloudy, evening temperatures in the upper 40s to near 50 degrees, a noticeable wind whipping up from the south at 10-15. Could be worse, a lot worse.

An inch of snow fell at Duluth and Grand Rapids Wednesday, but most of that snow will be gone in time for Saturday’s Deer Hunting Opener. There may be a few lingering patches of snow (in the woods) over the Minnesota Arrowhead, but don’t count on much in the way of snow on the ground for tracking. Indian Summer is imminent: the models push the mercury to 60 both Saturday and Sunday over central Minnesota, some low to mid 60s possible south of the Minnesota River. Up north even Bemidji, Grand Rapids and the Minnesota Arrowhead will see highs in the low 50s both days – again – a good 10 degrees above average for the second week of November. Not bad. October was unusually chilly, and now we’re going to make up for that spell (rut!) of foul, rainy, cool days with an unusually nice/sunny/mild first half of November. We will cool down into the 30s and 40s for highs by the end of next week, but some of the long-range (GFS) guidance is hinting…hinting at 50 for the weekend before Thanksgiving! No significant rain (or snow) is brewing, winds aloft blowing from the west-northwest, a “modified Pacific airmass” originating from Vancouver, not the Yukon. That will keep the coldest, single-digit daytime-high airmass well north of Minnesota for the next couple of weeks. After that it’s game-on – anything can happen. For now enjoy this respite from the gray, sloppy, dark days of November. Mother Nature is showing a little remorse, after a thoroughly forgettable October. It’s give and take, and (at least for the next 10-15 days) the atmosphere will attempt to make up for past sins.

Forecast for next Monday morning at 6 am. This (GFS) map shows expected rain (and snow) falling between 6 pm Sunday and 6 am Monday morning. The atmosphere should be marginally warm enough aloft for mostly-rain, although I can’t rule out a little wet snow north/west of Brainerd by Monday morning – probably little or no accumulation.

Natural Disaster On The Rise. This graph made me stop and do a triple-take yesterday. Good grief – is this accurate, or are we simply doing a better job of finding and documenting the natural disasters that have always plagued the planet? Are more people simply living in harm’s way? That may be a factor, but something else may be going on in the background – an environment that favors big disasters, especially since the 1980s. You can’t blame every calamity on climate change, but it does make you stop and wonder. For more click over to my climate blog, “ClimateSpot”.

Paul’s Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Partly to mostly cloudy with a stiff breeze. Winds: South 10-20+ High: 56 (evening temperatures dipping into the upper 40s).

Tonight: Patchy clouds, not as cold as recent nights. Low: 42

Saturday: (nicer day of the weekend). Plenty of sun, milder than average. High: 62

Sunday: Sunny start, then increasing clouds. High: near 60

Sunday night: Cloudy with a little light rain. Low: 45

Monday: Turning windy and cooler as showers taper to sprinkles. High: 53

Tuesday: Partly sunny, less wind. High: 51

Wednesday: Intervals of sun, still dry. High: 52

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, chance of a few showers – chilly. High: 46