It's starting to feel a lot like September, or even October out there.
Many Minnesotans are asking, "Where did summer go?" The answer...it went to Oklahoma.
A family of Canadian cold fronts is forcing colder air down our throats in Minnesota these days. Temperatures are running anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees below average, and that trend will continue through the weekend.
Temperatures in the 30s and 40s are pooling north of the border, and Minnesota will be tapping that cooler air for the next few days.
Rogers tornado 4 years ago today:
You may recall the unusual and tragic Rogers tornado occurred 4 years ago today. The tornado was unusual in several aspects including that it struck at nearly 10pm at night. It also was considered a late season tornado in Minnesota. A 10 year old girl was killed by the twister when the home she was in collapsed on top of her.
I was in Rogers shortly after 10pm the night the tornado struck reporting for WCCO-TV. As I arrived at the Rogers exit on I-94 it was clear something was very, very wrong. The usually bright freeway frontage road was completely dark. The brightly lit car dealerships were black. As I pulled into town, huge high tension power lines lay perilously across the parking lot at the Rogers High School.
It was tough to see in the blackness, but it was clear that a major damaging wind event had struck.
The local NWS office caught a lot of flack for the lack of a tornado warning in Rogers. To be fair, the radar images from that night were very unusual for tornadoes. There was no classic hook echo as the storm approached from the west, and it would have been difficult to near impossible to provide an early warning for that unusually rapid tornadic storm.
Ending on a brighter note, look for increasing sunshine as we head through the day in Minnesota.
Minnesota is often rated #1 by so many measures. Here's a stat we probably would just as soon let go to some other state.
Minnesota retains the lead in preliminary tornado reports so far in 2010. Despite tornado warnings, there were no reports of any tornadoes in Minnesota Wednesday. The preliminary tornado tally for Minnesota in 2010 remains at 145.
Severe weather in Texas and Kansas this week has boosted tornado totals there. Here are the latest (still preliminary) SPC numbers.
North Dakota 68
That means 4 of the top 8 tornado producing states this year are "polka states" in the Upper Midwest.
Signs of a trend?
As you can see Minnesota's tornado numbers are roughly DOUBLE Oklahoma's this year. Is this just a fluke, or a trend?
It is interesting to compare tornado numbers from each decade going back to the 1950s for Minnesota and Oklahoma.
1950s 579 98 +481
1960s 615 223 +392
1970s 476 193 +283
1980s 522 229 +293
1990s 723 362 +361
2000s 529 463 +66
2010 73 145 -72 (this year only)
As you can see Minnesota closed the "tornado gap" significantly in the past decade when compared with Oklahoma in the heart of tornado alley.
New York City tornado?
Tornado warnings are flying for parts of New York City this afternoon.
Doppler is indicating rotating thunderstorms within a squall line of severe storms rolling through the NYC area. It is a common myth that tornadoes cannot occur in urban areas. Let's hope NYC escapes without any significant damage or tornado touchdowns.