Posted at 8:30 AM on July 9, 2009
by Paul Huttner
There's an old saying in the weather business. "Don't forecast rain in a drought." My colleague Craig Edwards and I talk about that a lot these days.
That wisdom appears to be sound again this morning. A line of showers and thunderstorms is splitting into two parts as it approaches the Twin Cities. One piece of energy is moving north, and another south.
The forecast models hinted at this trend yesterday. Two separate low pressure systems are tracking though the area today. One will move into northern Minnesota, the other is sliding southward into Iowa. The best moisture today is also in southern Minnesota and into Iowa. The result is only spotty shower for the rain parched metro so far today. There is still a chance rain could redevelop this afternoon.
The Twin Cities NWS still has yet to issue any severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings for the Twin Cities metro area this year. That's a record, and marks the latest into any year we have gone without warning in the metro.
The new U.S. Drought Monitor this morning expands the drought area north and west through Minnesota. We are now getting reports that it's very dry near Duluth and in other parts of the North Shore.
There's an old saying in Arizona where I spent 9 years as a weather forecaster. "You're as welcome as rain." That's a compliment in a desert. That saying may be true in much of Minnesota these days.
Posted at 4:22 PM on July 9, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Weekly Pacific sea surface temperature animation shows warm water expanding in the tropical Pacific.
El Nino is back.
That's the word in an update today from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. Ocean temperatures have increased to as high as 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit above average in a narrow band in the tropical Pacific. That doesn't sound like much to you and me, but it's a big deal in the world of El Nino. If ocean temperatures remain that far above average, it would be one of the stronger El Nino episodes on record.
The effects of El Nino tend to be weak here in the Midwest in summer. It's a different story in winter. El Nino winters show a strong statistical tendency to be milder than average here in the Upper Midwest. The blooming El Nino may also limit Atlantic hurricane activity this summer and fall. Still, it only takes one strong hurricane landfall in the U.S. to make for a really bad day.
El Nino winters also tend to be wetter than average in southern California, the Desert Southwest and along the Gulf Coast states.
For those of you hoping for a milder winter next year, your chances just went up.