Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot - Thundery - Pleasant (in that order)

Joe's Lodge. Near Bemidji on Lake Andrusia, Joe's Lodge looks like a magical place - it also has the best (HD) webcam I've ever seen - updates every 15 seconds or so. The next best thing to being there - but i'd rather be there, come to think of it. Click here to see the latest.

How is it already July 3? This is the time of year you want to DRAG, to downshift into hot-summer-slow-mo. I wish I could freeze-frame time and pause on this weekend, just about as good as it gets: friends, family, food (LOT'S of food), beverages of every imaginable permutation, incendiary devices (those 2 don't mix, come to think of it). Firework-weather is still iffy, especially south and east of the Twin Cities Sunday evening, but I still believe the VAST MAJORITY of the 4th of July Holiday Weekend will be dry and relatively lake-friendly.

As we've been saying for a few days: today will be the windiest, hottest day of the 3 day weekend with enough hazy, murky sun for 90 degrees by mid afternoon, maybe some low 90s south/west of the MN River Valley. Dew points will rise into the mid, even some upper 60s - you're really start to feel the humidity creeping up into the oh-zone. By evening you may be secretly praying for a cooling shower - and depending on where you live you just may get your wish.

Much of today will be sunny, windy and hot, any storms probably rumble into far western MN by late afternoon or evening - rain (and even a few severe storms) possible in the Alexandria and Detroit Lakes area by the dinner hour, storms then rumble from west to east across the state Saturday night. The models are hinting - hinting that the heaviest, most widespread showers and T-storms on the 4th may come during the morning and midday hours. Winds shift around to the west/northwest by late afternoon, a slight push of drier air may shove the brunt of the T-storms into southeastern MN and Wisconsin by late afternoon and evening. The odds of dry weather for fireworks are better in Alexandria and Brainerd than they are in the Twin Cities and Rochester. The farther north/west you're hanging out this weekend, the faster it may try to dry out Sunday afternoon.

Nasty Storms? SPC has most of western and central MN in a "slight risk" of isolated severe storms later today - the risk is from large hail and strong, potentially damaging straight-line winds, and even though the wind profile doesn't favor large, long-lasting tornadoes (like 2 weeks ago) we can't rule out an isolated tornado, best chance within 2-3 hours of dinnertime, when the atmosphere will be most unstable.

There isn't much of a cool push behind Sunday's front, in fact it will probably run out of gas and stall just to our south, over Iowa. Vaguely interesting, but so what Paul? A ripple of low pressure arriving from the Dakotas Monday will irritate that front, nudge it northward, just enough to push showers and T-storms back into the southern third of Minnesota by Monday midday and afternoon.

Sunday Puddle Potential. It won't rain all day, but the NAM/WRF model is hinting at widespread showers and T-storms during the morning and midday hours, some clearing/drying from northwest to southeast after lunchtime. The best chance of a dry sky for fireworks? Towns north/west of St. Cloud, where the sun may be out part of the afternoon and evening. From the twin Cities on south and east all bets are off - thunderwear recommended for Sunday evening events.

July 4th Weather Summary

Hottest Day: today....windy and (stinking) hot with highs topping 90 in many towns across Minnesota, south winds gusting to 30 mph (even higher in late-day T-storms).

* Atmospheric Fireworks. Best chance of thunder comes from late afternoon (western MN) into the midday hours Sunday, but a few storms may linger into Sunday evening, especially south/east of MSP.

* Fireworks Forecast: The farther north/west you go across the state, the brighter/drier/nicer your Sunday PM hours will be - the greater the odds of dry weather for the rocket's red glare around 10 pm Sunday evening.

* Big Variations: Monday's weather depends on where you live (there's a shocker). What I mean is - south of the MN River the risk of showers and T-storms will be MUCH greater than across central and northern MN - where Monday could wind up being partly to mostly sunny and dry.

* Coolest day: Sunday, because of clouds and scattered T-storms. Otherwise expect highs near 90 today, well into the 80s on Monday, but reading may hold in the 70s to near 80 on Sunday because of the cloud cover and spotty T-storm activity.

* How Much Rain? The latest NAM/WRF model prints out just over 1.4" of rain from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon in the greater St. Cloud area.

* Least wind: Monday. A light easterly breeze is expected, blowing at 5-10 mph, peaceful compared to today's whitecaps whipped up by near gale-force gusts. The sun should be out much of the day across most of the state, the only exception: far southern MN (close to the Iowa border), where showers and T-storms may linger.

June Rainfall. Roughly the southern half of June experienced a wetter than average June, rainfall amounts as much as 3-6" above average - the most extreme rainfall amounts near Mankato and the Winona area. More June rainfall data from the MN Climate Office is here.

Oil Spill Tracker. Hurricane Alex seems to have accelerated the flow of oil onto the Gulf Coast, as you'll see if you click over to the New York Time's interactive tracking device.

Thank Dan Rather. Dan was the first on-the-scene reporter to stand out in the middle of a hurricane (nearly 40 years ago). It launched his mega-career, and since then other reporters and anchors have imitated Gunga Dan, showing their bravery, fortitude and willingness to do ANYTHING to get the story! One of these days a reporter is going to get hit on the head by a windblown piece of debris, a missile traveling over 100 mph - it's only a matter of time. Click here for a story about hurricane-reporting in the New York Daily News.

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

Today: Hot sun, windy and humid. T-storms rumble into western MN by late afternoon/evening, a few may be severe. Winds: S 15-30. High: near 90

Saturday night: Scattered T-storms, some heavy. Low: 68

Sunday (4th of July): Unsettled with more clouds than sun, more showers and T-storms likely, especially morning/midday - some clearing possible later in the day over central/northern MN. Winds: W 10-15. High: 79

Monday: Plenty of sunshine, light winds. Showers possible over far southern MN, near the Iowa border - most of the state should be dry and pleasant. Winds: E 5-10. High: 84

Tuesday: Partly sunny, slight chance of a late-day shower or T-shower. High: 82

Wednesday: Mix of clouds and sun, a bit cooler. High: 78 (70s in greater MN).

Thursday: Mostly sunny and beautiful. High: 81

Friday: Morning sun, slight chance of PM T-storms. High near 80

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