Posted at 8:28 AM on April 27, 2010
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Remote sensing
There are some remarkable images coming in from the NASA'a MODIS satellite showing the sequence of events surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Check these out. You can see the high res images here.
There are signs that southerly winds will pick up along the Gulf Coast by Friday and into the weekend. That could bring the growing oil spill ashore along the Gulf Coast and barrier islands by this weekend. Stiff southerly breezes of between 15 and 30 mph will begin to blow ahead of a cold front Friday.
Residents along the Gulf Coast are hoping for a miracle to keep the expanding oil slick away from the shoreline. Looking at the weather forecast that's exactly what they'll need.
This week's U. S. Drought Monitor is likely to show more yellow and orange in Minnesota. For Minnesota farmers, more yellow and orange leads to less green at harvest time.
While this week's crop report shows farmers are off to the races this year, the U.S. Drought Monitor due out Thursday will likely show more of Minnesota backsliding into drought. Many locations in Minnesota are between 1 and 2 inches below average for rainfall in the past 4 weeks. Unless Minnesota gets widespread significant rainfall soon, the drought status will return for most of eastern Minnesota.
Next weather system critical:
A storm system plowing into the western USA is our next best hope for meaningful rainfall in Minnesota. Forecast models duffer on juts how much rain may fall, but there is the potential for a good soaking in some areas. If the timing is right, several Minnesota locations could see a much needed inch of rainfall. If the system fizzles, there could be many areas that see less than .25" of rain. That little rain is not enough to have a positive impact on drought stricken areas.
If this system does not produce substantial rainfall the drought may deepen rapidly. The medium range forecast maps are hinting at only average to below average rainfall over the next two weeks. As the sun angle increases evaporation will do the same in the coming weeks.
A few bumpy storms?
As the cold front approaches late Thursday into Friday morning, there could be enough moisture and atmospheric lift to trigger a few strong to potentially severe thunderstorms. The timing of the front appears to bring storms into the area at night, which could limit severe potential. Still the system will have to be watched closely for strong storms. Hopefully we will just get some good old fashioned thunder with heavy downpours.
Many Minnesotans will be watching the skies for rain in the next 72 hours.