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Paul Douglas on Weather

Weather Back To Work

Snapshot across the nation

It's all about the record head for the southwest as they sweat back to work. Temperatures should top close to or above 100 degrees from Los Angeles to Phoenix. Much of southern California, including LA will be under an Excessive Heat Warning Monday through Tuesday. Gross and dangerous!

On top of that, The SW will be sweltering in the oven for another reason. Dry and breezy weather will bring elevated to critical fire weather conditions (again) for most of the week ahead there. Gusty Santa Ana winds will be a concern for southern California through at least Tuesday.

The eastern half of the lower 48 will have completely different problems to face... A fairly strong cold front will continue to race across the eastern third of the good ol' US of A. As things stand at the moment... there is a MARGINAL RISK (dark green) of severe thunderstorms from Savanna to Washington DC on Monday. Quite a few storms may 'show off' and drop a possibility of damaging wind gusts Monday afternoon into Monday night for the mid-Atlantic states (pictured below).

The MARGINAL RISK moves east to New England on Tuesday. New York City and Boston will be on the lookout for the potential of some damaging wind gusts (pictured below).

How Minnesota's Climate is Changing

1. The state is getting warmer and wetter

Annual average precipitation is projected to increase by mid-century, with increases most likely occurring in the winter and spring - Source.

2. More on that warmth... It's re-writing the record books

Minnesota has recently experienced 10 of its top 20 warmest years on record dating back to 1895 (image below credit: The Weather Channel). Two of the state’s top five warmest years have happened in the last five years. This is going by average temperature for the state per year.

This warming has been concentrated in the winter while summers have not warmed much. The summer warming has been mostly an increase in nighttime temperatures, with the coolest nights of summer becoming warmer.

3. Bless You! Longer Allergy Seasons

Ragweed season in Minneapolis has grown 21 days longer since 1995 because the season’s first frost arrives later. Poor air quality days could also become more numerous due to hotter temperatures. The risk of some diseases carried by insects may also increase (source EPA). Always check for ticks!

4. Agriculture

Changing the climate is likely to have both positive and negative effects here. Warmer weather has extended the growing season by about 15 days since the beginning of the 20th century.

Longer frost-free growing seasons and higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide would increase yields of soybeans and wheat during an average year. But increasingly hot summers may reduce yields of corn. More severe droughts or floods would also hurt crop yields (source EPA).

5. Lakes Aren't staying frozen as long...

Ice cover on Minnesota’s lakes is building later than usual and melting sooner in spring. The length of time snow covers the ground may also dwindle with warmer winters. Central Minnesota’s Lake Osakis date of ice out in spring has been trending sooner and sooner since 1867. Three of the top five earliest ice out dates have occurred since 2000 (image credit:

Back To Work And School... Forecast This Week

October is winding down on the calendar... and the 7-day is really showing that! We got some chilly things happening in the days ahead.

Monday brings a possibility of scattered and stray sprinkles and light showers. A NW breeze drops in from Canada later in the day... this will bring us a fall-time cool-down early in the week.

Tuesday looks cloudy in the morning... sunny in the afternoon. But chilly and windy. Highs only manage 40s as a result. Sweaters and fall jackets are definitely a stylish recommendation.

Wednesday looks fine. We're in between weather-makers. Sunny and mid 50s. Then heaters at the ready! Yes, we are watching for a chance of rain and snow showers Thursday into Friday morning with a chilly weather-maker. But it's still just that... a chance. I'll leave it at that. Also, ignore that sunny and 32 on Sunday... that's likely wrong.

Have a great day!

– Meteorologist Joe Hansel

Stay classy, fellow weather nerds. Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

Winter Outlooks, Hot Off The Presses!

The official Winter Outlooks are out... but CAUTION is advised.

Oh can you believe it? Winter is closing in. Fans of Game Of Thrones perhaps would say winter is coming! Eh, that's a bit too cheesy. In reality, winter really isn't that far around the corner at this point.

Cheesy and cliché comments aside... let's take a quick look ahead at this very long range forecasting stuff. Keep in mind, this outlook is NOT completely perfect but it does give us a general idea at what you can expect for winter. There is a lot of model uncertainty and error involved since we are trying to generalize things for an entire 3 month period, across the entire nation. The USA is huge! Forecasting winter for the whole country is a challenge, to say the least.

So let's get down to the nuts and bolts here. NOAA, The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recently released their 2017 winter outlook. It shows both the temperature and precipitation outlook for December through February (meteorological winter). You can see both images referencing this below. So here we go!

What we can see here are fairly decent chances that portions of the northern lower 48 have a fairly HIGH probability of a COLDER (colored in blue) and WETTER (colored in green) winter. The southern half has a higher chance of a relatively dry (brown) and warm (red) winter. The darker the color on the map, the higher this probability. Interestingly, Alaska is divided warm and wet to the west and cold to the southeast. But that is typical of La Niña!

NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) are generally basing much of this on us having a La Niña year... which is what it looks like we're going to have.

La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, compared to El Niño. In a typical La Nina winter... you have better odds of having WARMER than average temperatures for much of the southern lower 48. It would also be DRIER than average during winter (shown in image below).

It gets a little bit cooler in the portions of the north as that polar jet stream plummets south over North America from that strong high pressure that sets up over the Pacific. A La Niña winter climatologically sees more cold air outbreaks over the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Great Lakes regions.

That would influence more flakes flying in the mountains out west. Also, if those cold outbreaks time just right over the Great Lakes... that could mean more wet, lake effect snow events.

So according to this... Minnesota generally stands to have a colder and wetter than average winter. But again, take this outlook with a grain of salt.

Significant Minnesota cooldown looms... & perhaps the 1st snowflakes of the season... maybe???

Yes, you read that right. I encourage you to get all of your collective gasps out of the way now... because there is not a whole lot about the 'S' word to get excited about... at least not at this time.

Let's walk through your Twin Cities metro 7-day forecast, shall we (pictured below)?

Sunday looks fabulous! Highs in the low to mid 60s with plenty of sunshine. Enjoy!

We sneakily get back near 60 degrees or so Monday before a strong and rather chilly NW breeze plummets in from Canada in a hurry. Tuesday settles right near 50 degrees with lows in the chilly 30s Tuesday night. Fall jackets, anyone? A few rain showers are possible Monday night.

Thursday brings a fairly decent chance of rain showers in the afternoon. And then comes the uncertainty to wrap up the week.

I will mention a chance of rain and snow showers as easily the COLDEST air of the season rocks into Minnesota Friday into Saturday. All long term models can agree on the big cool-down coming (not sure if we'll get as cold as a high of 33 on Saturday though...).

That sun icon you see on Friday is just wrong. We will be watching for chances of rain and snow showers for much of Minnesota Thursday night through Friday night. However... c'mon, dear reader. It is still WAY too early to start talking snow timing and amounts. There's tons of uncertainty right now. Like me, you'll have to stay tuned when a more accurate forecast comes out later this week.

I have problems with snowfall forecasts more than one day out of a potential event... much less 5+ days out. It's still too early to tell if we'll be shaking the Minnesota snow globe by the end of the week.

Have a great day! Sunday will sure be a beauty :)

– Meteorologist Joe Hansel

Stay classy, fellow weather nerds. Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.