Grin and Bear It. Thanks to my friend, Sharon Bertrand, for forwarding these photos. A family outside of Hayward, Wisconsin built a brand new swing-set for the 3 and 4 year old sons. They were ready to unveil the new "toys" to the kids, looked out the window, and this is what they saw last weekend. Apparently bears like to have a good time too. No, it's not Photoshop. The funniest thing I've seen in some time....
* Another meteor Sunday night? Reports of a bright blue/green light over northern MN/WI Sunday night, followed by a strange flash - could have been another meteor. If it hit the ground (unknown) it would have been a meteorite.
Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
Today: Windy and raw with a cold rain, tapering to showers later in the day (mixing with a little wet snow up north). Winds: NE 10-20. High: 45
Tonight: Showers taper, possibly mixed with a few snowflakes. Low: 38
Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, another round of showers later in the day. High: 53
Thursday: Some sun early, another shower or two popping up. High: 55
Friday: Starting to feel like spring again, partly sunny and milder. High: 65
Saturday: A mix of clouds and sun, quite pleasant. High: near 70 (low to mid 60s up north).
Sunday: Partly cloudy, a bit milder. High: 73
Monday: Mix of clouds and sun - feels like May, finally. High: 75
Fishing Opener Details
Chilly Start For The Fishing Opener. Take a jacket - we wake up to sunrise temperatures near 40 statewide. The good news: it should warm up in a hurry.
Saturday Highs. Expect highs in the 60s, close to average for May 15. Throw in a slowly falling barometer and a light southeasterly breeze (5-10 mph much of the day) and you have potentially favorable conditions for catching that trophy fish. Good luck.
Sunday Highs. As winds become more southerly on Sunday (5-10 mph) temperatures warm a few more degrees. Highs near 70 north, low to mid 70s on White Bear and 'Tonka - a great day for boating! Oh yeah...forgot about my boating woes.
It figures. Tonight is my first game at Target Field, the Twins taking on the White Sox at 7:10. About that time it should be 40 degrees, a wind chill of 25-30 F, a cold rain (possibly mixing with a few wet snowflakes). Terrific. I was never a huge fan of the Metrodome, but at least the weather inside was fairly predictable - the prospect of bundling up in multiple layers to watch Joe Mauer & Co. is not something I'm looking forward to. Are the rest rooms heated? I guess I'll find out.
March Flashback. A storm of this magnitude, the shear aerial coverage of the rain and embedded T-storms, looks like something you'd expect to see in March, not May. Very odd. Many yards will soak up over an inch of rain before the showers begin to taper off later today.
The good news: you won't have to water the lawn or garden anytime soon - today's storm dumping out copious rain (especially during the morning hours). Some 1 to 1.5" rainfall amounts are possible before the heaviest rain bands shift off to our south/east and showers begin to taper off later today. The high? Seems like the wrong terminology today - the "maximum temperature" will be in the mid 40s around midday, the mercury dropping through the 40s into the 30s (!) as winds swing around to the northeast allowing colder, Canadian air to drain south of the border. The potential for accumulating snow has diminished, but it will sure FEEL like it could snow out there by evening.
Promising Fishing Opener. The GFS Outlook for noon Saturday shows showers and T-showers south of Minnesota, a weak ridge of high pressure keeping most of Minnesota partly sunny and mild - odds favor dry weather for most of the weekend.
Sunny Sunday. Instability pop-up showers and T-showers passing just north, the main surge of rain sloshing well south of Minnesota - the models keep us dry into Sunday, a southerly breeze tugging the mercury into the low to mid 70s by late afternoon.
We're scheduling the cold, soaking rains for workdays, weekdays - the flings with spring fever for the weekends, wherever possible. Especially THIS weekend, which, rumor has it, is a big one. The much-anticipated Minnesota Fishing Opener kicks off midnight, Friday night, and (amazingly) it looks like the weather will cooperate, sunshine much of Saturday, a falling barometer, a light southerly breeze whipping up a slight "walleye chop", with highs in the 60s for your favorite northern lake. Take the sunscreen - this year you WILL NOT have to dress in layers and count the minutes until you're back on shore. Sunday looks a few degrees milder, highs reaching 70 up north, maybe some mid 70s over southern lakes, sunshine the rule much of the day. Bottom line: we're getting the nasty weather out of the way from now through Thursday (a nagging swirl of cold air aloft will keep us showery into Wednesday and Thursday) but the sun makes a cameo appearance Friday, each day getting progressively better as we sail through one of the nicer Fishing Opener Weekends in recent memory.
In the meantime I'm secretly hoping the Twins have a rain (or snow) delay. I want to see Target Field, but this is not at all what my Target Field Daydream was like a few months ago. More like early March than mid May. Timing is everything...
Electrifying. Nearly 4,000 Americans have been killed by lightning since 1959, far more than hurricanes and tornadoes (combined). The odds of being struck by lightning in any given year? 1 in 700,000. For every person killed by lightning another 10 will be injured, many will suffer from lifelong disabilities. The first time you hear thunder (or see lightning) it's time to get into a shelter or vehicles. You do NOT want to be on the beach, the lake, or on a golf course when a thunderstorm is within 10-15 miles of your location. Play it safe - don't wait 'til the last moment. The most dangerous time? The very beginning, and the very end of a storm. Just because it's not raining does NOT mean the lightning risk has passed. Wait at least 30 minutes after hearing the last thunderclap before heading back outside. Nobody wants to become a severe weather statistic.
Supercell. This is one of dozens of rotating, "mesocyclones", also known as "supercells" that rumbled across the central and southern Plains late Monday, spinning up potentially dozens of tornadoes. At one point my friend and professional storm chaser Jeff Pietrowski counted 8 tornadoes on the ground at once! Some of these were "multi-vortex" tornadoes, as many as 3-5 mini-tornadoes all swirling around a common center - an amazing sight, evidence that these were not garden variety twisters. Click here to see the latest damage reports from SPC, the Storm Prediction Center.
37 and Counting. By 10 pm Monday evening SPC was reporting 37 separate tornadoes. There was a "high" risk of severe storms for this part of the USA much of the day Monday - there was ample warning from NOAA.
Softball-size Hail. Some of the hailstones that fell on Oklahoma and Kansas were 4-6" in diameter, as large as softballs! Remember, the larger the hail, the stronger the updraft. The stronger the updraft, the greater the potential of a tornado. Anytime hail is ping pong size or larger I start to get (very) nervous.
Mexican Tornado. Courtesy of Twitter, a tornado forming near Toluca, Mexico. It's strange to get a tornado that far south, but sure enough, a twister was observed last weekend. Just when you think you've seen everything...
"Nashville's Katrina." The damage video coming out of the Nashville area is just overwhelming, potentially billions of dollars worth of damage - most homeowners who were flooded out didn't have flood insurance - they had no idea they were even in a theoretical floodplain when 13-18" of rain fell on their yards. This may have been a 1 in 500 year event for the Nashville area, little consolation for people who's lives literally went down the drain. The YouTube video is here.