It certainly has been a fairly active first half of 2017 with 1390 preliminary tornado reports through October 5th. Note that this is the most tornadoes through that date since 2011, when there were 1,797 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 1390 (through October 5th). Note that is the most active year for tornadoes since 2011, when there were 1,797 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.
National Weather Hazards Ahead...
1.) Heavy rain from the Southern Appalachians to the Northeast, Mon-Tue, Oct 9-Oct 10.
2.) Heavy snow across portions of Colorado, Mon, Oct 9.
3.) Flooding possible across portions of the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Northern Plains.
4.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of Florida and the Southern Plains.
5.) High winds across portions of the Central Great Basin and Northern California, Mon, Oct 9.
6.) High winds across portions of Southern California, Mon-Tue, Oct 9-Oct 10.
7.) High winds across southwest portions of mainland Alaska and the western Aleutians, Thu-Fri, Oct 12-Oct 13.
8.) High significant wave heights for coastal portions of the Aleutians, Thu-Fri, Oct 12-Oct 13.
9.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of Northern California, the Central Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, and the Northern Great Basin, Sat-Sun, Oct 14-Oct 15.
10.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Northern Plains, Hawaii, the Northern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, and the Upper Mississippi Valley.
Latest Drought Monitor
Here's the latest drought update from the US Drought Monitor, which shows EXCEPTIONAL drought conditions continuing across parts of Montana. Note that nearly 90% of the state is considered to be abnormally dry, but the EXCEPTIONAL drought covers nearly 10% of the state, which is down from nearly 18% from last week. In North Dakota, less than 1% is in an EXCEPTIONAL drought, but nearly 3% of the state is still in an EXTREME drought, which is also the same as last week.
Rice Ridge Fire - 1.4 Miles NE of Seeley Lake, MT
The Rice Ridge Fire near Sleeley Lake, MT is another very large wildfire that started on Monday, July 24th due to lightning. The fire has grown to more than 160,000 acres and is 96% contained. There are 19 people working on the fire and they hope to have it fully contained by Sunday, October 15th.
"The Northern Rockies Wildland Fire Management Team is transitioning with the local Type 3 organization Tuesday Oct 3 at 6 p.m. Remaining operations will be managed by Phil Shilmerdine, Incident Commander. The Rice Ridge Fire was detected on July 24, 2017. It grew to the current size of over 160,000 acres. With a change of the weather and the onset of fall, fire activity has significantly slowed although firefighters and engines continue to patrol and cool hot spots that are near the fire's edge. The perimeter in the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wildernesses are continually monitored for heat and fire activity."
(Image Credit: Inciweb - taken on 10/3/2017)
Diamond Creek Fire - Mazama, Washington
The Diamond Creek Fire near Mazama, Washington is a very large wildfire in the Western US that started on Sunday, July 23rd and has grown to more than 128,000 acres! There are nearly 19 people working on this fire, which is 85% contained. The estimated containment date is set for Sunday, October 15th.
"Incident Summary: The Diamond Creek Fire was reported on July 23, 2017 at approximately 9:45 a.m. The fire is burning in the Pasayten Wilderness and Eightmile drainage about 11 miles north of Mazama, Washington. Smokejumpers responded to the fire within two hours of it being reported. However, due to extreme terrain, heavy dead and down timber, and critical fire weather conditions, the fire was unable to be contained during initial response. The fire crossed into Canada on August 29. Fire managers recognized that the Diamond Creek Fire would likely be a long term event. Monitor, confine and point protection strategies are being used inside the Pasayten Wilderness. Outside the wilderness, the fire is being managed under a suppression strategy using a mixture of direct, indirect and point protection tactics when and where there is a high probability of success. Fire personnel will engage the fire at the appropriate time and location, while keeping public and firefighter safety as the top priority. Fire personnel are currently focused on identifying and implementing suppression repair work on the primary and contingency control lines. The suppression repair will not compromise the intended purpose of the control lines should they be needed at a later date."
(Night time picture of a glowing yurt Credit: Brent Tannehill)
Ongoing Large Wildfires
Here's a look at the current wildfire map across the country. While several fires are still ongoing, recent cool and somewhat wet weather has been helping curb the wildfire threat, especially in the Western US.
National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook into the weekend, which shows areas of heavy rain across parts of the Midwest moving into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. NATE will make landfall on Saturday night along the Gulf Coast with heavy rain, gusty winds and coastal flooding. Gusty winds and heavy rain will continue to lift northeast through the weekend and early next week. Another storm system will dive through the Rockies, which will bring another round of snow to the Intermountain West.
According to NOAA's WPC, the next several days could produce very heavy rainfall across parts of the Gulf Coast to the Northeast and NATE lifts north through the region. Widespread 2" to 4" can be expected, but heavier amounts of 4" to 8"+ amounts can't be rule out, which could cause areas of floording.
Improving Weekend Weather. Flirting with 70 Sunday
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas
Is it just me or is the recent cool and cloudy weather making me hungrier? My Crock-Pot has been working overtime. Lots of hearty meals have been plated up as of late and I want more! Interestingly, our bodies will naturally work harder to keep our core temp up - sometimes shivering - ultimately burning a few more calories.
NATE is on track to make landfall later tonight along the Gulf Coast as a potential hurricane. Thankfully, this will not be another Harvey, Irma or Maria, but it will still bring heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge to those areas.
Our soggy weather wraps up early Saturday with slow clearing expected through the afternoon. Sunday looks fantastic with bright sun and afternoon temperatures flirting with 70 degrees for some.
Our next cold front blows through the region early next week and could drop highs into the 50s by Tuesday. Overnight lows could dip into the 30s with widespread front possible across much of northern Minnesota.
I'm already cold and hungry... Pass me another bowl of chili, please. BURP!
This Day in Weather History
2003: Record high temperatures are seen across the area. St. Cloud's high is 86 degrees. Minneapolis ties their record high of 85 degrees set in 1997, and Alexandria sets their record high of 88 degrees. Forest Lake reaches a record-setting 82 degrees, along with Stillwater at 84 degrees.
1980: Summer-like heat occurs over Minnesota with highs of 92 at Montevideo and 84 at MSP airport.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 62F (Record: 85F set in 2011)
Average Low: 43F (Record: 25F set in 1976)
Record Rainfall: 0.98" set in 1904
Record Snowfall: Trace set in 2002
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~11 hours 23 mins
Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~3 minutes and 4 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 20th): 4 hours & 14 minutes
Moon Phase for October 7th at Midnight
2.5 Days After Full "Harvest" Moon
"Oct. 5, 2:40 p.m. EDT– Full Harvest Moon. Traditionally, this designation goes to the September full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal (fall) equinox. This year's Harvest Moon comes unusually late. At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon. Usually, the moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice — the chief staples of Native Americans — are now ready for gathering."
Temps on Saturdya will be a little warmer than average as highs bump up into the mid/upper 60s across much of the state. Some spots in far western and southwestern Minnesota could warm to near 70F.
Here's the temperature outlook through October 21st, which shows temps closer to average through the the middle par of October. However, we're getting indications of a cooling trend by the end of the month as we fall into 50s.
According the MN DNR, much of the state is starting to see hints of fall color, however, much of northern Minnesota is peaking right now with pockets of past peak colors!
Typical Fall Color Peak in Minnesota
Here are the typical fall color peak times across the state of Minnesota and note that areas along the northern tier of the state usually see their peak toward the 2nd half of September. However, peak color usually doesn't arrive in central Minnesota until October, but we're getting close.
Wisconsin Fall Color Update
We're also seeing quite a bit of color show up across the northern half of Wisconsin with many locations now nearing 50%-100% color!
Typical Fall Color Times Across the Country
Here are the typical fall color peak times across the country, which suggests that much of the peak across the northern half of the nation usually wraps up through the month of October.
"The Worst Places to Retire: Weather and Natural Disasters"
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