We all know spring can be short in Minnesota. But even this seems a bit ridiculous.
"Instant summer" kicks in today, as a powerful warm front pushes north from Iowa.
South of the front, temperatures hit 100 Monday in Nebraska and Kansas. It was 90 degrees as close as northwest Iowa with several records smashed.
The warm front will take up a position just south of the metro later today. Temperatures should surge into the 90s in southern Minnesota this afternoon, with the metro making a run at 90. Where we end up will depend on two things... just how much cloud cover we get today and how far north the front can push. If we get enough sun and the front eases north into the metro, we could hit 90 at MSP Airport late today.
Dew points on the rise:
You'll notice the heat later today, and the increasing moisture in the atmosphere. Dew points will climb into the 60s today. That's when most Minnesotans start to notice that it feels humid outside.
That moisture is also available as fuel for thunderstorms if they do develop.
I've been showing you the SPC risk areas that include Minnesota today.
Here's the technical discussion from SPC. I've highlighted the area I think is most important today.
SURFACE LOW OVER ERN SD IS FORECAST TO DEVELOP NWD OR NWWD TODAY IN CONJUNCTION WITH STRONG VORTICITY MAXIMUM LIFTING NNEWD THROUGH THE WRN DAKOTAS. AS THIS OCCURS...ASSOCIATED WARM FRONT WILL
CONCURRENTLY LIFT NWD...EXTENDING FROM THE RED RIVER VALLEY TO SRN
WI BY LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING. BOUNDARY LAYER DEWPOINTS IN THE
60S AND STEEP MIDLEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL CONTRIBUTE TO A STRONGLY
UNSTABLE AIR MASS S OF WARM FRONT TODAY WHERE MLCAPE VALUES WILL
INCREASE TO 2500-3500+ J/KG.
LATEST MODEL GUIDANCE REMAINS CONSISTENT IN SUGGESTING THAT THE STRONG HEIGHT FALLS/FORCING FOR ASCENT ATTENDANT TO ABOVE-MENTIONED VORTICITY WILL REMAIN TO THE W OF THE REGION THROUGH THIS
EVENING...LEAVING SURFACE-BASED STORM INITIATION IN QUESTION DUE TO
THE STRENGTH OF THE CAP. THE MOST PROBABLE AREA OF STORM
DEVELOPMENT WILL BE NRN OR CNTRL MN LATE THIS AFTERNOON INTO EVENING
INVOF SURFACE FRONTAL OCCLUSION.
SHOULD STORMS DEVELOP...THE COMBINATION OF THE STRONG INSTABILITY
AND VERTICALLY VEERING WIND PROFILES WILL SUPPORT SUPERCELL
DEVELOPMENT WITH A RISK FOR VERY LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS AND A
FEW TORNADOES. SUBSEQUENT UPSCALE GROWTH TO A SEWD-MOVING MCS WOULD BE POSSIBLE TONIGHT WITH A CONTINUED THREAT FOR HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS INTO PARTS OF WI.
But will they blow?
Diagnosing severe weather is a little like completing a puzzle. You may have most of the pieces in place, but if just one key piece is missing, you can't complete the picture.
Our atmosphere has plenty of what we call "conditional instability" today over Minnesota. But we may not have a "trigger" to get storms firing. And the atmosphere reamins "capped" over much of southern Minnesota.
What is "capping?"
We all know warm air rises. In the atmosphere warm air will rise until it encounters a warmer or more "stable" layer above. In meteorology we call this a "cap" because it puts a lid on thunderstorm development.
You can have all the wind shear and unstable air in the lower layers, but until you can "bust the cap" no storms will develop.
If you look at today's upper air "sounding" you can see the little bumps in the temperatures below. There are two "caps" today between about 5,000 and 9,000 feet above ground level. This may be enough to prevent storms from forming later today in southern Minnesota.
Right now it looks like the best chance of breaking the cap could come after dark or overnight tonight if at all.
Storms rumble up north:
Meanwhile big storms are rumbling through more unstable air in northern Minnesota. Storms near Bemidji have been "hailers" today, with several reports of large hail.
DLH: 10 E Fort Ripley [Crow Wing Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of quarter size (M1.00 INCH) at 05:29 AM CDT --
Expect storms to continue to fire in northern Minnesota today, and a few may be severe.
Memphis floods approach record levels:
The mighty Mississippi reaching levels not seen since 1937 in Memphis. Records may fall as the river stays near crest for the next few days.
Posted at 6:02 PM on May 10, 2011
by Paul Huttner
SPC has pulled the trigger and issued a tornado watch until midnight for much of east central Minnesota.
The tornado watch includes Brainerd and the Brainerd Lakes area, St. Cloud, Mora, Hinckley, and the far north metro including Forest Lake.
This is the first tornado watch of 2011 that includes parts of Minnesota.
It looks like the best window for severe storms will be between 7pm to midnight in the metro and mush of eastern Minnesota. Storms will approach from the southwest and should move northeast at around 25 mph.
Here are some resources to track the storms tonight.
Keep an eye on the western sky tonight!
We just dodged a big tornado bullet in the Twin Cities metro Tuesday evening, but other areas are not so lucky.
The season's first big severe weather outbreak produced our first tornadoes of the year in Minnesota and hail as large as tennis balls. It may not have been a "super outbreak" but it was enough to produce the first tornado watches, warnings and touchdowns of the year in Minnesota.
Initial reports indicate that the first tornado of the year touched down in St. Michael at around 7:58pm Tuesday evening. Trained spotters reported debris and roof damage is reported to at least one home.
Radars lit up with "discrete tornadic supercells" Tuesday evening.
Tornadic supercells swilrling north of the metro late Tuesday evening. Note the hook shaped storm near Milaca, and the purple triangle indicating a "tornado vortex signature."
Hail as large as tennis balls pounded St. Louis Park near Louisiana and I-394. Numerous reports of golf ball and egg sized hail pelted the metro from Chanhassen through Eden Prairie and Edina right into downtown Minneapolis. Hail of this size can blow out windshields and dent cars. We will no doubt have roof and auto damage reports from hail in the metro from Tuesday night's storms.
The storms that moved through Minneapolis & Target Field were hailers and showed strong rotation. Rotating wall clouds and funnel clouds were sighted. Had the storms been just slightly better organized, there would have been tornado touchdowns in Minneapolis sand the heart of the Twin Cities Tuesday night.
We got very, very lucky.
Here are some select severe storm reports from the wild weather night Tuesday evening. A more complete list from the Twin Cities NWS here.
MPX: Milaca [Mille Lacs Co, MN] law enforcement reports FLASH FLOOD at 09:15 PM CDT -- standing water on roads causing vehicles to hydro plane.
MPX: 2 E Pease [Mille Lacs Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of egg size (M2.00 INCH) at 09:15 PM CDT --
MPX: 1 W St Michael [Wright Co, MN] amateur radio reports TORNADO at 07:58 PM CDT -- time estimated. roof of a home damaged on 42nd st ne.
MPX: St Louis Park [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of tennis ball size (M2.50 INCH) at 08:30 PM CDT --
MPX: 1 Ene Eden Prairie [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 08:03 PM CDT --
MPX: St Francis [Anoka Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 09:00 PM CDT --
MPX: 5 Wsw Minneapolis [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 08:28 PM CDT --
MPX: Milaca [Mille Lacs Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of nickel size (M0.88 INCH) at 08:58 PM CDT --
MPX: 1 Nw Minneapolis [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of egg size (M2.00 INCH) at 08:39 PM CDT --
MPX: Minneapolis [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 08:50 PM CDT -- target field
MPX: Golden Valley [Hennepin Co, MN] public reports HAIL of tennis ball size (M2.50 INCH) at 08:28 PM CDT -- at intersection of 394 and louisiana ave.
MPX: Hopkins [Hennepin Co, MN] amateur radio reports FUNNEL CLOUD at 08:30 PM CDT -- highway 169 and excelsior looking north moving northeast
MPX: 1 Ssw Eden Prairie [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of half dollar size (E1.25 INCH) at 08:05 PM CDT --
MPX: Minneapolis [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 08:29 PM CDT -- reported at corner of franklin and lyndale.
MPX: Eden Prairie [Hennepin Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of quarter size (M1.00 INCH) at 08:13 PM CDT --
MPX expires Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott [MN]
MPX: Elk River [Sherburne Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 08:24 PM CDT --
A Break Wednesday?
The first low pressure wave and front moved through Tuesday evening. A second wave may move north late Wednesday night into Thursday, but there are some signs we could catch a break in between.
Here's the SPC convective outlook for Wednesday.
Stay tuned as we fine tune the forecast early Wednesday.