Posted at 9:24 AM on August 14, 2009
by Mark Seeley
As public interest peaks this weekend in the PGA Golf Championship in Chaska, MN many worry about the threat of weather disruption, especially with huge crowds expected. Considering the recent climate history of rainfall,, particularly thunderstorms, associated with August 14-15 it would not be surprising to see some rather significant storms develop.
In 1978, strong thunderstorms delivered 2.5 to 5 inch rainfall amounts across sections of western and central Minnesota. Again in 1981, this time in southern and central counties 2 to 5 inch rains were produced by intense thunderstorms, with Gaylord reporting a record 5.29 inches on the 14th. In 1993 thunderstorms were even more widespread across central and southern Minnesota releasing 2 to 5 inch amounts of rainfall and adding to the ongoing flooding that year along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. In 1997 a narrow band of intense thunderstorms moved across southern Minnesota producing over 8 inches of rainfall in Steele County over the 14th and 15th. And as recently as 2000, thunderstorms produced 2 to 4 inch amounts of rainfall across central Minnesota counties.
As a low pressure system passes over our region this weekend watch to see if the dewpoints climb into the upper 60s F or even 70 degrees F. At that level the potential for thunderstorm rainfall to be excessive really increases. In any event, both spectators and golfers at the PGA this weekend may need to be patient and resilient when it comes to dealing with Minnesota's fickle weather.
Posted at 2:46 PM on August 14, 2009
by Paul Huttner
The wind showed up at Hazeltine today.
As expected, a stiff south wind is a major factor at the PGA Championship. Winds are gusting to 25 mph as of mid-afternoon. Players are battling to keep the ball in the fairway. The gusts are even affecting putts. The greens will dry out fast on a day like today.
The hourly observations at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie near Chaska show a steady base of 16 mph with gusts to 25 mph. I expect a few gusts may approach 30 mph this afternoon.
It's also a hot wind today. Afternoon temperatures will top out in the lower 90s today. Combine that with dew points in the 60s and the fact that players and spectators are out in the sun and you've got a recipe for heat related fatigue and illness. Unfortunately I expect the medical staff at Hazeltine to do a brisk business of heat related calls today and Saturday.
The webcam at the Minnetonka Yacht Club on Lake Minnetonka shows the flags extending in the hot breeze today. At least the breeze will help make it feel somewhat cooler today.
I was amazed at the microclimates at Hazeltine during my visits this week. It was at least 20 degrees cooler in the shaded bleachers at the 16th green than anywhere in the sun. If you are in the shade and the breeze it is tolerable. But if you are standing in a crowd of hot people trying to get a glimpse of Tiger in the sun, it's downright unbearable.
At least the wind will help dry things out a bit in western Wisconsin. The rain that moved through the southeast metro last night stalled out dumping 4 to 6 inches of rain, causing a flash flood around Mondovi.
Enjoy the sun and warmer weather near the lake if you can today and Saturday. Our next chance for storms rolls in Saturday night and Sunday.