Lightning Strikes Texas Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway had a thunderstorm move through the area Thursday. Apparently lightning struck the track, leaving this hole in the middle. This is one of the many reasons why you should shelter inside when a thunderstorm is approaching/in the area! See the full tweet (and comments) by clicking here.
Highs Near 80 Today - Fall Begins This Week
By D.J. Kayser, filling in for Paul Douglas

We are nearing the end.

The end of summer, that is. Astronomical fall officially beings this Thursday at 9:21 AM, meaning you only have a few more days to enjoy what is left of summer. On Thursday, the sun will be directly overhead the equator, creating nearly equal amounts of day and night.

Unfortunately, that means we have to be losing daylight to to be able to get close to equal day and night. Right now we are losing a little more than three minutes of daylight a day here in the Twin Cities, and on the 25th of this month we will start our long stretch of days with less than 12 hours of sunlight. We won't see more than 12 hours of sunlight again until March 17, 2017, right around the beginning of spring.

The good news is that it'll continue to feel like summer today across the region, with highs soaring to near 80 under sunny skies. Nice weather will continue into the beginning of the week, but fall looks to start on a rainy note across the region, with 2-4" of rain possible from Wednesday into next weekend.

Extended Forecast for Minneapolis
SUNDAY: Mainly sunny. High 79. Low 61. Chance of precipitation 10%. Winds S 5-10 mph.
MONDAY: Mainly sunny, a touch cooler. High 77. Low 54. Chance of precipitation 10%. Winds W 5-10 mph.
TUESDAY: Blue skies. Storm chance overnight. High 75. Low 58. Chance of precipitation 20%. Winds SE 3-5 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Storms with heavy rain. High 72. Low 58. Chance of precipitation 50%. Winds SE 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY: More rain, especially early. High 72. Low 57. Chance of precipitation 40%. Winds E 3-5 mph.
FRIDAY: Another round of rain. High 72. Low 58. Chance of precipitation 30%. Winds SE 5-10 mph.
SATURDAY: Lingering showers possible. High 71. Low 57. Chance of precipitation 30%. Winds SE 5-10 mph.


This Day in Weather History
September 18

1997: An F3 tornado destroys several buildings and damages numerous others. Hundreds of trees are knocked down. A number of cattle are also killed in a collapsed barn. One man is injured when the tornado engulfs his car and throws it into a nearby woods. A second man is critically injured when his garage collapses, then dies several weeks later. The total path length of the tornado from 1 NE of Lastrup to Onamia is 17 miles. Total property damage is estimated at $1.7 million. In total, 6 tornadoes touch down in Morrison, Mille Lacs, and Kanabec.

1991: Duluth gets 2.5 inches of snow five days before the beginning of Fall.

1971: A brush fire at Lake Alexander in Morrison County spawns a 10-foot wide, 50-foot high 'fire whirl.' It moved out over the lake, overturned a 1,800 pound pontoon boat, and then dissipated as it moved back to shore.

1903: 3.75 inches of rain falls in the Minneapolis area.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
September 18th

Average High: 71F (Record: 93F set in 1891)
Average Low: 51F (Record: 32F set in 1939)
Average Precipitation: 0.10" (Record: 3.75" set in 1905)

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
September 18th

Sunrise: 6:56 AM
Sunset: 7:17 PM

*Length Of Day: 12 hours, 21 minutes and 9 seconds
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes and 6 secondss

*Next Sunrise That Is At/After 7 AM: September 21st (7:00 am)
*Next Sunset That Is Before 7 PM: September 28th (6:58 pm)


Minnesota Weather Outlook

Expected Highs Sunday.

We'll see highs Sunday a good 5-10 degrees warmer vs. Saturday across most of Minnesota, with highs approaching 80 here in the Twin Cities. Highs will be in the 80s across parts of southern Minnesota. Otherwise, 70s will be quite common across the state - the only place they won't be is along parts of the north shore of Lake Superior up toward Grand Marais, which will be stuck in the 60s.

Warmth is the continued story in the temperature department over the next week, with highs in the 70s likely though the end of the week. The warmest day looks to be Sunday as we approach 80. Looking long term, we continue to watch hints in the models of a cool down for the last week of the month. With astronomical fall ending this week, the temperatures will have to start trending downward at some point, unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you view it).

The rain chances ramp up across the region heading into the middle to end of the week, with currently two distinct chances in the models - one Wednesday into Thursday, and another one next Friday into Sunday. Rain totals could be heavy according to the models, with the potential of 2"+ over the next week in the Twin Cities. It may sound like a broken record over the past few months, but more precipitation is likely for the last week of the month.

Potential rainfall totals through next Saturday morning could be between 1-2" across the Twin Cities, with a widespread half an inch or greater across the southern two-thirds of the state. The greatest rainfall right now over the next week looks to be across parts of southeast Minnesota and parts of west-central/southwest Wisconsin, where 4"+ is possible.

National Weather Stories
On Sunday, areas along the East coast and across parts of the South could see showers and thunderstorms along a cold front. Elsewhere, a few storms may pop in the upper Midwest associated with a warm front, and showers will be possible in the Northwest.
Highs on Sunday will range from the 60s in parts of Northwest (70s across the rest of the northern tier of states) to the 90s across parts of California and the Desert Southwest as well as portions of the South and Southeast. We will easily see a few locations in the Desert Southwest topping 100 on Sunday, with a forecast of 106 in Yuma.
The cool spot of the nation Sunday will be in the Northwest, where highs will be between 5-10 degrees below average. The rest of the nation looks to be mainly at or above average.
Drought In Massachusetts
Extreme drought - the second highest category - expanded to cover over half the state of Massachusetts this week. Eric Fisher takes a look at what it would take to end the drought over at CBS Boston: "In an odd and frustrating twist, it has rained 9 out of the first 15 days in September over they city of Boston. But it’s been a sprinkle here and a couple hundredths there. Maddening. Now mired in one of the worst droughts in southern New England history, it’s going to take much more than scattered showers or even a tropical system to get us out of the hole."
iPhone 7 Has A Barometric Vent
Apparently Apple has put a barometric vent in the new iPhones in the space where the headphone jack used to be. What does that mean? More from The Verge: "Apparently adding all the waterproofing to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus meant that it was more of a sealed box, and so to be able to have an accurate and working barometer, Apple used that space. The barometer is the thing that allows a phone to measure altitude, and Apple points out that on the iPhone 7 it can measure even minor changes like climbing a flight of stairs."

Thanks for checking in and have a great Sunday! Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser


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