Thursday, July 1, 2010

4th of July Holiday Weather Details

What a day, what a week! I was out in my back yard, reading an amazing novel ("No Way Down", about a disastrous climb on K2) at 9:45 pm. Wake-boarding, knee-boarding with the boys, brats on the grill, then reading as the sun slipped behind the western horizon - just an absolutely magical evening. Welcome to the 6th day in a row of sunny, dry, pleasant weather - without a doubt the nicest weather of the summer season (so far). A little humidity crept back into Minnesota today on gusty southerly winds, highs surging well into the 80s, dew points topping 60. That dreaded dew point may flirt with 70 by Saturday night - you WILL get an uncontrollable urge to go jump in a lake later today, again Saturday.

Thursday Flooding. Severe storms rumbled across the U.S/Canada border early Thursday morning, drenching the International Falls are with over 3" of rain. Flash flood warnings had to be issued for portions of St. Louis county - winds strong enough to bring down trees and powerlines.

Thursday Almanac. Check out the rainfall at International Falls: over 3" of rain (over 3 works worth of rain in a couple hours!) Highs ranged from a cool 63 at Grand Marais to 86 in the Twin Cities, 87 at St. Cloud and 88 at Alexandria.

Little has changed since yesterday: Saturday and Monday still look like the two best days. Sunday will be cloudier, a few degrees cooler, still sticky, with a few hours of showers and storms, some heavy. The models print out anywhere from .50 to 1" of rain on the 4th of July. Storms may linger into the evening hours from the Twin Cities on south and east (plan on an umbrella or poncho for fireworks - be pleasantly surprised if they don't bubble up). A dry Sunday evening is much more possible north and west of St. Cloud, toward the Brainerd and Detroit Lakes area. The farther north and west you're hanging out, the better the odds of salvaging a nice Sunday evening.

Fireworks, Brats & Hail? SPC has roughly the northwestern half of Minnesota in a slight risk of severe thunderstorms during the PM hours on Sunday. The greatest risk: hail and damaging straight-line winds, north and west of a line from Alexandria to Grand Rapids. The latest SPC outlook is here.

Stormy Sunday. The GFS model (verifying around the dinner hour Sunday - showing accumulated rainfall between midday and the dinner hour, a 6 hour period), hints at the greatest risk of storms over the southeastern half of MN. Skies should slowly clear, from northwest to southeast, during the PM hours Sunday - a dry sky POSSIBLE north and west of St. Cloud in time for late-evening fireworks.

A slightly cooler, drier front arrives late Sunday, winds shift around to the north by Monday, dew points drop back into the low and mid 60s (still humid, but not as tropical as Saturday night). The sun should be out much of the day (far less wind than Saturday), highs reaching the mid 80s metro lakes (close to 80 up north).

Looks Like a Holiday. The models all agree: it's going to rain on Sunday. Yes, the 4th of July is just too irresistible a target for Mother Nature - all those outdoor picnics, campers, grilling, boating, kids trying to light sparklers (be careful out there!) It won't rain all day, but when it does rain it could sure come down in a hurry, models print out anywhere from .50 to 1" of rain.

Saturday: high winds (gusting from the south at 20-30 mph). Sticky and dry through the dinner hour (best chance of storms after 6 pm Detroit Lakes and Brainerd Lakes area - a few storms over far western MN could even be severe Saturday evening.

Saturday night: T-storms push from west to east across the state, locally heavy rain. A dew point close to 70 will make it feel very muggy out there.

Sunday (4th of July). More clouds than sun, 2-5 hours of showers and (heavy) T-storms. Some late PM clearing possible over central and northern MN, but storms probably linger over far eastern and southern MN and all of Wisconsin. Winds: SW/NW 10-15 (not as windy as Saturday).

Monday: Getting better, increasingly sunny, slight drop in humidity, probably dry (although a few nagging T-storm may still flare up near the Iowa border). Winds: N 10-15

After enjoying a pretty nice holiday weekend (all things considered) a wave of low pressure rippling along a frontal zone stalled to our south over Iowa may kick up a few PM showers and storms on Tuesday, a noticeable cooling trend by the middle of next week. Sunshine is expected much of next week as temperatures slowly warm back up into the 80s - dry weather should be the rule from Wednesday through Saturday of next week.

Alex Recap. NASA has a good recap of Alex, which strengthened explosively after passing over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, passing over 85 degree water in the Gulf of Mexico, going from a feeble tropical storm to nearly a category 3 storm in roughly 36 hours - striking coastal Mexico (a second time) with sustained winds of 105 mph. and a central pressure of 27.9", making it the second strongest June hurricane on record.

Mexican Floods. As Alex came ashore it drenched the Mexican countryside with some 10-15" rains, producing severe flooding. See for yourself here.

Hurricanes = Tornadoes. Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes (not the other way around). When hurricanes come ashore, a frictional component to the wind can spin up small brief tornadoes, like this one that touched down on a suburb of Brownsville, Texas. Notice the shrieking Mother in Law in the background of this YouTube clip. Priceless.

NOAA Launching Cruise To Determine Impact of Spill of Whales. 29 different species of mammals call the northern Gulf of Mexico home, including endangered sperm whales and a rare species of baleen whales. NOAA and a group of scientists will be studying the impact of the oil on the whale population. The story is here.

Paul's SC Times Outlook for St. Cloud and all of central Minnesota

Today: Sunny, windy and hot. You'll start to feel the humidity. Winds: S 15-30. High: 89

Friday night: Clear, warm and muggy. Low: 68

Saturday: Sunshine much of the day, windy and hot. T-storms rumble into far western MN later in the day. Winds: S 15-30 High: 90

Saturday night: T-storms likely, locally heavy rain possible. Low: 68

4th of July: Mostly cloudy, still sticky, a few hours of showers and T-storms. Winds: SW/NW 10-15. High: 80 (some clearing possible over central/northern MN during the PM hours).

Monday: Plenty of sun, slight drop in humidity. Winds: N 7-13. High: 8

Tuesday: Sunny start, PM clouds, a few T-storms. High: 78

Wednesday: Partly sunny, more comfortable. High: 76

Thursday: Lot's of sunshine, a bit warmer. High: 79

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