Thursday dawns with a welcome sight in Minnesota. The sun.
It's been a long soggy stretch since Friday in Minnesota. Several areas including the metro have waterlogged 3" to 4"+ rainfall totals in the past 5 days.
Thursday's sunshine will be welcome tonic.
We've seen a dramatic shift in weather patterns over Minnesota the past 4 months.
We've quite literally gone from extreme drought to floods, tragic rockslides, and saturated soils so wet farmers can't get crops started.
In this Updraft we celebrate the sun to come, take a squeamish look at a potentially wet Memorial Day Weekend forecast... and look at an overall weather pattern that still screams wet in the next few weeks.
Good News First: Sun returns Thursday into Friday
Always give compliments first, somebody once said. It prepares the audience for what may come next.
Thursday and most of Friday will feature glorious sunshine.
The Weather Tap 1km resolution visible satellite loop shows why northwest Minnesota basked in sun and 70 degree temps Wednesday, most of Minnesota slogged out one more day under cream of mushroom soupy skies leaking a cold rain and drizzle.
We enjoy about 48 hours to dry out with ample sun through Friday afternoon.
The next wave of rain moves in...um....Friday night and as we head into the Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day Weekend: Partly wet with a chance of sun?
I know... just in time for the weekend.
I'm still holding out hope for a change for the better...and sunnier this weekend but right now it looks like we'll have to endure our share of wet.
The first wave of rain moves in Friday night.
Go North Young Man:
Hopefully the warm front that will trigger clouds and rain will set up a little further south...and that means weather will improve this weekend for those travelling north. Little or no rain...and more sun may be the rule north of a Fargo-Brainerd -Duluth line this weekend.
Here's NOAA's 5-day precip forecast.
The good news? I expect significant improvement in Minnesota's drought when the US Drought Monitor comes out Thursday morning.
The drought is over folks.
Not exactly a technical, AMS approved weather term. But if the shoe fits?
Our last really "yucky" weather day this week features occasional rain, drizzle and a raw north wind under a ragged grey sky.
Fast forward 24 hours to a bright blue sky with a strange bright object overhead. Thursday & Friday should put a spring back into your step.
The Memorial Day weekend forecast? Pretty typical for late May in Minnesota. Details below.
In this Updraft we look at the latest of 3 EF-4 to EF-5 monsters in to terrorize Moore, Oklahoma in the past 14 years. Are there any trends to link this event to climate change?
Moore, Oklahoma: Ground Zero in Tornado Alley
Incredible timelapse of Moore, OK tornado captured by an Oklahoma City news helicopter Monday
If there is an "Epicenter" in Tornado Alley, it has to be Moore, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma City suburb has seen 3 direct hits from EF-4 to EF-5 tornadoes in the past 14 years.
Jeff Masters has noted that the latest Moore tornado likely to be one of the five most damaging tornadoes in history.
Moore has the unenviable distinction of having previously experienced the 4th costliest tornado in world history, the notorious May 3, 1999 Bridgecreek-Moore EF-5 tornado. There have been only six billion-dollar (2011 dollars) tornadoes in history:
1) Joplin, Missouri, May 22, 2011, $2.8 billion
2) Topeka, Kansas, June 8, 1966, $1.7 billion
3) Lubbock, Texas, May 11, 19780, $1.5 billion
4) Bridge Creek-Moore, Oklahoma, May 3, 1999, $1.4 billion
5) Xenia, Ohio, April 3, 1974, $1.1 billion
6) Omaha, Nebraska, May 6, 1975, $1 billion
But is climate change a factor in producing more of these these monster EF-5 tornadoes?
-Oklahoma City has suffered the most direct tornado hits of any US city...at least 100 since 1890.
-Overall tornado stats show no real "frequency trends" to suggest a clear connection between violent tornadoes and climate change.
-EF4 & EF5 tornadoes compose less than 1% of all tornadoes...but produce 70% of tornado fatalities.
-Warming trends in the US may produce more T-Storms overall, but also may create less wind shear that is necessary for tornado formation.
-There is some evidence tornado alley may be expanding northward. Annual average tornado numbers in Minnesota have nearly doubled since the 1950s.
-My analysis of SPC data for the past few decades shows the number of tornadoes in Minnesota has actually trended closer to Oklahoma. The chart below shows tornado numbers by decade since the 1950s. Oklahoma is the top line, Minnesota below.
Bottom line: There appears to be no discernible link between climate change and the increase in frequency of violent tornadoes in the US. There may be some evidence "Tornado Alley" is expanding northward.
Sun on the way:
Let's start with the good weather news. The sun will return to Minnesota tomorrow.
This morning's high res Weather Tap visible satellite loop shows the clouds swirling over most of Minnesota, with sunshine in the far northwest.
The latest NAM model run tracks the trend as our most recent deluge producing low pressure system finally pulls out tonight and a welcome wedge of high pressure slides in Thursday.
How To End A Drought:
4.41" May rainfall so far at MSP Airport
11.67" precipitation (rain & snow) at MSP since March 1st
Somebody turned on the faucet this spring in Minnesota. It's still running.
Our soggy April & May has turned farmers fields in southeast Minnesota from powder last fall to swamps this spring.
Check out the 30 day precip totals from NOAA's AHPS.
That's more than 10" of precip in the past 30 days in SE Minnesota. Several areas have waterlogged more than 5" of liquid that's soaking into and standing on fields.
Not exactly the best way to get a crop going...unless you're planting rice and it's about 30 degrees warmer.
I am growing increasingly concerned about farmers in southeast Minnesota and the shrinking window for getting crops to germinate and start growing this season.
Looking ahead the next 7 days appear to favor continued wetness in southern Minnesota, with a greater trend for sunny dry weather up north.
Memorial Day weekend at the cabin anyone?
Another holiday weekend in Minnesota is almost here. That means a good chance for rain right?
I can recall several years when I've gone to the BWCA with "the boys" on Memorial Day Weekend and we had sunny and pleasant weather...while the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota soaked up buckets of rain.
It's "climatologically typical" for low pressure to favor southern Minnesota Memorial Day weekend it seems.
This year looks to follow suit. The chances for more hours of sun and fewer hours of rain will increase as you head further north this weekend.
By Craig Edwards
Heading up north this weekend? Temperatures will not be all that warm and bouts of showers could dampen outdoor activities.
A good soaking has occurred in the last week. This image estimates the rainfall from May 17 through mid-afternoon today. The Duluth Airport measured more than eight-tenths of an inch of rain today.
Travel weather on Friday afternoon shows north bound vehicles aided by south breezes with temperatures in the 60s.
Temperatures across the country will be quite typical for the season on Saturday. Cool weather rims the Great Lakes and New England.
Beginning Friday evening, your rain chances are about 30 to 40 percent for each 12-hour period through Memorial Day. Details to be sorted out on Thursday. It does not look like beach weather in Minnesota.
Craig Edwards(0 Comments)
We preach, during a tornado, if you can't seek below ground shelter, put as many walls between you and the elements as you can. Often times that location is an interior closet or bathroom.
Automobiles should be abandoned for sturdy shelter. However, some research supports your safety could be OK if the tornado is rather weak and it would be better than trying to seek cover in a ditch or depression.
Obviously, in the image below, from the May 1999 Oklahoma City/Moore tornado, this vehicle was not a good place to ride out the storm.
After a detailed review by a team of meteorological experts, we'll know more about yesterday's devastating tornado intensity compared to the May 3,1999 tornado.
When I speak about having NOAA Weather Radio at hand, I'm talking about a specific receiver that looks like this. It delivers 24 hour a day weather and alerts for warnings in your location. Multiple radios are recommended for businesses and schools.
Change your battery regularly. Test alerts are sent weekly by the NWS around 1 p.m. CDT on Wednesdays.
The visible satellite image from mid-afternoon nicely depicted the blossoming thunderstorms in northeast Texas. Severe storms are likely this afternoon into tonight.
Here's the Storm Prediction Center's update for the severe weather threat for the remainder of the afternoon and into the overnight hours.
I was selected to be a member of the NOAA tornado assessment team for the Oklahoma City tornado in May 1999. Several meteorologists were immersed in the evaluation of the forecast, the warnings and the response. I use some of the lessons learned in my presentations. Chief among them: PAY ATTENTION when warnings are issued!
Two main teachable moments from Moore in 1999:
-Have a plan for the extraordinary event - timing is not always convenient.
-Share the word that severe weather is approaching.
NOAA Weather Radio has been around for 40 years,yet few take advantage of the 24 hour a day warning service. The latest trend is for a warning app on a cell phone. But many homes, businesses and schools should have a NOAA Weather Radio in place.
Information on NOAA weather radio can be found here.
With regard to yesterday's devastating tornado in Moore: Weather officials estimated the strength of the storm to be an F4 or F5 on the Fujita Scale--the highest rating a tornado can achieve. The National Weather Service said it packed winds of up to 200 mph.
The NWS in Norman, Okla., said the tornado was on the ground for approximately 40 minutes, and a tornado warning was in effect for 16 minutes before the twister developed.
More rain for portions of Minnesota is on tap for the next 24 hours. Heavy rains have fallen, particularly in southeast Minnesota the past week.
A frontal boundary is likely to extend west to east through central Minnesota this afternoon. The contrast in air masses should be the focus for storm development today.
Forecast maximum temperatures today from the NWS.
The NAM predicts this band of showers through central Minnesota this afternoon.
Severe storms are not expected in our neck of the woods today, but the Storm Prediction Center is focused on large hail and destructive winds in east Texas and into Arkansas in the next 24 hours.
The weather pattern dries out in the upper Midwest for Thursday and Friday. We'll take a look at the upcoming holiday weekend weather in the afternoon blog.
Craig Edwards(5 Comments)
Major Tornado Outbreak In Moore, Oklahoma
A major tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma near Oklahoma City this afternoon.
There is major damage, with schools and many buildings devastated.
Here's the WxUnderground "WxUndermap" image from 3:17pm showing the classic "hook echo" and "debris ball" just west of Moore as the tornado approached.
Here's a closer look. You can see the "debris ball" directly over Moore, OK at 3:32pm CDT.
Debris balls occur when the tornado lifts debris high enough into the air to be detected by the radar beam.
Heres' the radar loop just as the "Tornado Vortex Signature" (TVS - purple triangle) moves away from Moore to the east.
Preliminary estimates put the tornado's path length at 20 miles with an incredible path width from 1 mile... to possibly over 2 miles.
Here's the preliminary path from the Norman, OK NWS.
Looking at the damage, with concrete foundations wiped clean on some buildings this is likely going to be and EF4 to EF5 tornado with winds over 200 mph.
-Here the latest OKC radar loop.
Reports indicate there was an estimated 16 minutes lead time between Tornado Warning and 1st tornado touchdown near Newcastle, and about 30 minutes before twister hit the town of Moore.
It will take some time, NWS damage surveys and analysis to put this tornado in proper perspective. One thing is clear now, this is a major historical and meteorologically significant event.
Paul Huttner(0 Comments)
Spring has turned tropical in Minnesota. Our parade of storms hasn't stopped...it just warmed up.
At least we don't have to shovel it.
50 tornado reports over the weekend in the Central Plains? Nearly 3" rainfall totals over central Minnesota and the metro?
I'd call that a "productive" system. Do the Twins lead the Majors in rain delays this year?
Our rain & thunder threat lingers today and tomorrow. With an active warm front draped over Minnesota we could see a few more severe storms again this afternoon & evening.
Keep the weather radio handy again later today.
Eventful Severe Weekend
The thundery weekend onslaught triggered several significant events in Minnesota.
-Minnesota's 1st tornado of 2013 touched down Friday at 5:45pm near Wilder in Jackson County in southwest Minnesota. No damage was reported.
-The 1st tornado warning of 2013 for metro area counties (Pierce & St. Croix) was issued Sunday PM
-Two raucous "sunrise surprise" T-Storms outbreak pounded the Twin Cities Saturday & Sunday AM
-The 1st Tornado Watch of 2013 for the metro was issued Sunday
-Several reports of wind gusts between 60 & 70 mph raked the southeast metro Sunday PM
-The Twin Cities piled up 2.88" of rainfall at MSP Airport since Friday.
-May rainfall now stands at 3.74" (that's +1.68 vs. average)
Can the mosquitoes be far behind?
Here's a map from the Twin Cities NWS with Sunday's severe weather reports.
And the national map from SPC.
How To Dismantle A Drought:
The productive rains have piled up in Minnesota. A good chunk of the Dakotas and Minnesota bagged some 2"-3" rainfall totals last weekend.
Our frequent tropical deluge is courtesy of another stalled weather pattern. As the "vertically stacked" upper level and surface spin in the eastern Dakotas, waves of showers & T-Storms break out in MInnesota. Like cards in a 10 year olds bicycle wheel, each time an upper air disturbance blows by we get a wave of rain & thunder.
Monday's Weather Tap IR loop shows the low spinning away in the eastern Dakotas.
Expect the next wave of rain & thunder this afternoon and evening, especially from the Twin Cities north through the northern half of Minnesota.
Severe Risk Lingers:
The atmosphere will get irritable again this afternoon, and should be unstable enough to produce a few severe T-Storms later this afternoon and evening... mainly from the Twin Cities east.
Here's today's severe risk from SPC.
...UPPER MS VALLEY AND WESTERN GREAT LAKES...
EARLY VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS ONLY BROKEN CLOUD COVER OVER PARTS OF IA/WI EASTWARD INTO MI/OH. RELATIVELY STRONG DAYTIME HEATING AND LITTLE CAP SHOULD RESULT IN SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS TODAY AND TONIGHT TO THE EAST OF A SURFACE LOW OVER MN. MLCAPE VALUES OF 1500-2000 J/KG WILL PROMOTE VIGOROUS UPDRAFTS IN THIS REGION...WHILE SUFFICIENTLY STRONG VERTICAL SHEAR HELPS TO ORGANIZE THE CONVECTION. PRESENT INDICATIONS ARE THAT MULTIPLE LINES/CLUSTERS OF THUNDERSTORMS WILL AFFECT THIS REGION...WITH A FEW SUPERCELLS POSSIBLE. HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS ARE THE MAIN THREATS...BUT ISOLATED TORNADOES CANNOT BE RULED OUT.
Our stubborn low will finally move out Wednesday.
The sunniest brightest days of the week? Thursday & Friday. Naturally.
The early look at Memorial Day Weekend calls for a mix of sun & clouds with a chance of scattered showers & T-Storms and high in the 70s.
Paul Huttner(1 Comments)
NOAA has cancelled the tornado watch for the Twin Cities.
A Flash Flood Watch is in effect into Monday morning.
Get the latest warnings and storm reports here.(1 Comments)
Here we go.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued a Tornado Watch until 9pm tonight for most of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities metro area.
URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED
TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 180
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
110 PM CDT SUN MAY 19 2013
THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A
* TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF
CENTRAL AND EASTERN IOWA
SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA
* EFFECTIVE THIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 110 PM UNTIL
900 PM CDT.
* PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE...A FEW TORNADOES POSSIBLE SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS TO 65 MPH POSSIBLE A FEW LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE
THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 105 STATUTE MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 70 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF REDWOOD FALLS MINNESOTA TO 25 MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF WATERLOO IOWA.
REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.
-Latest Twin Cities radar loop
-Latest Warnings from Twin Cities NWS
Storms will develop this afternoon in an increasingly unstable air mass and move north.
Stay tuned and expect severe weather warnings this afternoon and evening.
Paul Huttner(0 Comments)
First Tornado of 2013 skips through southwest Minnesota Friday evening:
A lone supercell thunderstorm produced the season's 1st confirmed tornado sightings in Minnesota Friday evening. Here are the reports from the Sioux Falls NWS.
FSD issues Tornado Warning for Cottonwood, Jackson [MN] till 6:15 PM CDT * AT 545 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WILDER AND MOVING SOUTH AT 10 MPH.
FSD: 3 N Lakefield [Jackson Co, MN] law enforcement reports TORNADO at 06:10 PM CDT -- relayed by jackson county emergency management
Splash & Dash
This weekend features a little something for everyone in Minnesota.
Soaking rain for your lawn & garden? Check.
Sunny, "beach-worthy" hours with highs in the 80s? Roger that.
A little humidity with dew points in the 60s? Copy that.
A Sunday PM severe threat just to keep the weatherman on his toes? Yup.
Big, recently angry Lake Mille Lacs will finally go completely ice free this weekend after stubbornly clinging to the last chunks of ice this week.
You can't please all of the people all of the time, but here's a look at why this weekend's weather may offer a little something for everyone.
Weekend Weather Grab Bag: Pick your spots
Timing is everything.
You'll have opportunities to get just about anything done this weekend outside...but you'll have to pick your spots.
After a possible early morning round of showers and T-Storms, Saturday looks like the "drier" day of the weekend...but with that pesky low swirling in the eastern Dakotas we can't rule out an isolated shower or T-Storm at any point this weekend.
Still...I can see many dry hours Saturday, and high should reach the lower 80s. It will feel like summer again in most of Minnesota Saturday afternoon.
Saturday's severe threat is focused in western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas. The best chance for a T-Storm with damaging winds and hail? Sioux Falls to Canby and Ortonville.
Here's Saturday's risk area from SPC.
By Sunday the severe risk spreads east as upper level energy moves in over southern Minnesota. That means severe storms may roam southern Minnesota Sunday afternoon and evening...including the Twin Cities.
Here's the verbiage in Sunday's "convective outlook" from SPC.
...NRN PLAINS/UPPER MS VALLEY/MID-MO VALLEY...
AN UPPER-LEVEL LOW IS FORECAST TO DEVELOP ACROSS THE NRN PLAINS ON SUNDAY AS SOUTH TO SOUTHWEST FLOW REMAINS IN PLACE ACROSS THE MID-MO VALLEY AND UPPER MS VALLEY. AT THE SFC...A LOW IS FORECAST TO MOVE SLOWLY ACROSS THE NRN PLAINS WITH A TROUGH EXTENDING SWD INTO THE MID-MO VALLEY. THE SFC TROUGH SHOULD BE THE FOCUS FOR CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT SUNDAY AFTERNOON. THE MODELS SUGGEST SEVERAL THUNDERSTORM CLUSTERS OR AN MCS WILL DEVELOP AND MOVE NEWD ACROSS THE REGION. A MODERATELY UNSTABLE AIRMASS IS FORECAST ALONG WITH STRONG DEEP LAYER SHEAR PROFILES SUGGESTING THAT WIDESPREAD SEVERE THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT WILL BE POSSIBLE SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
Bottom Line? Keep an eye out Sunday afternoon/evening for the possibility of watches and warnings and severe storms.
"Enhanced language" in new Impact Based Warnings:
Friday we got our 1st preview of some eye catching language in NWS new "Impact Based Warnings" that debut in Minnesota this year.
This storm near Windom produced the 1st tornado report of the year in Minnesota Friday evening.
Here's the warning for the 1st tornado of 2013 in Minnesota Friday evening.
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SIOUX FALLS SD
547 PM CDT FRI MAY 17 2013
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SIOUX FALLS HAS ISSUED A
* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTH CENTRAL COTTONWOOD COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA...
NORTH CENTRAL JACKSON COUNTY IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA...
* UNTIL 615 PM CDT
* AT 545 PM CDT...A CONFIRMED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR WILDER
AND MOVING SOUTH AT 10 MPH.
HAZARD...DAMAGING TORNADO AND TENNIS BALL SIZE HAIL.
SOURCE...WEATHER SPOTTERS CONFIRMED TORNADO.
IMPACT...MOBILE HOMES WILL BE HEAVILY DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE TO ROOFS...WINDOWS AND VEHICLES WILL OCCUR. FLYING DEBRIS WILL BE DEADLY TO PEOPLE AND ANIMALS. EXTENSIVE TREE DAMAGE IS LIKELY.
* THE TORNADO WILL AFFECT MAINLY RURAL AREAS OF NORTH CENTRAL JACKSON AND SOUTH CENTRAL COTTONWOOD COUNTIES.
Get used to the more "graphic" language as part of an effort to get us all to take appropriate action...and warnings more seriously when they are issued.
The slow moving weather systems does have it's benefits.
We still need a good soaking in many areas to douse the drought. Take a look at NOAA's rainfall forecast for the next 5-7 days.
Good news for farmers and anyone else who depends on water for life. Oh wait...that's all of us.
Mille Lacs: Latest ice out on record
Lake Mille Lacs has been one big, stubborn, angry lake lately.
You can still see chunks of ice floating on the east side of the big lake Friday from the Hunter's Point resort webcam.
Last weekend's "ice attack" was one thing. This week Mille Lacs decided to deliver another unprecedented event.
According to the MN DNR, this is the latest ice out on record for Mille Lacs, besting the previous record of May 15th, 1950.
Most other lakes in central and northern Minnesota have been totally ice free for days including Leech, Red and even Fall lake near Ely.
Get the latest ice out dates here.
And then there's... Prom Night 2013:
Please forgive the brief digression, but I just can't resist.
Friday evening is Prom Night for Minnetonka High School, and many other young people in Minnesota.
Our son Luke is a senior at MHS and will graduate in 3 weeks. He's headed for the University of Kansas later this summer where's he's been accepted into the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications to study advertising.
Here's what it's like to be almost 18 and headed for prom night. Ahh...to be 18 again, if only for a night!
And no that's not his cherry red Audi...a loaner from some very generous friends.
Travel well young man!