Severe Threat Tuesday
 
According to NOAA's SPC, there is a Marginal Risk of severe storms across much of Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. However, there is a Slight Risk of severe storms across parts of central and northern Minnesota, where large hail and damaging winds will be a better potential.
 

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Weather Outlook Tuesday
 
Here's the weather outlook for Tuesday, August 20th, which shows fairly mild temps across the southern half of the state. Reading will warm into the mid 80s, which will be nearly +5F above average, while folks in northern MN will only warm into the 70s, which will be nearly -5F below average. 
 
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Warm & Sticky Tuesday Ahead

Here's a look at the peak dew point and heat index values across the state. Note that dewpoints will be as high as the low/mid 70s across the southern half of the state, which will be quite tropical. Also note that peak heat index values will warm into the lower 90s, so it'll be pretty warm & sticky.

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Precipitation Potential Next Several Days

Here's the precipitation potential through next Monday, August 26th, which suggests areas of heavy rain possible across parts of the state. Some of this rain will be possible on Tuesday, but it appears that weather conditions could turn a little more unsettled as we approach the weekend ahead. 


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Are the 2019 Dog Days of Summer Over?
 
"Have You Ever Wondered... When are the dog days of summer? What is the “Dog Star"? Why are the dog days of summer so hot? Many people believe the phrase “dog days of summer" stems from the fact that dogs tend to be a bit on the lazyside during the hottest days of summer. Of course, who can blame them? With that much fur, dogs that exerciseduring the hot days of summer can overheat easily. However,  the phrase doesn't stem from lazy dogs lying around on hot and humid days. Instead, to find the answer, we only need to look to the summer sky. The ancient Romans called the hottest, most humid days of summer “diēs caniculārēs" or “dog days." The name came about because they associated the hottest days of summer with the star Sirius. Sirius was known as the “Dog Star" because it was the brightest star in the constellationCanis Major (Large Dog). Sirius also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. For the ancient Romans, the dog days of summer occurred from about July 24 to around August 24. Over time, though, the constellations have drifted somewhat. Today, The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the dog days of summer as being July 3 until August 11."
 
 

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Can Dogday Cicadas Forecast the First Frosts of Fall? 
 
I don't know about you, but I've been hearing a lot of buzzing from my backyard trees lately. The loud buzzing is coming from our friendly dog day cicadas, which are pretty common in late July and August. The old adage states that when you hear the first buzz of a dog day cicada, then frost is only 6 weeks away! Here's an excerpt from Yesterday Island regarding nature's thermometer: "Insects are an important part of summer and of our collective impression of the passing seasons. When I reflect upon a quintessential summer, I think of June bugs, grasshoppers, butterflies, perhaps on more cynical days, deer flies, mosquitoes, wasps…back to good days…fireflies, moths, and as the dog days of summer come, the cicada. For the past two to three weeks we have been able to hear the rasping,  buzzing sound of cicadas emanating from trees from downtown to ‘Sconset. Often heard but rarely seen, these harbingers of late summer warm weather days remind us that fall is around the corner. According to folk legend, when you hear the first song of the dog-day cicadas, it means there’s just six weeks until frost. While this may not be a precise predictor, there is some merit to the claim. Dog-day cicadas, as their name implies, appear during the long, hot summer days of late July and August."
 
 

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MN DNR Fall Color Update
 
Fall is just around the corner and that means fall colors! We're still several weeks away from anything really popping close to home, but surprisingly, folks across the far north will probably start seeing some signs of fall colors in the coming weeks! However, according to the MN DNR, fall colors are starting to show across parts of western MN, where some of the ground folliage is around 10%. 
 
 

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Average Peak Color in Minnesota
 
According to the MN DNR, peak color typically arrives across the far northern part of the state in mid/late September, while folks in the Twin Cities have to wait until late September/mid October. It's hard to believe, but fall colors will be here before you know it!
 

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2nd Wettest Start to Any Year on Record at the MSP Airport
 
Thanks to another 1.74" of rain on early Sunday morning, the MSP Airport has now had 29.64" of precipitation so far this year in 2019, which is the 2nd wettest start to any year on record. 
 
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Fall Ragweed Allergies

It's that time of the year again where Fall Rageweed Allergy sufferers are starting to get sneezy and itchy. Oh yes, one of my favorite times of the year - NOT! I don't know about you, but I start getting bad around State Fair Time and that is right around the corner. If you're like me, start taking those allergy meds, hopefully you can start building up those immunities! The image below shows the steading increase in pollen levels over the last 30 days in Minneapolis. Keep in mind that pollen level will continue to rise and will be consistently in the "high" category over the next several weeks. Pollen levels won't really drop until we see our first frosts of the season, which on average arrive early/mid October in the Twin Cities.

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"What Is a Ragweed Allergy?"

"Ragweed pollen is one of the most common causes of seasonal allergies in the United States. Many people have an adverse immune response when they breathe in the pollen. Normally, the immune system defends the body against harmful invaders, such as viruses and bacteria, to ward off illnesses. In people with ragweed allergies, the immune system mistakes ragweed pollen as a dangerous substance. This causes the immune system to produce chemicals that fight against the pollen, even though it’s harmless. The reaction leads to a variety of irritating symptoms, such as sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes. Approximately 26 percent of Americans have a ragweed allergy. The allergy is unlikely to go away once it has developed. However, symptoms can be treated with medications and allergy shots. Making certain lifestyle changes may also help relieve the symptoms associated with ragweed allergies."

See more from HeathLine.com HERE:

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"Climate Change Is Going to Make Ragweed Allergies Even Worse, Study Finds"

"There’s no shortage of horrible things that will become more common in the near future due to climate change, like coastal flooding, extreme weather, and disease-causing ticks, to name a few. But new research published Thursday in PLOS-One adds another annoyance to the list: Allergy-causing ragweed. The common ragweed, or Ambrosia artemisiifolia as it’s formally called, is a voracious plant known for quickly overtaking whatever environment it’s suited to inhabit. The plant grows annually through the warmer parts of the year in the U.S. Importantly for us, it’s also an abundant source of pollen, making it one of the leading triggers of hay fever and asthma. Though native to parts of North America, ragweed has invaded much of Europe, Asia, and other areas with relatively temperate weather, including some of the Southern United States. Given ragweed’s love of warmer temperatures, scientists have feared that climate change has and will continue to help it spread further. There’s already research suggesting that this is happening in Europe, but the authors of this latest study say theirs is the first to consider the future of ragweed in North America."

See more from Gizmodo HERE:

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"Phenology: August 13th, 2019"

If you've got a spare moment, have a listen to this wonderful podcast from John Latimer, a resident phenologist in northern Minnesota on KAXE. John is very knowledeable in the outdoor world and how certain events in nature are related to changes in the weather and climate. Here's the latest phenology report from last week: "Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Each week we hear from listeners who have been paying attention to nature in our Talkback segment and John Latimer takes a close look at the blooms and changes happening while considering how the timing measures up to past years in his Phenology Report. This week John discusses things happening outside that indicate fall is coming. Yep. It's coming."
 
 
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US Drought Monitor

According to the latest US Drought Monitor (updated on August 13th), much of the state is still drought free! Thanks to significant precipitation so far this year, much of us have had very little to worry about in terms of being too dry. However, in recent weeks, it certianly has been dry in a few locations. Lawns and gardens have been a bit parched as of late, so a little bit of rain on Saturday did help where it fell.

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2019 Yearly Precipitation So Far...

2019 has been a pretty wet year across much of the Upper Midwest. In fact, many locations are several inches above average precipitation, some even in the double digits above average Rochester, MN. Interestingly, Rochester is at its wettest start to the year on record with 36.59" of liquid and if it didn't rain or snow the rest of the year there, it would be the 21st wettest year ever in recorded history. The Twin Cities is at its 2nd wettest start to the year on record with a surplus of +9.14".

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National Precipitation Since January 1st
 
Take a look at the precipitaiton across the nation since January 1st and note how many locations are above average so far this year. Some of the wettest locations have been in the Central US, where St. Louis nearly 14" above average and off to its wettest start to any year on record. It's also nice to see folks in California are still dealing with a precipitation surplus thanks to a very wet start to 2019. However, the last several weeks have been very dry there.
 
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US Drought Monitor
 
According to the US Drought Monitor, there a few locations across the country that are a bit dry, but there doesn't appear to be anything widespread or significant. However, areas in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest seem to a little bit more dry than others. We've also seen an uptick in the drought across the Southern Plains where severe and even extreme drought conditions have been popping up. 
 
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8 to 14 Day Precipitation Outlook
 
According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, weather conditions will be wetter than average across the southern half of the state and across parts of the Northeast, while folks across the Northwest will be drier than average as we approach the end of the month and early September.
 
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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, temperatures across the Western US will be warmer than average by the end of the month and early September, while folks in the Central US will be cooler than average.


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Extended Temperature Outlook for the Twin Cities

Here's the temperature outlook for the MSP Airport through the end of the month and into the early part of September. Note that highs in the 70s will be with us around midweek, but could warm to above average levels again by next weekend. We're also still getting indications of an even bigger cool down as we approach Labor Day Weekend.

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Warmest August Temps at MSP on Record
 
Here's a look at the highest temps ever recorded in the Twin Cities during the month of August. Note that there have only been four, 100F+ degree days. The most recent hot temp during the month of August was back in 2001 when we hit 99F !! The month with the most 100F+ days in the Twin Cities is July with that happening 25 times! Interestingly, we've only hit 100F+ at the MSP Aiport (31 times) in recorded history...
 
 
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One of the Cooler State Fairs In Recent Years?
By Paul Douglas

Most years the Minnesota State Fair is a tasty Sweat-a-Thon; throngs of overheated sugar-zombies searching for their next fix. I can relate because I'm one of them. I've been fasting all year, preparing myself for the 12 Best Days Not to Diet. After all, I have to get up to my winter weight.

The calendar says late August, but the maps look like something out of late September. By Thursday of next week it may feel like early Octobe,r with a stiff wind, choppy lakes and highs in the 60s - lows dipping into the 40s. Think of it as guilt-free A/C.

In the meantime today will feel like summer with low 80s and a few widely scattered thundershowers. A northwest breeze behind today's disturbance ushers cooler air south of the border, with a very comfortable start to the Minnesota State Fair Thursday and Friday. Dry weather may hang on much of Saturday, but have a Plan B Sunday, when T-storms may be more widespread.

In 8-9 days we'll all be scratching our heads, wondering how Mother Nature missed the hot/sweaty/fair memo.
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Extended Forecast

TUESDAY: Warm sun. Stray T-storms. Winds: W 7-12. High: 83.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: N 5. Low: 60.

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and spectacular. Winds: N 3-8. High: 75.

THURSDAY: Cool & comfortable for MN State Fair. Winds: N 3-8. Wake-up: 57. High: 73.

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, breezy and milder. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 77.

SATURDAY: Some sun. Slight thunder risk. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 60 High: 79.

SUNDAY: Humid. T-storms maybe more widespread. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: 82.

MONDAY: Lingering showers and T-storms. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 78.
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This Day in Weather History
August 20th

2002: Heavy snow impacts central Minnesota. It fell in a 10-20 mile wide band from southeast North Dakota to around Grantsburg, Wisconsin. Little Falls picked up 9 inches.

1916: Accumulating snow falls in south central Minnesota with 4.5 inches recorded in New Ulm, 4 inches in Farmington and Hutchinson, 3.5 inches in Montevideo, and 3 inches in Faribault.

1835: 6 inches of snow falls at Ft. Snelling.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
August 20th

Average High: 80F (Record: 97F set in 1972)
Average Low: 62F (Record: 40F set in 1950)

Record Rainfall: 2.23" set in 1981
Record Snowfall: NONE
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
August 17th

Sunrise: 6:21am
Sunset: 8:11pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 51 minutes

Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 51 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 21st): ~ 1 hour & 46 minutes
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Moon Phase for August 18th at Midnight
3.3 Days Before Last Quarter Moon

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What's in the Night Sky?

"Our chart – above – shows the moon in the early morning sky on August 21, 22 and 23. The green line represents the ecliptic, or approximate path of the sun, moon and planets across our sky. On the mornings of August 21 and 22, you’ll find the waxing gibbous moon sweeping close to the planet Uranus. They’ll be up late at night, too, but low in the sky. You’ll have a better view of them in the wee hours, or before dawn breaks. Of course, the moon and urnaus are nowhere near each other in space. The moon, our closest celestial neighbor, lies a little less than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) from Earth. Uranus, the seventh planet outward from the sun, lodges well over 7,000 times the moon’s distance from us. Also, don’t expect to view Uranus with the unaided eye. People with exceptional eyesight might be able to see Uranus as a faint speck of light on a dark, moonless night. Most likely, you would need binoculars (at least) and a steady hand (or a tripod) to see Uranus with the nearby bright moon obscuring this world these next several mornings. For that matter, you’ll probably need binoculars to spot Uranus on most any night. For the ultimate challenge challenge – catching Uranus with the eye alone – try your luck when the moon leaves this part of the sky, say, around new moon at the end of August. Read more: 2019’s closest new moon on August 30"

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

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Average Tornadoes By State in August
 
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in August is quite a bit less across much of the nation, especially across the southern US. However, folks across the Plains and Upper Midwest still see (on average) a fair amount of tornadoes. Note that Minnesota typically sees 5 tornadoes, which is the 4th highest behind June (15), July (11), and May (6).
 
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2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
 
Here's the 2019 preliminary tornado count across the nation, which shows 1,371 tornadoes since the beginning of the year. May was a very active month and produced several hundred tornadoes across the Central uS and across parts of the Ohio Valley.
 
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2019 Preliminary Tornado Count

Here's a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through August 9th suggests that there have been a total of 1,371 which is above the 2005-2015 short term average of 1128. Interestingly, this has been the busiest tornado season since 2011, when nearly 1,692 tornadoes were reported.
 
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Tuesday Weather Outlook
 
High Temps across the nation will be quite warm for many locations. In fact, most spots will be above average with dangerous levels of heat still in place across the southern tier of the nation. A number of excessive heat warnings and advisories have been issued. Record highs maybe possible as well.
 
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National Weather Outlook
 
A storm system will move through the middle part of the country with scattered showers and storms, some of which will be strong to severe over the next few days. Ahead of the front it will be very warm and humid, but post-front, fall-like air will settle into the Upper Midwest.
 

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Heavy Ranifall Potential
 
Here's the 7-day precipitation forecast from NOAA's WPC, which suggests areas of heavy rain across parts of the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic States. Meanwhile, areas of heavy rain will be possible across parts of the Central US once again. 
 
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"A Guide For Debunking Lightning Myths"
 
"I saw an interesting story in the Capital Weather Gang of the Washington Post about a man walking with an umbrella. He was almost struck by a bolt of lightning. The “shocking” video is available at this link. The lesson from that ordeal is to avoid being outside and exposed during a thunderstorm. There is really no safe place outdoors. Two people asked me why umbrellas attract lightning. This is actually a myth. Herein, I explain why it is a myth and debunk other common myths about lightning. For a full explanation of how lightning forms, I recommend my piece in Forbes at this link.Lightning often strikes tall structures such as metal poles, antennas, trees, and buildings. The atmosphere is a very good insulator so lightning seeks the path of least resistance. For this reason, we often advise you to get inside if possible. If that is not an option, then get as low as possible and avoid being near a “path of least resistance” or becoming one yourself. There is nothing about an umbrella that makes it an “attractor” of lightning. Metal doesn’t necessarily attract lightning but it is certainly a good conductor of it electricity, which means that your location and timing during an electrical storm are key factors to consider. If you are near structure (or become the source) of positive ions (see below) in the lightning stroke process, a dangerous situation can unfold. To be clear, I am not saying holding an umbrella isn’t dangerous (It is). I am simply trying to clarify the myth that it “attracts.”
 
 

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"Rising Great Lakes water levels benefit some, but cost others"
 
"Water levels in the Great Lakes have reached record or near-record levels this summer. While all that water has been good for the shipping industry, it has caused significant damage along the shoreline and left many residents wondering whether high water levels are the new normal. Just six years ago the shipping industry was complaining about record low water levels. In the late 1990s, Great Lakes water levels began dropping — quickly. The decreased levels happened because warm lake temperatures led to high evaporation rates, said Drew Gronewold, a University of Michigan environmental science professor and former hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. That downward turn lasted 15 years. But in 2014, lake levels started to rise— and fast. That rise has continued into this summer: Lakes Erie and Ontario have reached their highest levels ever recorded, and Lake Superior has set new monthly records."
 
 

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"Life in Miami on the Knife’s Edge of Climate Change"
 
"Silvery waves slosh at the ornate jetty of Vizcaya, a Renaissance-style museum on Miami’s Biscayne Bay. They spill gently over the patterned deck and spread around the feet of a woman with a camera. The sea is coming. Perhaps not today, but it is coming. In the lush surrounding gardens, the neck of a carved stone swan was broken by Hurricane Irma. A minor loss, given the many lives taken by the water and wind as they swept in from the southeast. When a hurricane approaches, the air tingles. The sea does strange things. In minutes, the sky can turn from azure blue to slate gray. Turbulence comes out of nowhere. You can picture what follows, and many photographers do, but you will find no images of catastrophe in Anastasia Samoylova’s “FloodZone.” She is looking for other things, the subtler signs of what awaits the populations that cluster along shorelines. What is it to live day by day on a climatic knife’s edge? What psychological state does it demand? Hurricanes are sudden and violent; sea-level rise is insidious and creeping. The low-level dread of slow change, and the shock of sudden extremes. Climate and weather."
 
 
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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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Sunny And Warm Monday - Pleasant Weather To Open The State Fair Thursday

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Wettest Year Since 1892 for MSP - Comfortable Start to State Fair - Brisk Labor Day Weekend?