76F high at MSP at 2:48pm Friday
.30" September rainfall at MSP is 2nd driest on record
1882 - Last September drier than 2012 was 130 years ago
"Dry September" trend? 3 of the past 4 Septembers are among the 6 driest on record
+4.91F vs. average in the metro since March 1st
16 and counting September is the 16th straight warmer than average month in Minnesota
May 2011 last cooler than average month in the metro
February 1985 last month globally cooler than the 20th century average
Fall color peak in northern Minnesota this weekend?
Spectacular weekend forecast: MSP quick look
September 2012: One for the record books
Another month, another near record in Minnesota.
With a paltry .30" rainfall this month, this will go down as the driest September in 130 years, and the 2nd driest on record in the metro. Only 1882 (barley) squeezed out less rain with .27".
Source: MN Climate Working Group
Signs of a trend?
It's hard to say, but with 3 of the past 4 Septembers among the top 6 driest on record it seems our early fall periods are trending drier in Minnesota. I've spoken with Mark Seeley about this, and he indicates there is a distinct trend toward drier autumns in Minnesota.
Last fall was the driest on record, with just 1.36" precipitation in the metro.
Details from the MN Climate Working Group.
September through November 2011 was the driest Twin Cities meteorological autumn in the 141 year modern record. The September through November 2011 precipitation total at the Twin Cities International Airport was 1.36 inches, a negative departure of 5.92 inches from the 1981-2010 normal of 7.28 inches.
Driest meteorological autumns (September through November) in the Twin Cities (1871-2011)
With a "dry bias" continuing into the first 2 weeks of October, it appears we may be well on the way to another dry autumn in Minnesota.
The incredible "6-Month Summer" of 2012? Welcome to Omaha!
Yes I may be overstating it a bit, but this has been a remarkable run of warmth since March. March was the warmest on record, and this was also the warmest spring on record at MSP, St. Cloud & Eau Claire.
Take a look at the temps vs. average at MSP Airport since March 1st.
March +15.5F (Warmest on record)
May +4.6F (10th warmest)
June +3.5F (13th warmest)
July +6.4F (2nd warmest)
You can see it's not a stretch to say we've been feeling summer like weather for almost 6 months in the metro.
In fact the average temp since March 1st at MSP Airport is +4.91F. That's about like living in Omaha, Nebraska where the average annual temperature is about +5F warmer than the Twin Cities.
WCCO Radio & Strib sports legend Sid Hartmann always used to threaten that the Twin Cities would be just a "cold Omaha" without professional sports. Sid, it turns out we got Omaha's relatively balmy weather instead!
Fall color peak up north this weekend?
This looks like the weekend to see the fall color peak in northern Minnesota according to the latest MN DNR fall color map.
Reality Check Ahead: Cold front arrives Wednesday
Enjoy the string of 70s through Tuesday. The next cold front comes sailing south from Canada Wednesday with a chance for a few showers, and much colder weather.
Highs may not climb out of the low 50s late next week.
It may finally start feeling like October around these parts late next week.
Until then enjoy...and have a great weekend!
69F high Thursday at MSP Airport at 4:04pm
65.45% of USA lower 48 states now in "drought" - a new record
Anatomy of a developing drought - Graphic Mississippi River image comparison in Minneapolis this year
42 millibars in 24 hours - Rapid "deepening" of massive Alaskan "Mega-Bomb"
Color burst - Vivid fall color shots from Banning State Park
Status Quo: Mild dry forecast holds into next week
Drought 2012 reaches record:
I talked about Minnesota's deepening drought Thursday morning with Cathy Wurzer on Morning Edition and posted details here on Updraft. Here's another angle on Thursday's latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
65.45% of the lower 48 states are now in drought status. That's the highest coverage in the 12 year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The "epicenter" of the drought is in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. But the drought is rapidly deepening in Iowa and Minnesota...working its way north.
More from Climate Central here:
Since September 18, the area of the "Cornhusker State"(Nebraska) experiencing exceptional drought grew from 70.9 percent to 73 percent. Other states with a large footprint of the worst drought categories include Kansas, where 5 percent of the state is suffering from exceptional drought, and Oklahoma, where exceptional drought has enveloped 17 percent of the state, an increase from the Sept. 18 data. According to The Weather Channel, the "exceptional" drought extents in Nebraska and Kansas are both records for those states.
Alaskan "Mega-Bomb" pounds coast:
A massive superstorm is pounding the southern Alaskan Coast today.
The storm is so large; it would cover most of the lower 48 USA.
The storm showed rapid intensification or "deepening" with pressure falls of 42 millibars in just 24 hours. That magnitude of rapid intensification is rare even for strong hurricanes, and far exceeds established criteria for so called "Bomb Cyclogenesis" which is 23 millibars of deepening in 24 hours at 55 degrees latitude.
The Alaskan superstorm has a lower central pressure than Hurricane Isaac.
More from NOAA's Ocean Prediction Center:
Linked is a GOES 15 WV animation of the hurricane force cyclone that rapidly intensified near the Southwestern Gulf of Alaska. The loop begins at 00Z Sep 26 when the surface low was 986 mb, and ends at 04Z Sep 27 when the low was a fully ma...ture and vertically stacked 956 mb system. Interesting to note, the lowest analyzed pressure at the surface was down to 950 mb at 18Z Sep 26.
77 to 45 - 32 degree temp swing at MSP from Monday PM to this morning
Delightfully average - temps next few days in Minnesota
Milder weekend - 70s return but not Indian Summer yet
(see definition below)
Metro color burst? - Why Twin Cities may see best fall colors this year
MSP quick look forecast:
Who knew "average" could be so awesome?
Temperatures the next few days look very close to seasonal averages in Minnesota. Daytime highs in the mid to upper 60s south...and near 60 north are just about average for late September.
This is the time of year where "average" is just fine with many of us. Throw in a little fall colors and you get "awesome."
Not Indian Summer - yet:
As temperatures warm up this weekend you might be tempted to call it "Indian Summer." According to the AMS and every sensible definition I can find, you'd be premature.
It's still way too early for Indian Summer when it was still "actual summer" just a little over 72 hours ago.
Heres' the definiton of Inidan Summer from the AMS, the professional organization for meteorologists.
Indian summer--A period, in mid- or late autumn, of abnormally warm weather, generally clear skies, sunny but hazy days, and cool nights.
In New England, at least one killing frost and preferably a substantial period of normally cool weather must precede this warm spell in order for it to be considered a true "Indian summer." It does not occur every year, and in some years there may be two or three Indian summers. The term is most often heard in the northeastern United States, but its usage extends throughout English- speaking countries. It dates back at least to 1778, but its origin is not certain; the most probable suggestions relate it to the way that the American Indians availed themselves of this extra opportunity to increase their winter stores. The comparable period in Europe is termed the Old Wives' summer, and, poetically, may be referred to as halcyon days. In England, dependent upon dates of occurrence, such a period may be called St. Martin's summer, St. Luke's summer, and formerly All-hallown summer.
According to AMS we can't call "Indian Summer" in the metro anytime soon for 3 reasons:
1) We haven't had a frost in most of the metro yet. While we have seen frost and a hard freeze in much of Minnesota, the inner core of the metro is still frost free...and the growing season continues.
2) It's not "mid to late autumn." Fall began Saturday at 9:49am. It was actually still summer on Saturday morning...just 3 days ago. The AMS definition of "mid-to late autumn" implies at least the second half of October, or early November for true "Indian Summer."
3) It's not "abnormally mild." With the average high still at 67 this week, it's not at all unusual to see temps in the 70s in late September. So right now the forecast doesn't look "abnormally mild" either.
We may still get a glorious Indian Summer this year...but we'll have to wait for frost in the metro and then warm weather in mid-late October or early November. Declaring it sooner is pushing the season.
Metro Colors: Best in show for 2012?
We're getting reports from the MN DNR and photos that suggest some of the most vivid fall color this year in Minnesota seem to be centered on parts of the Twin Cities metro.
What could be causing the metro show?
2012 may be the "perfect color storm" in the Twin Cities.
We saw heavy rainfall at the beginning of the growing season as the trees leafed out in late April and May this year. That meant plenty of moisture for trees to produce excellent and healthy foliage.
As drought set in during late summer, that may have provided additional "stress" to metro trees at just the right time to induce a blaze of color.
Trees in southern & western Minnesota battled drought all year, and may be too stressed to put on the best color show.
Leaf peepers in the metro may be treated to some of the best fall color shows in Minnesota over the next 2-3 weeks.
77F Balmy high temp at MSP Monday
68F average high at MSP Monday
82F in Morris & Appleton Monday
+1.8F temps vs. average so far at MSP in September
16th straight month of above average temps in the metro!
May 2011 - last cooler than average month at MSP Airport (-0.9F)
Cool front Tuesday - temps 10 degrees cooler the rest of this week
80F returns to the metro as early as Sunday and into next week?
Spectacular fall color shots along the Mississippi - more images below
ClimateCast: Snapshot comparing Arctic Sea ice from September 1979 to September 2012 (see images below)
Cooler front pushes south:
It's safe to say we "enjoyed" a stunning Monday with 77 in the metro and numerous 80+ degree temps in western Minnesota. You have to admit, these are the days that make many of us endure tough winters and hot muggy & buggy summers.
"Ideal human comfort" is the term that comes to mind with sunshine, temps in the upper 70s and desert dry dew points in the 30s. This is why people flock to Arizona in November...and why San Diego is packed with millions of people living on top of each other. (Okay...maybe the unbelievable beaches are a draw too.)
Simply put, Monday was tough to beat...and maybe the best single weather day of 2012?
Tuesday's cool front will be noticeable, dropping temps about 10 degrees for the rest of the week.
It's interesting to note that Tuesday's "cold front" is what I would call another "average front" in Minnesota...dropping temps to only near average.
What is "average" in the metro this week? 67/48.
Warmth returns this weekend:
As has been the case so often in Minnesota since May 2011, the cooler weather won't last.
This month is the 16th consecutive warmer than average month in Minnesota. We're running about +6 degrees in the metro during the past 16 months. Yes... it's truly like we've been living in an Omaha or Lincoln, Nebraska climate the past year. Maybe it's rubbing off...is that why the Gopher football team improving so much?
A ridge of high pressure will amplify this weekend over the upper Midwest. That will allow milder southerly breezes to blow again, and temps will respond into the 70s once again.
The GFS is hinting now for a couple of runs that the ridge may build even more early next week. This could boost temps back into the 80s for southern Minnesota once again.
Stay tuned...summer-like weather may have another run here early next week.
ClimatCast: Arctic Sea Ice...then and now
I've talked about the recent Arctic Sea ice record low a few different ways, but here's one great way to visualize the dramatic differences in the volume of ASI over the past 30+ years.
Check out the snapshots below from September 1979 and September 2012.
You can see it's a completely different picture at the top of the world these days than in 1979, and why so many scientists are so concerned about the changes.
What we don't know may be the biggest issue. How does less Arctic ice and warmer oceans change the course of the Polar Jet Stream and the way it delivers weather to the northern hemisphere? How should the computer forecast models deal with this newly changed landscape and air mass "source region?"
We're literally in uncharted waters here.
Fall color explosion: Mississippi putting on a spectacular show!
Minnesotans like to travel far and wide to see the best fall color shows. Here's one that's literally right in the metro backyard.
Take a look at these photos captured by St. Paul resident Bill Stein Monday along the Mississippi River. The weekend chill has made the colors explode.
These pictures are worth way more than any thousand words I could type, so I'll just stop typing.
96.2% of Minnesota now "abnormally dry" or in "drought"
83.5% last week
78.15% of the lower 48 USA states now in drought or abnormally dry
Cold front - Next shot of cooler Canadian air blowing into MN today
Back to the 50s Highs may not climb out of the 50s in the metro Friday & Saturday
70F average high at MSP Friday
69F average high at MSP Saturday!
May 17th - next time MSP average high reaches 70F
Astronomical Fall Begins - Saturday at 9:49am CDT with the Autumnal Equinox
Cool shot ahead this weekend:
The breezes you feel today are courtesy of the next push of cooler Canadian air streaming into Minnesota.
The last in this week's family of cold fronts sweeps south Friday night. As it does, the atmosphere will be just cold enough to squeeze out a few snow showers from the Iron Range, to Duluth and Rice Lake. While I can't rule out a stray snow flake as far south as the Twin Cities Friday night, it doesn't look like anything to write home about.
Frost again becomes an issue Saturday & Sunday morning, and will nip at the metro suburbs.
The first days of "astronomical fall" will feel like it in Minnesota this weekend.
Warmer next week:
The overall weather pattern becomes more favorable for milder breezes again next week.
Westerly winds should begin to warm Minnesota Sunday, and we may see several days of highs at or above 70 in Minnesota next week.
Don't write off fine fall weather just yet!
Drought expands - again:
Today's updated U.S. Drought Monitor continues the trend toward growing drought in Minnesota.
In fact, the sliver of Lake & Cook Counties that (barely) remains drought free is the only area in the Upper Midwest still staving off drought. 100% of the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin are either listed as "abnormally dry" or in "drought."
Sliver of hope for rain next week?
You know it's getting bad when we start scanning the weather maps for any hopeful sign of rain.
The next, best chance of any "meaningful" rain for Minnesota appears to be next Wednesday or Thursday.
The GFS is hinting at a slow moving low pressure system that could produce some scattered to widespread showers, and may approach 1" in some areas.
Even 1" of rain will not begin to bust this growing drought, but it wouldn't hurt. Trees, lawns and fields are in desperate need of a good soaking.
It's early, and things may change...but at least there's hope for some rain in the forecast.
Fall colors popping fast - Updated MN fall color report below
Freeze warnings out for northern Minnesota
20s in most of northern Minnesota Tuesday AM
Frost advisories out just north & west of the metro
30s in (especially northern) metro suburbs
Fall color change accelerating in Minnesota
Frosty start Tuesday:
Well it is mid-September after all.
The season's coldest air mass is here, and the freeze is on "up north."
Even some metro suburbs will see a touch of frost early Tuesday.
When it comes to plants there is a big difference between a light frost and a "hard freeze." Many plants may survive a light frost, but several hours of temps below 28 degrees can freeze out sensitive annual plants.
It's hard to say we're too far ahead of schedule with Tuesday's frost/freeze. The average date for the 1st 32 degree temps at MSP in fall is October 7th. In the northern metro suburbs that's closer to September 24th. But "average" is made up of extremes...so September 18th is definitely "in bounds" for frost in the north metro.
Colors change accelerating:
Last Thursday I made the drive up to beautiful Grand Marais. I was a little surprised to see relatively few pockets of color along the way.
Different ball game on the way home Sunday.
I was pleasantly shocked at how fast the colors exploded along the ridges above Highway 61 and along I-35 north of Hinckley.
There are now splashes of yellow & red color all over the place, and the sumac are putting on a vibrant red show of red along I-35.
"Peak Color" ahead?
It seems many Minnesotans are enamored with the concept of finding the elusive "peak color" each year.
Defining...and finding "peak color" is a subjective art. Individual leaf peepers enjoy different intensity and types of color. Color changes can be highly localized and determined by drought stress, local temperature patterns and mix of trees & other vegetation.
When people ask me about finding peak color...my answer is usually the same. Just plane for the last two weeks of September or early October and enjoy the journey.
Often times leaf peeping is what you make of it...and I find that the colors seem to be spectacular just about every year in Minnesota.
I frequently post updated DNR fall color maps this time of year on Updraft.
Source: MN DNR
Here's another excellent resource for tracking fall color changes in the Superior National Forest.
Thanks to Steve Robertson form the U.S. Forest Service for the info.
I heard you mention the DNR fall color site the other day on my drive home, and I wanted share with you that there is also a fall color website for the Superior National Forest. It has current conditions, fall essays, and photos.
So far, phenology wise, this has been a weird color season. ...It is pretty hard to write concise reports this year though, it is all over the board for levels of color. Even the tamaracks in some places are done, and they don't even usually start until mid October.
Attached is the other very useful tool we use as a predictor.
Hope you had fun in Grand Marais.
Thanks for saying more in one picture than I could in an entire post Steve. Do I get paid by the word?
We experienced a weather rarity in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota on Wednesday when clouds dominated the day. According to the Minnesota Climatological Working Group in St. Paul we had only six days in the entire meteorological summer that went into the books as cloudy. Two days in each month of June, July and August of 2012 had 80 percent or more cloud cover at the Twin Cities International Airport.
Welcome rain fell on the southern Minnesota landscape on Wednesday. Half an inch was recorded at Houston in far southeast Minnesota, with about a third of an inch near Rochester. Only a tenth of an inch accumulated in the southern Twin Cities Metro.
Talk about a swing of temperatures! The game time temperature at Target Field on Tuesday evening was 93 degrees. At 7 p.m. Wednesday the temperature at the Twin Cities International Airport was a cool 58 degrees.
Frost is likely to form in the early morning hours on Friday in northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. it will be a tease of the very chilly air that will arrive early next week.
After a cool start to Friday, the weekend looks to be pretty nice if you are into sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Looking for moisture? You'll have to wait until late Sunday or Monday.
Not too early to travel north and explore the changing fall foliage Minnesota DNR website to monitor the changing colors this autumn. Click here.
As Paul Huttner has been advertising, we are on the threshold of reversing the trend of warmer than normal temperatures. The big change arrives on Monday. The thermometer will settle into the 30s across a good portion of the state in the morning hours the middle of next week and into the following weekend.
Due to the continued dry conditions, you'll want to stay abreast of the fire danger this weekend.
Here's the DNR fire danger as of Wednesday, Septemeber 12, 2012:
Frosty Friday AM in much of north & central Minnesota
30s Friday morning as far south as the extreme northern metro!
Sunshine & milder temps ahead for this weekend
80s return to metro & southern Minnesota both Saturday & Sunday
25% to 50% fall colors now popping in several Minnesota locations
Frosty Friday AM; From AC to heat in 60 hours
Even when it was 95 on Tuesday in the metro, you knew the proverbial "other shoe" was about to drop. This is mid- September after all.
The thud you hear Friday morning is the sound of neglected weather words hitting the wall. "Frost" "furnace" and other terms waiting to be resurrected again will get their chance soon enough.
30s blanket northern Minnesota Friday morning, and frost may spill as far south as the northern metro exurbs.
It will be the coldest mornings in many locations since late May...about 4 months ago.
Right on schedule:
In case you're wondering, frost and readings near 32 degrees are pretty common in northern Minnesota in mid-September.
The urban heat island effect fends off the average 1st frost for MSP Airport until October 7th. But unprotected Cambridge in the far north metro averages 32 by September 24th.
Last year MSP Airport dipped to 36 degrees on September 15th...but evaded an official 32 degree low until October 21st!
Best weekend of Fall 2012 ahead?
Lazy high pressure drifts overhead this weekend. That means plenty of sunshine and dry air that will heat and cool quickly.
Translation? Clear cool nights, and sunny warmer afternoons.
A southerly breeze returns, and temps should top 80 this weekend from the metro south. Northern Minnesota will warm into the 60s, but may crack 70 by Sunday everywhere away from lake Superior.
By most measures, this might be the nicest weekend of the fall in Minnesota this year. One more beach & boat day on Sunday? Done deal.
Fall Color Update: Colors popping now
This week's fall color update shows some pockets of 25% to 50% color now in Minnesota.
North Shore bound:
The Weather Lab is mobile this weekend along the North Shore. I'll be doing live weather hits from the North Shore Thursday & Friday at 5:48pm on All Things Considered with Tom Crann. (Steven John is sitting in for TC this week)
There are some great events to soak in along The North Shore this weekend.
Check out the North House Folk School's "Unplugged" event this weekend in Grand Marais. Numerous high end music acts will be performing along the shores of Lake Superior.
Rumor has it that a really good and long time North Shore favorite band...The Blues Allegations will be rocking the house Saturday night. You may even run into a stray weatherman along the way.
This will be a nice early season weekend for leaf peepers, while summer like weather hangs on for one more trip to the lake or the golf course....so get out there and enjoy!
Welcome to "June-Tober."
We're living charmed weather lives in Minnesota these days!
Our string of consecutive 80 degree days now stands at 6....as thermometers blew past past the 80 degree mark again Friday.
That makes this the 3rd warmest start to October on record so far, according to Pete Boulay at the MN State Climate Office.
Assuming that the high temperature will be 84 and the min will be 65 today, the seven day October average so far will be 67 degrees. This is the 3rd warmest start of October on record back to 1891.
Rank Value Year
1 67.4 2007
2 67.3 1897
3 67.0* 2011
The longest stretch of continuous 80's in October is eight set in 1953.
With Ocotber 2011 only .4 degree off the pace...this is basically right there with the warmest October starts on record! We can't feel the difference between 67.0 and 67.4 degrees!
Temps +13 degrees vs. average so far this October!
3rd warmest start to October on record so far!
(just 0.4 degree away from 1st place)
6 consecutive days at or above 80 this October
2nd highest number of October 80s on record
8days at or above 80 in October 1953
58 years since MSP has logged this many 80 degree days in October!
43 average low temp at MSP Friday
65 actual low temp at MSP Friday
63 average high temp at MSP Friday
"Cooler Front" this weekend:
The 80s will fade this weekend as a (gentle for October) cool front slides through. Temps will still run about 10 degrees above average, with highs in the 70s south and 60s north this weekend.
There will be a few spotty showers, but overall precip looks to be on the light side, generally under .25" in most areas. We may settle some of the wind-whipped dust this weekend, but the rain won't be putting out any fires or putting a dent in the drought.
It's been another warm, windy, dry week with no rainfall in Minnesota, and the drought expanding.
A full 74% of Minnesota is now listed as "abnormally dry" or in some stage of drought on the week's U.S. Drought Monitor. That compares to only 4% of Minnesota in or near drought 3 months ago!
Rainfall deficits now exceed 4" in much of Minnesota since August 1st. The overall weather pattern looks wetter in the next two weeks, but rainfall totals will likely not be enough to end the drought in Minnesota.
Fall colors peaking this weekend!
The gusty & dusty weather pattern late last week tooka few leaves off the trees, but the colors are still spectacular and at or near the elusive "peak" this weekend in Minnesota.
Here are some fall color scenes I captured Friday from around the Huttner Weather Lab in Deephaven in the west metro. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
Is climate change affecting fall color timing?
The story from AP:
"Climate change scientists focus on fall foliage shifts
October 6, 2011
By DAVID SHARP, Associated Press
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Clocks may not be the only thing falling back: That signature autumn change in leaf colors may be drifting further down the calendar.
Scientists don't quite know if global warming is changing the signs of fall like it already has with an earlier-arriving spring. They're turning their attention to fall foliage in hopes of determining whether climate change is leading to a later arrival of autumn's golden, orange and red hues.
Studies in Europe and in Japan already indicate leaves are changing color and dropping later, so it stands to reason that it's happening here as well, said Richard Primack, professor of biology at Boston University.
"The fall foliage is going to get pushed back," Primack warned.
Scientists caution that heavy rain, drought-like conditions or temperature extremes can cause dramatic year-to-year fluctuations that don't establish a long-term trend. For example, heavy rainfall in New England this spring, followed by a deluge caused by Irene, is causing fungal growth that's causing some trees' leaves to turn brown and drop earlier than normal.
William Ostrofsky, forest pathologist with the Maine Forest Service, is skeptical about whether there's a proven link between fall foliage and climate change.
"I just don't know that there's any evidence to indicate there's a trend one way or the other," said Ostrofsky, who points out that year-to-year fluctuations make it difficult to discern long-term trends. "I really don't think we've seen any long-term trend, as far as I can tell."
While there's no definitive study in the U.S., some data points toward later leaf drop:
- Researchers at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and at Seoul National University in South Korea used satellites to show the end of the growing season was delayed by 6 1/2 days from 1982 to 2008 in the Northern Hemisphere.
- In Massachusetts, the leaves are changing about three days later than they were two decades ago at the Harvard Forest 65 miles west of Boston, according to data collected by John O'Keefe, a retired Harvard professor and museum coordinator who's continuing to collect data.
- In New Hampshire, data collected at the federal Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Woodstock suggests sugar maples are going dormant two to five days earlier than they were two decades ago.
- In Vermont, state foresters studying sugar maples at the Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill found that the growing season ended later than the statistical average in seven out of the last 10 years. And then there are regular folks like 83-year-old Nancy Aldrich at Polly's Pancake Parlor in New Hampshire, who has been keeping her own records since 1975. Her numbers show that color change is a moving target, and she's not willing to go out on a limb in terms of making any declarations."
Leaf Peeper Alert: Fall colors exploding
This looks like the week (and weekend!) where fall colors are really popping in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Some areas of the state are now showing more than 50% color!
Check out the latest fall color report from the Minnesota DNR.
Unusual fall color pattern in Minnesota this year:
Look at the map above, and then take a look at the map below.
You can see "peak color" is different than the norm this year, with areas near the Minnesota River near New Ulm peaking before areas to the north.
Now look at the drought map below.
Notice how well the color shift corresponds to drought stressed areas!
Many factors affect fall color displays:
It turns out there are several variables that determine when colors change and how vibrant they are. The details from the Minnesota DNR's Jana Albers.
Nicer Wednesday & weekend ahead!
Let's just call it what it is this week in the metro. The Twin Cities and southeast Minnesota got hosed this week when it comes to sunshine and nice weather, while much of the rest of Minnesota enjoyed sunny warm days.
70s and sunshine ruled most of western & northern Minnesota this week while clouds and spotty showers hung from the metro to Rochester.
The pesky persistent upper low will finally give some ground Wednesday. That should be enough to bring sunshine into the metro, and boost temps well into the 70s. I'm not ready to guarantee sun all of Wednesday just yet...this upper low has been a bear to move east! Weather fingers & toes crossed!
A strong cool front will drop temps Thursday & Friday, but bring more sun. Lows may dip into the 30s Saturday morning for a potential frost threat.
Right now the first weekend of October (how did that happen?) looks spectacular with sunshine and highs in the 70s by Sunday.
Here's some breaking news for fall color fans.
According to the Minnesota DNR this may be the best fall color display in Minnesota in 10 years!
It turns out the combination of ample summer rains, combined with our sunny days and cool nights may be just right to get the color to pop this fall.
Here's the pertainent info from MN DNR.
DNR predicts best fall color season in 10 years
(Released September 8, 2011)
Minnesotans are encouraged to keep the camera batteries charged and to not put the tent or the picnic basket away just yet, because the upcoming fall color season could be the best it has been in 10 years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
"With adequate rain during the growing season for two consecutive years and recent weather patterns that have included the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, we're predicting an especially vivid display of color across the state in the weeks ahead," said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist.
Here's Thursday's fall color report. Some splashes of color are now beginning to show in the drought stressed regions of Minnesota.
Colors will increase over the next few weeks and typically peak in the next month.
Hurricane Season 2011: More tropical trouble ahead?
Don't look now, but the Atlantic Hurricane season of 2011 is quietly brewing into a troublesome affair.
Hurricane Irene slammed into the northeast with as much as 7 billion in damage and devastating floods.
Tropical Storm Lee snuck up through the Gulf of Mexico delivering a swath of heavy rains, (over 10" in some areas) and storm damage from Louisiana through the southeast and into Pennsylvania and New York, where mass evacuations are now underway due to flooding.
Now, It looks like what will soon become Hurricane Nate may bring trouble to the Gulf of Mexico. With weak and erratic steering currents, where Nate goes may be a wild card. With divergent model track solutions the threat level is growing anywhere from the Mexican Coast to Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Nate could sit, spin and strengthen in the Gulf for a few days and then deliver a flooding deluge somewhere along the Gulf Coast. Depending on the eventual track, there is a chance that drought stricken eastern Texas could benefit from Nate's rainfall,
The there's Maria. The system is forecast to make a close approach to the southeast USA, before rapidly turning away to the northeast just before hitting land. Unlike Nate, track models are tightly grouped and insist Maria will turn to sea before hitting the USA. But it's a little close for comfort at this point.
As we say in the weather biz...stay tuned!
Frosty start to September in northeast MN:
The details from my MPR colleague Mark Seeley.
Topic: Some early September frosts
"The lower dewpoints and milder temperatures this week have been welcomed by most Minnesota citizens. But, for some northern residents the cooler temperatures brought an end to the growing season. Over September 5-6 (Mon-Tue) this week frost occurred in a number of locations, including: Big Fork (32 F), Hibbing (32 F), Orr (32 F), International Falls (31 F), Cook (30 F), Isabella (29 F), Crane Lake (28 F), Brimson (28 F), and Embarrass (26 F)."
New MN wind speed record?
Topic: Wrestling with a new state wind speed record
"During the early morning hours of September 1, 2011 a severe thunderstorm was passing over northwestern Minnesota. Shortly after 3 am the Road Weather Information System managed by Mn/DOT in Donaldson near the Kittson and Marshall County line registered a wind gust of 121 mph. This measurement was substantiated by damages inflicted in the surrounding landscape by such strong winds. Since that time the National Weather Service, Minnesota State Climatology Office, and National Climatic Data Center have been trying to determine if this measurement represents a new Minnesota state record for wind speed. The old state record wind speed was 117 mph from a thunderstorm near Alexandria, MN back on July 19, 1983.
There are many problems associated with determining a wind speed record. For example, it is estimated from earlier storm surveys in the state that winds stronger than 120 mph have been associated with some tornadoes in the state. But an instrumental record of the wind speed does not exist. Secondly the wind instruments (anemometers) used over time to measure wind speed have varied in placement and precision. The elevation above ground is important in the measurement of wind speed, as is the sampling interval (3 second, 5 seconds, 30 seconds, etc). The current system used by the National Weather Service is an Ice Free Wind (IFW) sensor, called a sonic anemometer (no moving parts) and measures wind in 1 second intervals, averaging every 3 seconds. The 121 mph wind at Donaldson was measured by an R.M. Young Wind Monitor (aerovane model 05103) which is a mechanical, propeller type instrument. I think it has an accuracy of plus or minus 1 percent and a measurement range up to 224 mph (though lesser wind might destroy its mast)."
Posted at 5:00 PM on October 5, 2010
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Fall color
These are Chamber of Commerce weather days in Minnesota.
Perfect marathon weather, Twins playoffs in town under crystal clear October skies, and fall colors busting peak in the metro. Does it get any better than this?
According to the latest fall color report form the Minnesota DNR, colors are at or near peak this week in the metro with 50% to 100% color. Colors are past peak now in much of northern Minnesota.
A tour of my favorite fall color spots near the Huttner Weather Lab in the west metro confirms peaking colors today. So I'm calling it. Peak fall color occurred at precisely 4:03pm Tuesday October 5th at the Huttner Weather Lab this year.
Here are some colorful shots from a classic fall Tuesday from the shores of Lake Minnetonka in the west metro.
Wednesday had to be the best day of the fall for many Minnesotans...so far.
Plenty of sunshine graced (most of) Minnesota's skies today, with temperatures shooting up into the 70s in many areas. The exception is Minnesota's Arrowhead and North Shore, where clouds and spotty showers roll through with a cold front.
Anatomy of a cold front:
Check out this high resolution MODIS terra satellite image from the University of Wisconsin Wednesday.
You can clearly see the tail of clouds riding along with a cold front as it approaches the Twin Cities in mid-afternoon. If you look closely, you can notice the Minnesota River looks quite swollen southwest of the Twin Cities. This is the flood in action as viewed from space.
Family of fronts:
Wednesday's cool front is the first in a family of fronts that will sweep colder air into Minnesota by this weekend.
Many locations, including the Twin Cities may see our first frost of the fall by Sunday morning.
And now for your Weather Lab gratuitous sunset shot of the week.
Leaf peepers may be in for a treat this year.
Splashes of color are already popping up around the Huttner Weather Lab in the west metro and conditions appear just right for a potentially spectacular fall color show in 2010. This week's Minnesota DNR Fall Color Report is showing 0 to 10% color in most areas.
Here's what it takes for great fall color according to the Minnesota DNR.
Fall colors vary from year to year and place to place for several reasons.
-Weather is most critical in determining the colors displayed each fall.
-Colors are best when high quality foliage - a product of a warm, moist summer - is exposed to sunny, cool fall days.
-Light frosts may also help, but hard freezes can ruin the display.
Much of Minnesota has seen a warmer and wetter than average summer this year. There is also every reason to expect light frosts as usual in the coming month.
Here are the typical peak times for "peak" fall color around Minnesota.
Enjoy leaf watching this year!