Monday, July 10, 2017

Sticky Sun Gives Way To Strong Storms Overnight

Stormy Sunday Evening
Sunday evening was quite unsettled as scattered showers and storms rapidly developed across southern MN. Some of the storms went on to produce large hail, damaging winds and even tornadoes! The picture below shows towering cumulus clouds quickly developing across the area, which eventually turned into thunderstorms. 
Satellite Loop From Sunday Evening
The visible satellite loop below from Sunday evening into early Monday morning shows the thunderstorms that rapidly developed across the southern half of the state. Note how they seem to 'explode' just prior to sunset. This rapid development occurred because the atmosphere remained capped (too warm) for much of the day. Once this cap eventually broke, thunderstorms exploded as they fed off of the heat and humidity in place across the region.

Radar Loop From Sunday Evening

Take a look at the radar loop from Sunday evening below. Note how quickly the storms developed and became severe. Interestingly, much of the Twin Cities metro got missed, but parts of central, western and southern Minnesota got hammered!

Storm Reports From Sunday

There were 2 tornado reports yesterday across southern Minnesota. Bot of the reports were located in Blue Earth county. Thankfully there were no reports of injuries. Here are the reports:



Tornadic Storms in Southern MN Sunday Night

Here's a look at the radar loop from Sunday night's storms across southern MN. 

Radar reflectivity (left) and storm relative velocity (right) loop of tornadic storm in southern Nicollet & northwest Blue Earth Counties from 1005 PM through 1045 PM.

Tornado #1 - Near Courtland - EF0 - Estimated Peak Winds 70-75mph

This tornado occurred just west of Swan Lake about 3 miles north of Courtland in Nicollet County. 

Tornado #2 - North of Lake Crystal - EF1 - Winds 90-95mph

This tornado touched down approximately 4 miles north of Lake Crystal in Blue Earth.

4" Hail in Winthrop
There were also several large hail reports as these storms developed across the region. Take a look at this tweet from @Seth_Kaplan who got this picture from Winthrop where 4" hail fell! WOW!!

Severe Threat Tuesday

Here's the severe weather outlook from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center for Tuesday, which shows a fairly decent chance of strong to severe storms developing across the region. Here's a snippet from the NWS Twin Cities forecast discussion regarding the storm chance:
"The expectation is that storm initiation will again take place in the eastern Dakotas to northwest MN late afternoon to early evening, forming initially as discrete cells capable of large hail and isolated tornadoes. As the event progresses and thunderstorm coverage increases, a MCS- type formation is expected to occur which will transition the storm mode to large hail and straight-line damaging winds from central to southeastern MN into far western WI. Given the similarity of this setup to analogs, including what just occurred yesterday, confidence was high enough to post an Enhanced Risk of severe weather with a pocket of significant severe weather (EF2 or greater tornadoes, wind gusts 75mph or greater, or 2" hail or larger) for northwestern to west-central MN."

Simulated Radar 

The simulated radar from midday Tuesday to midday Wednesday shows a large cluster of strong to severe storms developing across the region late Tuesday, which will then drop southeast through the night and morning hours on Wednesday. Not only will severe weather be possible, but areas of heavy rain will be possible as well!
 Rainfall Potential Through PM Wednesday

Here's the rainfall potential through midday Thursday, which suggests heavy pockets of rain across parts of the state. At this point, the heaviest and most widespread rainfall appears to be across the northern half of the state with some 0.50" to 1"+ tallies possible.

Muggy Midweek Ahead!

Tuesday and Wednesday are going to be quite humid across the region as dewpoint rise into the 60s and low 70s. It is going to feel very steamy on Tuesday with temperatures warming to near 90F for some. 


Atlantic Outlook

According to NOAA's National Hurricane Center, there is a wave of energy in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean that has a low probability of tropical formation within the next 5 days. 

Eastern Pacific Outlook: Hurricane EUGENE

EUGENE continues in the Eastern Pacific and as of early Monday, EUGENE was a category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100mph. EUGENE is also the 2nd hurricane of the 2017 Eastern Pacific Hurricane season; the other hurricane was DORA.

Eastern Pacific Outlook: Tracking EUGENE

Here's the official track for Tropical Storm EUGENE, which suggests it starting to lose some steam as we head through the early week time frame. By Tuesday, EUGENE could be a tropical storm and by Wednesday it could be a tropical depression.


"Why do we name tropical storms and hurricanes?"

Have you ever wondered why we name tropical storms and hurricanes? Here's an excerpt from NOAA: "Until the early 1950s, tropical storms and hurricanes were tracked by year and the order in which they occurred during that year. Over time, it was learned that the use of short, easily remembered names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and reduces confusion when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time. In the past, confusion and false rumors resulted when storm advisories broadcast from radio stations were mistaken for warnings concerning an entirely different storm located hundreds of miles away. In 1953, the United States began using female names for storms and, by 1978, both male and female names were used to identify Northern Pacific storms. This was then adopted in 1979 for storms in the Atlantic basin."

(Hurricane Ike (2008), the third costliest storm in United States history)
National Weather Hazards Ahead...
1.) Heavy rain across portions of the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and the Central Appalachians, Thu, Jul 13.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic, Sat, Jul 15.
3.) Excessive heat across portions of the Southeast, the Mid-Atlantic,the Middle Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio Valley, Thu-Fri, Jul 13-Jul 14.
4.) Much above normal temperatures across portions of the Northern Plains, the Northern Rockies, and the Northern Great Basin, Thu-Mon, Jul 13-Jul 17.
5.) Much above normal temperatures across portions of interior mainland Alaska, Thu-Fri, Jul 13-Jul 14.
6.) Flooding possible across portions of the Central High Plains, the Central and Southern Rockies, and the Southwest.
7.) Flooding possible across portions of the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, and the Upper Mississippi Valley.
8.) Slight risk of much above normal temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Basin and eastward across Northern and Central Great Plains to the Great Lakes, Tue-Mon, Jul 18-Jul 24.
9.) Moderate risk of much above normal temperatures for portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Northern Plains, and the Northern Rockies, Tue-Fri, Jul 18-Jul 21.
10.) Severe Drought across the Southern Plains, California, Hawaii, the Northern Plains, and the Southwest.
Excessive Rainfall Potential Tuesday & Wednesday
According to NOAA's WPC, there is a risk of SLIGHT risk of excessive rainfall on Tuesday across parts of the Upper Midwest into parts of the Ohio Valley as several clusters of thunderstorms develop across the region. On Wednesday, the risk drops to MARGINAL, but continues across parts of the northern Ohio Valley/Great Lakes/Northeast and across parts of the Southwest.
Localized Heavy Rain Threats
With excessive rainfall potential in place over parts of the northern tier of the nation over the next couple of days, here's how much rain could fall through Thursday morning. Note that some spots could see up to 1" to 2"+ which could lead to localized areas of flooding.

Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through the early weekend, which shows unsettled weather conditions continuing across the northern tier of the nation. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be strong to severe weather locally heavy rainfall. There will also be areas of thunderstorm activity across the Intermountain West with monsoonal storms in the Desert Southwest. Also note Hurricane EUGENE fading in the Eastern Pacific as we head through the week.
PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Map
It certainly has been a fairly active first half of 2017 with 1139 preliminary tornado reports through July 9th. Note that this is the most tornadoes through July 9th since 2011, when there were nearly 1,600 reports. The map below shows the distribution of the tornadoes so far this year. 
PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY 2017 tornado count is 1139 (through July 9). Note that is the most active year for tornadoes since 2011, when there were nearly 1,600 tornadoes. Keep in mind there was a major tornado outbreak in the Gulf Coast region from April 25-28, 2011 that spawned nearly 500 tornadoes, some of which were deadly. That outbreak is known as the Super Outbreak of 2011 and has gone down in history as one of the biggest, costliest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history.

Not As Hot in the Southwest
The good news is that the excessive heat has subsided in the Southwest for now. Temperatures late last week and into the weekend were at record levels in quite a few locations. Here's a look at high temperatures for Tuesday, which will be a little closer to average and in fact, may even be a little cooler than average 

Record Heat Possible in the Northwest
The extended forecasts from Friday, Saturday & Sunday suggests that record to near record heat will be building into the Northwest. Some forecasts suggest that readings could be a good 15F to 20F+ above average, especially over the weekend. The images below show the potential record highs for Friday, Saturday & Sunday respectively.

Record Heat in the Mid-Atlantic Wednesday?
A surge of very warm and soupy air is expected to bubble up across the Mid-Atlantic region on Wednesday. With some locations nearly 10F+ above average record highs could be possible as highs warm into the upper 90s.
Alamo Fire - Near Santa Maria, California
According to Cal Fire, the Alamo Fire located Santa Maria, California has consumed nearly 29,000 acres since Thursday, July 6th. Unfortunately, the fire was only 15% contained as of early Monday with mandatory evacuations in place for Tepusquet Canyon. There are 1,664 people working on the fire, which is being fueled by the hot and dry conditions there. The satellite loop below shows smoke from the fire drifting northeast. 
@CAL_FIRE on Twitter
A good follow on Twitter for all California wildfire information is @CAL_FIRE. 
The Peak 2 Fire - Near Breckenridge, CO
According to Inciweb, the fire being dubbed the Peak 2 Fire, which is located 2 miles north of the Breckenridge Ski Resort has stopped spreading at this point and is considered to be 85% contained. Pre-Evacuation order have been lifted as well, so things seem to be getting under control after that fire quickly started and spread last week. Here's a excerpt from Fox 31 News (KDVR) regarding the fire: "The pre-evacuation orders for the Peak 2 Fire near Breckenridge were lifted Sunday afternoon. The fire was 84 acres in size and 85 percent contained as of Sunday evening, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said. It is burning in the Miner’s Creek drainage two miles north of Breckenridge Ski Area. There is no direct threat to the town of Breckenridge. Evacuations for nearly 500 residences were lifted Friday night, but the Peak 7 neighborhood remained on pre-evacuation status until Sunday afternoon."
Ongoing Large Wildfires
Here's a look at the current wildfires across the Western US. The recent hot weather has allowed tinder dry conditions to develop, which has led to several wildfires popping up
No Drone Zone: "Drones causing air support to be grounded during wildfires"
Here's an interesting story regarding drones causing air support to be grounded during wildfires! Here's the latest from Fox 31 in Denver (KDVR): "Fire departments statewide are pleading with the public to follow the rules when it comes to drones around active wildfires. Flying high above the ground, drones give a bird’s-eye view of the world. From cityscapes to places off-limits to the public, they can soar into fires like never before. “We certainly see the benefit in fact South Metro is seeing a few people to get properly trained,” South Metro Fire Rescue spokesman Eric Hurst said. However, sometimes drones can also be a hazard for fire crews. On Saturday, South Metro was one of four agencies responding to a grass fire in Sedalia. The 18-acre fire required air support but couldn’t utilize it as planned. “During [Saturday’s] incident, one of our fire crews observed a drone flying around the scene, so that triggers a lot of concerns for us,” Hurst said. A drone in the immediate area of a wildfire makes conditions too unsafe for airplanes. If the two collide, it could cause the plane to crash. “The pilots don’t want to be up in the air when they can’t communicate with another aircraft that’s flying next to them,” Hurst said. A similar situation happened at the Lightner Creek Fire in Durango last week. Planes carrying fire retardant were forced to drop their loads early and leave the area because of an unauthorized drone in the flight path. “We don’t want any kind of an accident to happen so at that point, aircraft is going to have to be grounded until we can find out who’s operating the drone and we can get them to stop,” Hurst said."
Truckee Fire - Located 10 Miles NW of Fernley, NV
According to Inciweb, one of the largest fires currently burning is located 10 miles NW of Fernley, NV. There are nearly 78 people working on a fire that has consumed nearly 100,000 acres since Monday, July 3rd. The good news is that the fire is now 95% contained, but the cause is unknown at this point.

Sticky Sun Gives Way To Strong Storms Overnight
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas
Evapotranspiration. Have you ever heard of it? It's kind of like plant sweat. If you're having a hard time keeping your hair frizz-free or seem to be going through deodorant at a more rapid rate as of late, blame it on the corn!
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, an acre of corn can sweat off about 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of water each day.  And according to the National Weather Service, the amount of corn in Iowa can pump out 49 to 56 billion gallons of water into the air each day. WOW!
"Corn sweat" can actually result in a 5 to 10 degree dewpoint increase on any given summer day. When temperatures start to soar, the boost in humidity can sometimes push heat indices into dangerous levels. Who knew corn could be so interesting?
Sticky sunshine Tuesday gives way to potentially strong/severe storms overnight. The Storm Prediction Center is highlighting the risk of damaging winds and thundery downpours across parts of the state. Don't be surprised if a few loud rumbles shake you out of bed. Very typical in July.
Extended Forecast
TUESDAY:Sticky sun. Winds: SSE 5-10. High: 88
TUESDAY NIGHT: Scattered storms. Some strong with heavy rain. Winds: SSE 5-10. Low: 72
WEDNESDAY: Lingering AM storm. Still quite sticky. Winds: NNW 5. High: 84.
THURSDAY: More sun. Feels like July. Winds: SE 5. Wake-up: 63. High: 81.
FRIDAY: Heating up! Getting sweaty again. Winds: SSW 5-10. Wake-up: 64. High: 88.
SATURDAY: Muggy. Stray PM rumble? Winds: NNE 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: 87
SUNDAY: A/C worthy. Nighttime storms develop. Wake-up: 68. High: 87.
MONDAY: Leftover AM shower. Still steamy. Wake-up: 67. High: 90.
This Day in Weather History
July 11th
1903: The temperature plummets down to 26 at Leech Lake Dam.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
July 11th
Average High: 84F (Record: 106F set in 1936)
Average Low: 64F (Record: 49F set in 1945)
Record Rainfall: 3.75" set in 1909
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
July 11th
Sunrise: 5:38am
Sunset: 8:59pm
Hours of Daylight: 15hours & 21mins
Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~1 minute and 23 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 20th): ~16 minutes
Moon Phase for July 10th at Midnight
2.1 Days AFTER Full "Buck" Moon
July 9, 12:07 a.m. EDT – Full Buck Moon. This moon appears during the time when the new antlers of buck deer push out from their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon since thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Sometimes it's also called the Full Hay Moon. Source:


Weather Outlook For Tuesday
The weather outlook for Tuesday calls for warm and sticky conditions. With highs in the mid/upper 80s and dewpoints in the 60s, it will feel like a very sticky day. 
UV Index for Tuesday - VERY HIGH
The UV Index will be considered VERY HIGH across much of the state of Minnesota on Tuesday, which means that it will only 15 to 20 minutes or less to burn unprotected skin. With that said, if you are planning on spending any extended length of time outside, make sure you wear appropriate attire and lather on the sun block!
Weather Outlook for Tuesday
Winds will be out of the south on Tuesday with a few wind gusts approaching 15mph/20mph by the afternoon.
Weather Outlook For Wednesday
Thunderstorms will likely push through the region late Tuesday/AM Wednesday, but in the wake of the storm, temperatures will drop a bit for Wednesday. High across the northern part of the state will only warm into the 60s and 70s, which will be nearly 10F below average.

UV Index for Wednesday - HIGH
Despite dealing with a little more cloud cover, the UV Index will be considered HIGH across much of the state of Minnesota on Wednesday, which means that it will only 20 to 30 minutes or less to burn unprotected skin. With that said, if you are planning on spending any extended length of time outside, make sure you wear appropriate attire and lather on the sun block!
Temperature Outlook
Here's the temperature outlook through July 25th, which shows very warm temperatures moving in as we head into the weekend and much of the 3rd week of July. If the forecast holds, we could be looking at several days with highs around or in the 90s. This would also likely come with high humidity values.
8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from July 19th to July 23rd suggests warmer than average temperatures moving back into the Upper Midwest. The middle part of the month could be quite steamy. Stay tuned...

Extended Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook through July 23rd shows much of the nation will be dealing with above normal temperatures around mid July. The only cool spot maybe located across parts of the Gulf Coast States and Tennessee Valley.
Weather Outlook This Week
The weather outlook over the next couple of days shows stormy weather continuing in the Northeastern US through midweek. Strong to severe storms will be possible along with areas of locally heavy rainfall and potentially some flooding. Meanwhile, monsoonal storms look to continue across the Desert Southwest.
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the next several days could produce areas of locally heavy rainfall across parts of the Midwest, northern Ohio Valley, Great Lakes and into the Northeast. This particular model suggests nearly 1" to 3"+ inches through the early weekend. There may also be a few pocket of heavy rain along the Gulf Coast and East Coast, while pockets of heavy rainfall could also be found in the Southwest.

"Drought maintains strong hold on Dakotas, Montana"
"Areas of severe drought  and extreme drought expanded this past week across eastern Montana, south-central North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota, where hot and dry conditions persisted, according to the United States Drought Monitor. Rainfall accumulations were generally less than 1 inch, providing little relief. In North Dakota, extreme drought conditions moved from 25 percent of the state to 30 percent of the state in the past week. The only counties that saw enough rain to lose drought status were Walsh, Nelson, Grand Forks and northern portions of Griggs, Steele and Traill on the east side of the state."
(Image Credit: Mike McCleary via BismarckTribune)

"Extreme heat broils the Dakotas and Montana; flash drought takes toll on wheat crop"
"A massive and intense heat dome has spread over the northern Plains and mountain West, sucking moisture out of the soil, and may persist for weeks. The scorching heat and absence of rain have spurred a rapidly intensifying drought that is decimating the region’s wheat crop. Temperatures in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas surged into the 90s and 100s on Wednesday, about 15 to 20 degrees above normal. Forecast models predict the same general weather pattern that supported this heat to persist up to two more weeks. The dry pattern commenced in the spring but intensified in recent weeks as the western heat dome settled in. Glasgow, Mont., had its record-driest April-through-June period. The suddenness of the drought’s onset and expansion has been remarkable. In early May, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified neither the Dakotas nor Montana in a drought. Eight weeks later, drought covered 47 percent of North Dakota, 34 percent of South Dakota, and much of the eastern third of Montana — and its intensity is severe to extreme in many areas. In late June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared 15 North Dakota counties as agricultural disaster areas."

Will global warming change Native American religious practices?
"The Colorado River, one of the longest rivers in the United States, is gradually shrinking. This is partly a result of overuse by municipalities and seasonal drought. The other reason is global warming. The decline in the river reservoir will have serious implications for large U.S. cities, such as Los Angeles, that depend on the Colorado River as their water source. In addition, this will also have an impact on the Native American tribes who view the Colorado River as sacred to their religions."
(Lake sturgeon on Bad River in Wisconsin. USFWSmidwest, CC BY)

"Why the Weather on the Great Plains Is So Extreme"
"It can be tough to live on the Great Plains. The flat terrain gives way to breathtaking views of both land and sky, but the smooth, fertile land is both good fortune and a curse when it comes to the weather. Whether it's an enormous thunderstorm or a ferocious blizzard, there's rarely a dull day when it comes to weather in the middle of the country. Just what is it about the central United States that makes the weather there so extreme? The unique geography that makes this part of the country so grand is what exposes it to some of the most extreme weather nature can produce. The Plains are bounded by the Rocky Mountains to the west, the Canadian Prairies to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The tall, jagged mountains of the Rockies act like an atmospheric dam, forcing hot air from the south and cold air from the north to pool up over the Plains. This helps to trigger some of the most interesting weather in the world."

"Oozing Methane Blasts Holes in Siberian Tundra"
"Escaping methane gas has blown at least two new holes in the Siberian tundra in the past few months, according to eyewitness accounts to the Siberian Times and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Reindeer herders northwest of the village of Seyakha in Siberia's far north reported seeing an eruption of fire and smoke on the morning of June 28 — an event caught on seismic sensors at 11 a.m. local time, according to The Siberian Times. Scientists visiting the site photographed a fresh crater blown into the banks of a river. Researchers also discovered a second, previously unknown crater in the Tyumen region of Siberia this month."

(A crater on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, reported in the spring of 2017. Credit: Itar-Tass/Zuma)

"Solar minimum is coming"
"The sun is heading towards another minimum in the 11-year sunspot cycle, say NASA scientists, expected in 2019-2020. During solar minimum, intense activity – such as sunspots and solar flares – subsides, and the suns’s activity changes form. This new NASA ScienceCast video will give you some basic facts about solar minimums, and what to expect with the one that’s coming. For example, during solar minimum, the sun can develop long-lived coronal holes, like the one on the sun now. And, during solar minimum, the effects of Earth’s upper atmosphere on satellites in low-Earth orbit changes. Plus, there are unique space weather effects that get stronger during solar minimum. All in all, the sun-Earth relationship – which is constantly in flux – has its own unique aspects during a solar minimum."

Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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