Posted at 9:05 AM on August 8, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Hurricanes
Wet Wednesday - Cooler today with scattered showers & some thunder
No Risk Probably not severe today; No SPC risk areas for Minnesota
"Aug-tember" 70s into this weekend...60s by next weekend?
Hurricane Watch: Ernesto in Mexico
GFS: Hurricane potential near East Coast week of August 20th?
Pattern Change Arrives: Much cooler with hit & miss showers:
A well advertised (and mostly welcome) pattern change to cooler weather has finally arrived in Minnesota.
Low pressure slides through today and early Thursday. The low is not terribly strong, but is enough to trigger scattered showers & a few (probably non severe) T-Storms today. SPC is not sufficiently impressed to paste any risk areas over Minnesota today.
Overall rainfall totals look to be under .25"....but some areas may pick up more especially north of the metro.
The best chance of a .50"+ soaker? From Detroit Lakes to Brainerd to Duluth today.
"Aug-tember" on the way:
After a record 80 on St. Patty's Day and one of the hotter summers on record so far, it's hard to fathom a fall like weather pattern in August. The weather maps have a funny way of balancing out over time.
It looks like this August may feel more like September at times. Could we see the first cooler than average month in 14 months? May 2011 was the last time we logged a cooler than average month in Minnesota.
Looking at the models into next week, I see highs in the 70s the next few days for the metro and virtually all of Minnesota. The cooler Canadian high pressure system will nose in with northeast breezes through Sunday. Lows may dip into the upper 30s in northeast Minnesota, and there is a real possibility of scattered frost by this weekend in some of the cooler nooks & crannies like Embarrass & Biwabik.
We should warm up again for a few days next week...and upper 80s are again possible with an increased thunder threat in the middle of next week.
Then a stronger cold front should drop south by the weekend of August 18th. If the GFS verifies, highs may stay in the 60s by the weekend of the 18th. That's about average for late September, and will be a real "departure" from what we're used to this summer.
People have been asking me all summer "Paul, when is it going to cool off?" The cooler weather is here, but I'm not sure everyone is ready for 60s in August. As we say in the weather biz...."The models giveth, and the models taketh away."
We'll probably squeak out another 90 or 2 this year, but to my slightly trained eye it looks like we're probably done with any sustained stretches of 90+ degree heat.
Stay tuned on that one.
Hurricane season picking up steam?
Tropical Storm Ernesto is battering the Mexican Coast this week. Ernesto has weakened to Tropical Storm status over the Yucatan, but may regain hurricane strength while crossing the Bay of Campeche before slamming into Mexico once again late Thursday.
Meanwhile more frequent disturbances are crossing the open Atlantic. NHC is keeping an eye on these for possible development.
The GFS and other models are picking up on the possibility of a potential hurricane approach somewhere near the eastern USA the week of August 20th in about 10-12 days.
It's way too early to say for sure if the treat is real or just "model-speak", but we are moving into the peak of hurricane season in the next month.
Posted at 4:34 PM on August 8, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Climate
Climatic Fever: +4.3F vs. average in the USA so far in 2012
Hottest July on record +3.3F for the USA (lower 48 states)
63.9% of the USA in "drought" as of July 24th - a new record
62.91% of the USA still in drought as of last week
2 million acres burned in July wildfires in the USA
NOAA: July 2012 - hotter than the "Dust Bowl"
The steamy, smoky climate numbers are in for July.
According to NOAA it was the hottest July (+3.3F vs. average) ever on record for the lower 48 states in 118 years of records.
In fact, July 2012 eclipsed the "Dust Bowl" era record from July 1936 as the hottest on record. More from NOAA:
Drought expands to cover nearly 63% of the Lower 48; wildfires consume 2 million acres
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
Hot weather hits just keep on comin'
2012 is now the hottest year on record so far in the USA.
The USA's average temp is running at a high grade fever, a full +4.3 degrees vs. the 20th century average for the 1st seven months of the year. Look how far 2012 is off the charts through July.
•The January-July period was the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 56.4°F was 4.3°F above the long-term average. Most of the contiguous U.S. was record and near-record warm for the seven-month period, except the Pacific Northwest, which was near average.
The "Climate Extremes Index" (yes, there is such a beast) also reached a record in July according to NOAA's national Climatic Data Center (NCDC).
•The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI), an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, drought and tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S., was a record-large 46 percent during the January-July period, over twice the average value, and surpassing the previous record large CEI of 42 percent which occurred in 1934. Extremes in warm daytime temperatures (83 percent) and warm nighttime temperatures (74 percent) both covered record large areas of the nation, contributing to the record high year-to-date USCEI value.
Drought reached record:
We've been talking about the intense and expanding drought in much of the USA this summer. Here's word from NOAA that the drought area reached record proportions in July.
•According to the July 31, 2012, U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), 62.9 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of July. This is an increase of about 6.9 percent compared to the end of June. The maximum value of 63.9 percent reached on July 24 is a record in the 13-year history of the USDM.
Note how Minnesota remains a relative oasis mostly free of the severe drought that's gripping the nation this summer.
Tornado at nearly 12,000 feet?
Talk about a wild July highlight.
Several people witnessed a rare high elevation tornado on Mt. Evans in Colorado in late July. The NWS estimates this was the 2nd highest tornado ever recorded in the USA. The only higher twister touched down at 12,000 feet...just 100 feet higher.
As you can see the circulation extends well above the mountainside.
We know tornadic circulations extend high into tornadic storms. It's just rare to observe the twister this high up as most tornadic supercells in the plains have much lower cloud bases. Drier air near the surface means "high based" storms are more common in the west.