Posted at 8:20 AM on July 16, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Get ready for an arctic outbreak.
No we're not talking sub-zero air in July, but if the weather maps looked like this in January we would be. The jet stream and surface winds are blowing air directly from the Arctic Circle into Minnesota over the next 48 hours. The source region for Friday's air mass is the Arctic Ocean. When this happens in meteorology we call it "cross-polar flow." When it happens to you in July, you call the weatherman "names."
High temperatures Friday may be in the low 50s in northern Minnesota. We should make the September like 60s here in the south. The forecast high is around 67 degrees tomorrow in the metro. That's the average high for the last week in September!
The record low maximum temperature for Friday is 66 degrees set back in 1939. We have a shot at that record tomorrow. The only thing that may save us is the higher sun angle at this latitude compared to the Arctic. The increased solar energy will tend to modify the chilly air mass as it moves southward.
Take a look at some of the forecast highs for Friday.
-Twin Cities 67
-International Falls 57
These temperatures are a good 15 to 20 degrees below average. Campers could be dealing with frost in northeast Minnesota the next few mornings.
The weather will warm as we move into the weekend. Look for plenty of sun and highs getting close to 80 degrees again by Sunday in the metro.
I wouldn't go so far as to call this "the year without a summer" but signs are pointing to a cooler than average July to close the month. There are also indications that heat could return closer to August 1st. Weather patterns have a way of evening out. Keep that air conditioner tuned up. You may need it next month.
Posted at 3:40 PM on July 16, 2009
by Paul Huttner
I think it was Mark Twain that said; "It takes a flood to end a drought."
Residents around Brainerd and other parts of central Minnesota saw a flood Tuesday night and it did ease drought conditions. The rest of us would have liked to spread that rain around a little more.
Today's U.S. Drought Monitor shows the drought expanding in Minnesota. A full 73 percent of Minnesota is now listed as abnormally dry or in various stages of drought. That's up nearly 10 percent in a week and up from just 16 percent of the state 3 months ago.
Abnormally dry conditions now include the far North Shore, Ely, the BWCAW, and International Falls. Moderate drought conditions now extend from west-central Minnesota to St. Cloud, Duluth and up the North Shore to Silver Bay. The epicenter of the severe drought conditions now encompass the entire Twin Cities metro, and extend into northwest Wisconsin.
Parts of the Twin Cities are now a full 7 inches short on rainfall since April 1st. This time of year our average rainfall is about 1 inch per week in southern Minnesota. Most of the Twin Cities has not recorded any meaningful rainfall in the past 3 weeks.
There is no single good explanation for why the drought is hanging on near the Twin Cities. Surrounding areas in the Midwest have had ample rainfall this summer. It just appears to be one of those meteorological quirks that has weather systems going around us to the north or south. We like easy answers in weather. The weather maps don't always cooperate.
Another dry weekend is on the way. The next chance of rain looks to be early next week. Until then, enjoy the chilly July air, and hope for a good soaker next week.