Posted at 4:41 PM on September 19, 2011
by Paul Huttner
-High Wind Watch flying for Red River valley
-Sustained tropical storm force winds (40 mph)
-Gusts to 55 mph possible in Red River Valley
-Metro gusts to 40 mph
-Scattered rain & T-Storms
URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND FORKS ND
312 PM CDT MON SEP 19 2011
...HIGH WINDS TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT...
.WINDS WILL INCREASE TUESDAY MORNING AND MAY GUST OVER 55 MPH BY TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING ACROSS EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA INTO THE RED RIVER VALLEY REGION OF MINNESOTA. THE STRONGEST WINDS WILL LIKELY OCCUR IN THE DEVILS LAKE BASIN...AND THIS MAY CAUSE WAVES FROM 4 TO 7 FEET AND THE POTENTIAL FOR ROAD BED EROSION.
Old fashioned "Wind Storm"
My dad used to call them "wind storms." we'd stand on the front porch together and watch the winds howl for hours at a time.
I didn't know at the time that what he meant was powerful mid-latitude cyclones that are common in spring and fall. The potent, wound up low pressure systems spin into the Upper Midwest like a Tasmanian Devil... whipping up winds, sending leaves sailing through the air and dancing in the streets this time of year.
Tuesday's wind storm will also feature a strong cold front that will trigger showers and a few T-Storms. The threat for widespread severe weather is unlikely, but a few of the storms may contain small hail to go along with the gusty winds.
More rain north:
The center of the low pressure will spin through northern Minnesota Tuesday. This means the highest winds, and best atmospheric "lift" will be up north.
A general area of "stratiform rain" may form up north. This should mean steadier, widespread rain north of a Fargo to Duluth line. Several hours of steadier rain could produce much needed rainfall totals of between .50" and 1" up north, including Ely and the Pagami Creek Fire area.
Rainfall will be spotty in southern Minnesota and may form north-south bands along the cold front. Rainfall totals look to be generally less than .50" in the south Tuesday & Wednesday.
Weather improves late week
High pressure will build back into Minnesota Thursday. Look for sunny skies, lighter winds and a gradual warming trend as we head into the weekend.
Highs may hold in the upper 50s Thursday, but sun and slightly warmer air will slowly creep into Minnesota this weekend.
It appears the warm up will be gradual as a cool pocket of air stalls over the Great Lakes. Highs should gradually warm into the upper 60s, to maybe 70 west of the metro... but I don't see an 80 degree temp in sight for the weekend just yet.
Not Indian Summer:
You may hear terms like "Indian Summer" tossed about this week, but it's not accurate or credible to call our weather pattern Indian Summer yet for two reasons.
Here's the AMS definition of Indian Summer:
Indian summer--A period, in mid- or late autumn, of abnormally warm weather, generally clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights.
1) Our weather pattern this weekend will feature temps in the upper 60s to near 70 at best. This is right on the average high of 68 for this weekend. This does not qualify as "abnormally warm weather."
2) The Autumnal Equinox occurs Friday at 4:05 am CDT. This weekend is early autumn at best...not mid to late autumn as required by the AMS definition? (I know...what a buzz kill right?)
Either way it's going to be a great weekend, just fairly typical for late September and not Indian Summer. Call it classic early fall weather, stunningly beautiful, bonus September weather... but just don't call it Indian Summer. I mean, terms have to mean something right?
Hopefully we'll look forward to enjoying "real" Indian Summer later in October or early November!