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Hot and Sticky Tuesday; Strong Storms Possible

Big Sky Snow??

Believe it or not, this was the view from Lone Peak in Big Sky, MT at 11,166 ft. on Monday afternoon. Yes, that's snow! The same storm system responsible for severe weather across parts of the Midwest was also responsible for this scene in the Northern Rockies.

Check out the latest webcam from Big Sky Resort HERE:

An Analog Life
By Paul Douglas

I'm no Luddite; I'm addicted to technology like everyone else. I experience mild anxiety disorder when I can't access Google Maps or stump Siri on my new iPhone 7(!) Yes, I'm an early adopter. And yet...

I have no interest in rewinding the clock - but digital only goes so far. I find it vaguely reassuring that vinyl still trumps MP3. My digital camera doesn't capture the magic of Kodachrome. Film looks far better than video. And for that matter a face-to-face meeting usually gets better results than an e-mail or a call. That stuff your mom taught you is true: the old ways are often best. For weather that means shoving the models aside and going with gut instinct. 1 km resolution satellite pics are great. So is looking out the window to "read the sky", factoring cloud types and trends. Take advantage of computers - but rely on your senses.

Storms rumble across the state Tuesday, and a few may turn severe. Dew points in the mid-70s will make it feel like mid-90s by late afternoon. Dew points drop into the 50s tomorrow, taking the edge off the heat.

Highs reach 85 to 90F the next 5 days before a stronger puff of Canadian air arrives next week. Hottest days behind us? Probably.
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MONDAY NIGHT: Muggy, few T-storms possible late. Low: 74. Winds: SE 15.

TUESDAY: Strong T-storms; feels like 95F. Dew point: 73. High: 88. Winds: SSE 15

TUESDAY NIGHT: Graual clearing. Low: 63. Winds: W 10-15

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, breezy, less humid. High: 84

THURSDAY: Sunny and warmer. fells like July. Dew point: 58. Wake-up: 66. High: 88

FRIDAY: Sunny, bordering on hot again. Wake-up: 67. High: 90

SATURDAY: Muggy, few pop-up T-storms. Wake-up: 69. High: 88

SUNDAY: Blue sky, another drop in humidity. Wake-up: 67. High: 83.

MONDAY: Warm sun, enjoying August. Wake-up: 64. High: 84.
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This Day in Weather History
July 28th

1987: Heavy rain at La Crosse, WI. Their rain bucket picked up 5 inches.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
July 28th

Average High: 83° (Record: 100° set in 1955)
Average Low: 64° (Record: 50° set in 1981)
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
July 28th

Sunrise: 5:54am
Sunset: 8:44pm
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Moon Phase for July 28th at Midnight
2.2 Days Until Full Moon


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Minneapolis Temperature Trend

Even though it has been a little warm and sticky as of late, it's hard to complain about our summer so far. Through July 26th, Minneapolis has only had two 90°+ days and according to NOAA's NCDC (1981-2010), we should have had about seven 90°+ days so far. Looking at the extended forecast below, it looks like Tuesday will be another warm and sticky one, but we get back to near average on Wednesday and look to stay near there through early August.


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Weather Outlook for Tuesday

Tuesday looks to be warm and sticky again. Temperatures (left) will warm into the upper 80s across the southern half of the state, while dewpoints (right) will warm into the 60s and 70s ahead of a cold front that will plow through late in the day.

Weather Outlook for Tuesday

Scattered showers and storms look to be ongoing across the region early Tuesday with additional thunderstorms developing later in the day. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be strong to severe with heavy rain. Note also the winds picking up across the Dakotas late in the day, this will become more of a factor for us on Wednesday as strong, gusty winds help to flush out the muggy weather midweek.

Severe Threat Tuesday

...SYNOPSIS... A PROGRESSIVE UPPER PATTERN WILL BRING A TROUGH EASTWARD FROM THE NORTHERN HIGH PLAINS TO THE UPPER MS VALLEY BY 12Z WED. A SURFACE COLD FRONT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL TRACK EAST SOUTHEAST ACROSS THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PLAINS DURING THE MORNING AND EXTEND FROM CENTRAL WI SOUTHWESTWARD THROUGH NORTHERN MO AND INTO SOUTHERN KS BY WEDNESDAY MORNING. THIS WILL SERVE AS A FOCUS FOR STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT FROM THE MID/UPPER MS VALLEY INTO PARTS OF THE CENTRAL PLAINS. FURTHER EAST...A SERIES OF SHORTWAVE IMPULSES WILL MIGRATE EAST/SOUTHEAST ACROSS NEW ENGLAND AS AN UPPER TROUGH OVER NORTHERN QUEBEC SHIFTS SOUTHEAST TOWARD NEW BRUNSWICK. SCATTERED THUNDERSTORMS...SOME STRONG...WILL BE POSSIBLE DURING THE AFTERNOON.

...UPPER MIDWEST/MO VALLEY TO THE CENTRAL PLAINS... CONVECTION WILL LIKELY BE ONGOING ACROSS PARTS OF MN/WI AND PERHAPS AS FAR SOUTH AS IA TUESDAY MORNING. THIS EARLY-DAY CONVECTION MAY PRODUCE SOME MARGINALLY SEVERE WIND/HAIL. THIS EARLY CONVECTION ALSO WILL COMPLICATE THE SCENARIO FOR AFTERNOON DESTABILIZATION ACROSS THE REGION DUE TO CLOUD DEBRIS AND OUTFLOWS TRAVERSING THE AREA. FORECAST GUIDANCE CONTINUES TO INDICATE THE BEST AREA FOR AIRMASS RECOVERY/DESTABILIZATION WILL BE NEAR THE SOUTHERN EDGE OF MORNING CONVECTION AND RESIDUAL CLOUD SHIELD FROM FAR SOUTHERN MN/SOUTHWEST WI INTO IA AND PERHAPS AS FAR SOUTH AS NORTHERN MO. HERE...A NARROW WARM SECTOR AHEAD OF THE SURFACE COLD FRONT WILL EXIST WITH DEWPOINTS IN THE UPPER 60S TO LOW 70S...RESULTING IN POCKETS OF MODERATE INSTABILITY DURING PEAK HEATING. STRONGER FORCING AND EFFECTIVE SHEAR WILL RESIDE JUST NORTH OF THE BEST THERMODYNAMICS BUT SHOULD STILL BE SUFFICIENT FOR ORGANIZED BOWS/LINE SEGMENTS...AND PERHAPS AN ISOLATED SUPERCELL OR TWO...CAPABLE OF HAIL AND STRONG WINDS. TO THE SOUTHWEST INTO FAR SE NEB AND SOUTHERN/CENTRAL KS...MORE ISOLATED...HIGH-BASED CONVECTION IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ALONG THE COLD FRONT. STEEP LAPSE RATES AND A DEEPLY MIXED BOUNDARY LAYER WILL BRING A RISK FOR STRONG DOWNBURST WINDS WITH ANY STORMS THAT FORM IN THIS AREA.


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Rainfall Outlook

Rainfall potential through midweek looks fairly impressive across the southern part of the state with as much as 1"+ possible. Keep in mind that within heavier thunderstorm activity, heavy rainfall amounts can't be ruled out.

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Rainfall Month To Date

It has already been a fairly wet month across the region. Note that the 2"+ rainfall (red coloring) covers much of the state, while nearly 4" to 6"+ seems pretty widespread as well.

Wet July Thus Far...

Here are some of the highest rainfall tallies from local Minnesota CoCoRaHs sites so far this month. Note the near 10" 4 miles south of Afton, MN!

16th Wettest July on Record for Minneapolis

As of July 26th, Minneapolis has seen it's 16th wettest July on record with 6.03" of rain. Interestingly, MSP would still need an additional 10"+ to get close to the wettest July on record of 17.90" set in 1987.

8th Wettest July on Record for St. Cloud, MN

As of July 26th, St. Cloud, MN has seen it's 9th wettest July on record with 6.10" of rain. The wettest July on record was set in 1897 with 12.81" of rain.


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National Weather Outlook

A vigorous area of low pressure tracking along the international border through midweek will be responsible for widely scattered strong to severe storms across parts of the Midwest/Ohio Valley through Wednesday. The tightly wound nature of the storm system will also make for breezy winds for locations close to the storm system over the next several days as well.


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Severe Threat Tuesday

Severe Threat Wednesday


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5 Day Rainfall Forecast

According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day rainfall forecast suggests heavy pockets of rain across parts of the High Plains, Central U.S. and into the Southeast. Flooding and Flash Flooding be an issue for some where the heaviest rainfall sets up within these areas.


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Interesting Weather Stats: Indianapolis, IN

It has been a very wet month of Indianapolis, IN as well! In fact, so wet that not only is the 13.13" of rain (through July 26th) good enough for the wettest July on record, but it's also good for the wettest month on record, beating that of 13.12" set in 1875

Here are a few more interesting weather stats from the National Weather Service in Indiana @NWSIndianapolis


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MN Storm Reports This July

July has been a fairly active month. According to NOAA's SPC, there have been nearly 150 severe weather reports, 8 of which were tornadoes. However, most of the reports were wind damage reports due to multiple straight line wind events that rumbled across the state earlier this month.

July 17th-18th, 2015 Damaging Wind Event

Here is one of those particular events that unfolded July 17th-18th with multiple wind damage reports that included parts of the Twin Cities. This line of storms was also responsible for 2 of the 8 tornado reports so far this month. 


 

Tornadoes, Funnel Clouds and Hail, Oh My!

Last week, parts of Canada were getting hit by severe storms. A funnel cloud and large hail was reported in Calgary.

A tornado touched down southwest of Calgary on Wednesday, Environment Canada officials confirmed after lifting warnings for the city and surrounding communities. A line of thunderstorms brought funnel clouds, rain, and hail as large as golf balls to south Calgary as it moved over the city. Environment Canada issued a warning for Calgary and several other Alberta communities after a tornado was reported 10 kilometres north of Priddis at 12:53 p.m. MT, according to Environment Canada. "We have a storm spotter who did report a tornado on the ground," said Bill McMurtry, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the agency. "Since that time [we] have had video confirmation. It looks like we had a brief touch down of a tornado for areas to the southwest of the city." Trees may have been damaged when the tornado touched down, he added. There are also reports of damage on the nearby Tsuu T'ina First Nation. "It appears at this time that the City of Calgary has had another brush with a major weather event, but we don't believe we sustained any major damage," said Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency. 

See the full story from CBC HERE:

(Image courtesy: @dartanner via Twitter)


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Dallas, TX Heat

It's hot and sticky across the Central U.S., but interestingly, Dallas, TX saw its first 100° day of 2015 finally on Sunday. That makes it the 20th latest first 100° day on record. 

Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your week and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

Sticky Monday - Free Sauna Tuesday - Midweek Relief

Hint of Dog Days

It's easy for meteorologists to get caught up in our models, minutia and Doppler-babble and miss the forest through the trees. "We haven't seen many perfect days this summer" my wife mentioned, staring up at Sunday's cloudless sky. "You know, where it's sunny and hot the entire day. No clouds, no storms?" She had a point. I tried to explain how a southward shift in the jet stream, a nagging northwest wind flow aloft, has keep an unsettled, thundery boundary hundreds of miles farther south than normal, over MSP. That's a result of a stalled ridge of record heat straddling the western USA.

At which point she politely changed the subject.

The Dog Days are named after Sirius, the brightest star in the nighttime sky. Ancient Greeks believed Sirius rising in the east added to the heat of the sun, making it even hotter this time of year.

Highs flirt with 90F this afternoon; a squall line of strong to severe T-storms may keep us out of the 90s Tuesday, but a dew point in the mid-70s will leave us with a "breath-taking" day. A puff of faint Canadian relief arrives midweek, a second cooler, fresher front sweeping south of the border next weekend. More 3-star blue-ribbon days ahead.


* Image credit: astronomy.org.


Dry Monday - Stormy Tuesday. Most of the models bring a line of strong T-storms across the state of Minnesota Tuesday morning, with enough residual cloudiness to keep temperatures in the upper 80s to near 90F, not as hot as we would be without morning convection. Behind Tuesday's front - a surge of drier, slightly cooler air with a noticeable dip in humidity.


Tuesday: Wettest Day of the Week. The 00z NAM predicts .64" of rain Tuesday morning, which is an average. Some towns will see more, others less, but I don't think we're looking at a flash flood scenario tomorrow morning. Source: Iowa State.


Moderately Wet Next 7 Days. NOAA model guidance prints out 1-3" amounts from near La Crosse to the Quad Cities and Des Moines, as much as 6-8" for Florida, where there are still hints of a tropical disturbance forming by the end of this week. Much of Minnesota will pick up .5" to 1.5" by next Sunday.


Midweek Dew Point Dip. Today will be uncomfortable - Tuesday should border on beastly-humid with dew points rising in the 70s. And then a frontal passage turns winds to the northwest Wednesday and dew point drop into the upper 50s to near 60 the latter half of the week.


El Nino Likely To Spur More Floods Throughout USA This Fall. The Pacific Ocean is warm and energized, helping to spawn a near-record number of hurricanes and typhoons. Some of that added energy may manifest itself into a wetter pattern into the winter months, especially southern USA from California to Atlanta and the east coast. Here's an excerpt from wtsp.com in Tampa: "...Plus, this year's El Niño is forecast to be a record-setting one by the National Weather Service. An El Niño is a weather phenomenon marked by warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures that produces severe weather throughout the world. A warmer ocean transfers more water vapor into the air which, when shaken loose by storms, results in heavier and more concentrated precipitation. Last week's eastern Kentucky flood along with those that hit Texas in late May and June — the most devastating in the state's history — may foreshadow what's to come in certain parts of the country..." (Image credit here).


An Inconvenient Smudge. Radar technology gave the allied powers a distinct advantage during World War II. Tracking enemy planes and ships in real time provided a military edge. Around 1941 British radar operators noticed irritating smudges on their screens; interference that made it harder to pick out legitimate targets. It quickly dawned on them that they were witnessing rain shafts, and the race was on to perfect "Radio Detection And Ranging" or radar for short. Today's sophisticated "dual-polarization" Doppler radars not only see wind circulations within storms but can signal precipitation type, even detect clouds of debris thrown up by a tornado on the ground. Satellites, transistors, the Internet, moon walks - you can make a strong argument that conflict is the mother of invention. (File radar image above courtesy of Wikipedia.)


Summer Temperatures, To Date. Temperatures have been average to slightly below average, as of July 23. Here are a few bullet points that caught my eye:

* Average temperature so far this summer (June 1 - July 23) is 70.8°
 
* According to my calculations, taking the average temperatures for the same period from 1981-2010 and averaging them, that average is 70.9°. So it would appear we are about on average.
 
* Warmest June 1 - July 23 on record is 77.1° in 1933. Coolest June 1 - July 23: 64.6° in 1915. (Random? Yes. But I had the numbers.)
 
* June was 0.8 degrees above average, with an average monthly temperature of 69.7.
 
* Warmest low temperature: 68 on July 18. (So no 70+ lows so far this summer).
 

* Two 90 degrees so far this summer.

Summer temperature data courtesy of AerisWeather meteorologist D.J. Kayer.


59 Weather-Related Disaster Declarations in Minnesota since 1953. It's a dead heat between flooding and severe storms; ironic - based on our Nanook reputation - that only one disaster declaration was snow-related. 59 compares with 44 weather-related disaster declarations in Wisconsin, 59 in Iowa, 119 in Florida and 247 separate disaster declarations in Texas. The higher risk in the Red River Valley is a function of enhanced spring flooding risk. If only the Red River didn't flow north. More details at FEMA.gov.


June: Peak Month for Weather-Related Disasters. This is consistent with other statistics I've seen for Minnesota; the atmosphere most unstable, volatile (and moist) in June, capable of supporting severe storms and tornadoes.


How Disaster-Prone Is Your County? Hennepin County has experienced 15 weather-related disaster declarations since 1953. Click here to drill down to Minnesota, then your home county.


Close Call in Eau Claire. A friend of mine sent me more information about the Blake Shelton performance at Country Jam in Eau Claire Friday evening. This is still one of our worst-case scenarios, the kind of dilemma that keeps us up at night. Tens of thousands of people watching a concert or watching a sporting event - how do you move them all quickly and safely to shelter? In some cases it may not be possible. That's why it's good to have a radar app or two on your smartphone and keep an eye on it yourself. Don't put your safety - or fate - into anyone else's hands.

"Friday night was a close call with the weather.  We took our daughter and a friend to Country Jam.  By the time the headliner, Blake Shelton, took the stage, a storm was moving into Chippewa County to the north.  It was quite the lightning show, but it looked like the storm would pass 15 miles to the north of the concert site.  When a tornado warning was issued within the county, local emergency managers decided to shut down the concert and send approximately 25,000 home..."


How This El Nino Is And Isn't Like 1997. Just like no two storms are identical no two El Nino warming phases are carbon copies. The stronger the warming signal in the Pacific, the greater the odds of a turn to wetter weather, even flooding for California by the winter months. Here's a snippet of a good explainer at Climate Central: "...We think that the strength of [El Niño] is important,” L’Heureux said, but the exact strength it achieves is no guarantee of impacts similar to 1997, “and that’s simply because there’s other stuff going on,” she said. “El Niño is not the only ball game in town.” So where does that leave us in terms of looking ahead to what El Niño might bring this winter? We have an event that is looking more and more robust (when comparing June 2015 to June 1997, the broad ocean temperature patterns are very similar) and forecasting models are in pretty good agreement that that event will strengthen as we head towards winter and El Niño’s typical peak. But exactly when it will peak and what its final strength will be is still uncertain. Even more uncertain is what those other influences on U.S. weather will be..."


Canadian Lightning Strike Survivor Wins Lotto. No way. CTV News and TIME have the mind-boggling details; here's the intro: "The odds that Peter McCathie would be struck by lightning and win the lotto are approximately 1 in 2.6 trillion Peter McCathie quite literally defied the odds. The Canadian man, who was previously struck by lightning when he was 14, collected his Atlantic Lottery winnings on Monday..."


87 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

83 F. average high on July 26.

86 F. high on July 26, 2014.

Trace of rain fell at MSP International Airport Sunday.

July 27, 1910: Giant hailstones in Todd and Wadena Counties. One stone weighed in at 5 pounds


TODAY: Hot sun, sticky. Feels like mid-90s. High: 89

MONDAY NIGHT: Muggy, few T-storms possible late. Low: 75

TUESDAY: Strong T-storms; feels like 95-100F. Dew point: 75. High: 91

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, breezy, less humid. Wake-up: 69. High: 84

THURSDAY: Warm sunshine. Dew point: 63. Wake-up: 64. High: 87

FRIDAY: Sunny, bordering on hot again. Wake-up: 67. High: 89

SATURDAY: Muggy, few pop-up T-storms. Wake-up: 70. High: 87

SUNDAY: Blue sky, another drop in humidity. Wake-up: 66. High: 82


Climate Stories....

The Most (And Least) Extreme Republican Presidential Candidates on Climate Change. Thank God for Lindsey Graham, who sounds almost reasonable compared to the other candidates. Here's an excerpt from ThinkProgress: "...After he announced his presidential run, however, Graham seemed to take up the banner of climate change again. “If I’m president of the United States, we’re going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way,” he told CNN. He said people should ask other candidates, “What is the environmental policy of the Republican party?” “When I ask that question, I get a blank stare.” While addressing emissions in a business-friendly way could mean any number of things, a Graham presidency would not start out the gate trying to put President Obama’s climate agenda into reverse..."

Image credit above: AP photos/graphic via Patrick Smith.


Investors Could Lose $4.2 Trillion Because of Climate Change, Report Warns. Here's the intro to a story at The Guardian: "Private investors stand to lose $4.2tn (£2.7tn) on the value of their holdings from the impact of climate change by 2100 even if global warming is held at plus 2C, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has warned. If firm action is not taken at the forthcoming climate change talks in Paris and the Earth’s temperature warms by a further 5C then investors are facing losses of almost $7tn at today’s prices, new research shows..."

Photo credit above: "The future is grim for private holdings in fossil fuel companies over action – or inaction – around climate change." Photograph: Daniel Reinhardt/EPA.


Jeb Bush Calls for End To Fossil Fuel Subsidies. Here's a clip from an update at NationalJournal: "eb Bush wants to get rid of tax credits for the oil and gas industry. "I think we should phase out, through tax reform, the tax credits for wind, for solar, for the oil and gas sector, for all that stuff," the 2016 Republican candidate said in New Hampshire on Wednesday, according to a video recorded by grassroots environmental group 350 Action..."

July 23 photo credit: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist/The New York Times.