What Just Happened? Latest models print out 60+ Saturday (with no rain for metro area)

  • Blog Post by: Paul Douglas
  • October 12, 2012 - 11:43 AM

55 F. high on Thursday in the Twin Cities.

61 F. average high for October 11.

76 F. high temperature on October 11, 2011.

Trace of rain yesterday at KMSP.

.33" rainfall since September 1 in the Twin Cities.

4.09" average rainfall from September 1 to October 11.

3.76" rainfall deficit since September 1.


Rare October Severe Outbreak? Many locations do see a (small) second severe weather maxima in September and October, as colder Canadian air pushes south, setting up the strong temperature contrasts (and wind shear environment aloft) to support isolated severe storms. The Southern Plains may see severe weather later today, spreading into Iowa and southern Wisconsin by Saturday. With the storm tracking well south/east of MSP right now I do not expect severe weather across Minnesota. Maps above: NOAA SPC.


Fire Weather Watch posted for the western third of Minnesota today. Photo: Minnesota DNR.

.00" latest prediction for Saturday rainfall in the Twin Cities (12z NAM model).


6 out of the first 11 days of October have seen at least a trace of snow in Duluth.

1" of snow so far in Duluth, about 1/2" above average. Source: Timothy Burr.


99.95% of Minnesota in Moderate Drought. To put that number into perspective, on August 9 only 24% of the state was in a moderate drought, now nearly the entire state is suffering through a deepening moisture deficit. The area of severe drought (47%) has gone up slightly in the last week, the area impacted by extreme drought (19.27%) holding nearly steady. Map: U.S. Drought Monitor.


Another Near-Miss. The computer models giveth - they also taketh away. And yes, I'm as disappointed as everyone else. The latest 4 km. NAM model run shows some 1-2" amounts over Iowa and southern Wisconsin, closer to .1 to .2" for the metro, closer to .50" for Winona and La Crosse.


General Model Agreement. The 12 km. NAM shows even more impressive rainfall amounts Saturday into Sunday, some 2-4" amounts from near Des Moines and Waterloo into southern and central Wisconsin. Bottom line: we'll be lucky to see .1 to .3" rain in the Twin Cities, with heavier amounts over far southeastern Minnesota.




Fire Weather Watch. Here's another symptom of how dry it is out there - another Fire Weather Watch posted for much of western Minnesota again today. Details from the Twin Cities NWS:




"...I plead guilty to tunnel vision around climate," McKibben said. "It's the biggest issue the planet has ever faced, and in 50 years the one thing we will be interested in knowing is how our leaders responded to it -- or didn't. I mean, the Arctic broke this summer, and we had the hottest month in American history," he added. "So it's perhaps just possible the Obama administration hasn't done quite enough..." - Bill McKibbon, in a Huffington Post article below.


Hibbing Slush. Sydney Drennan snapped this photo Thursday morning, showing a cool half inch of snow on fields and lawns in the Hibbing area. It was gone by afternoon as the sun peeked out, but signs of winter-to-come are everywhere.


National Numbers. 63% of the USA is in moderate drought, 39% experiencing severe drought, the 20% of the USA enduring extreme/exceptional drought is holding nearly steady. Map: U.S. Drought Monitor.


Hop! Suitcase Automatically Follows Its Users. My prayers have been answered, because keeping track of my luggage is a full-time job. has the (slightly bizarre) details: "As any frequent flyer knows, hauling around a passport, carry-on luggage and suitcase while navigating through an airport can be a real hassle, and the situation is made worse if the traveler in question has any physical health issues. Madrid-based designer Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez has come up with an ingenious solution to this issue: a smart carry-on suitcase named Hop! which follows the traveler around automatically..."


Detroit's WDIV Follows Saga Of Raccoon With Jar Stuck On Its Head (Video).  Proving it's a relatively slow news cycle, at least one broadcaster in Detroit has lightened up the mood a bit; reports: "Last night during the 11 p.m. news WDIV, Detroit’s NBC affiliate began tracking the case of a raccoon with what looked like a mason jar stuck on its head.  The raccoon had climbed to the top of a utility pole in Southfield, a Detroit suburb, where WDIV’s “Nightcam” (reporter/cameraman Tim Pamplin) caught up to it. “Look up there that poor little thing,” said Pamplin who was live at the scene.  “Its a raccoon with a, what looks like a plastic container on his head. He’s been doing everything he can to get it off all day long.  But to no avail.”


Definition Of "Spotty Shower". Migizi Gichigumi snapped this photo in Ashland, Wisconsin Thursday - a fast-moving clipper sparking a few isolated showers of rain (mixed with wet snow from the MN Arrowhead into the U.P. of Michigan).


Brrrisk. After a gray, damp start skies cleared behind the latest Alberta Clipper, temperatures still cooler than average to the tune of 10-13 degrees F. High ranged from 41 at Hibbing to 48 St. Cloud, 55 Twin Cities and 57 at Redwood Falls. Snow lovers in Duluth got (a little) excited with nearly 1" of snow.



Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

TODAY: Sunny, becoming breezy. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 53


FRIDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase. Low: 44


SATURDAY: Partly sunny, showery rains over far southeastern MN (little or no rain expected in the metro). Winds: SE 10. High: 62


SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, quite mild and pleasant. Winds: NW 15. Low: 46. High: 64


MONDAY: Indian Summer! Plenty of sun, milder. Low: 44. High: 74


TUESDAY: Fading sun, showers central and northern MN. Low: 46. High: 68


WEDNESDAY: Cooler. Lot's of clouds, PM showers. Low: 40. High: 51


THURSDAY: Partly sunny and brisk (again). Low: 37. High: 53


* photo above courtesy of Renee Schneider.




“An attitude of gratitude flavors everything you do. Learning to be thankful is the golden thread woven through every truly successful life” wrote Charlie Jones.

I agree.

Every day I give thanks for living in a clean, progressive state, where people still care about their work, and their neighbors. No earthquakes, volcanoes or storms with names either. That makes our blustery clippers easier to stomach.

That old adage, "when in a drought, don't predict rain" rings true. We all got our hopes up for a real rain event Saturday, but latest models whisk the heaviest, steadiest rains south and east of Minnesota. Par for the course. We may still pick up a little rain, but right now it doesn't look like the long, cool soaking we need. As long as dry, westerly winds dominate our weather pattern wet, moisture-lade Gulf storms will continue to take a southerly detour.

The latest Drought Monitor shows 99 percent of Minnesota in moderate drought, 47 percent in a severe drought. Let it rain. Please.

We're in a manic, confusing pattern. The simple act of getting dressed every morning has become a bit baffling. A freeze this morning gives way to 2 days of 60s early next week.

Hints of Indian Summer.


Climate Stories...


2012 Year To Date Temperature Anomalies. Temperatures over much of North America are 1-3 C warmer than the 1981-2010 average, but look at anomalies north of Russia/Siberia, as much as 7 C (12 F.) warmer than the rolling 30 year average. I don't think I've ever seen yearly anomalies this extreme. Graphic: NOAA NCEP and WeatherBell.


Bill McKibbon Talks Climate Change With Bill Maher (Video). has the clip with McKibbon; here's an excerpt of an accompanying story: "David Roberts posted this video of Bill McKibben's spot on Bill Maher's HBO show, and it is indeed one of the best climate segments I've seen on TV for quite some time. McKibben is eloquent and lucid as ever — though you can tell he's a bit ill at ease in a room full of knee-slapping pundits — and the segment never lags over its 12-minute running time. It's a good chance to catch up on the most recent developments on the climate front, and their current relation to political and pop culture..."



Climate-Proofing The Insurance Industry. Forbes has the story - here's an excerpt: "The world’s largest reinsurer has examined the recent rise in the number and severity of natural disasters worldwide, and finds the trend bears the unmistakable fingerprints of climate change. What’s more, America is bearing the brunt of that change. “North America is the continent with the largest increases in disasters,” Munich Re’s Peter Hoppe told USA Today yesterday. Take a look at the map of the most costly extreme weather events in 2011 and so far in 2012 for a snapshot that begins to show what he’s talking about..."

* map above from


Climate Science And Science Literacy: The Strange Divergence. This article at Huffington Post does a good job highlighting the strange disconnect; how some people process information that doesn't quite agree with their worldview. That's why I ask people if they're truly open to new data, new facts, changes on the ground? The answer to that question will determine if someone is set in their ways, capable of cherry-picking the data that supports their position, or able to change their mind based on data. Here's an excerpt: "When it comes to climate, "just the facts, ma'am" doesn't seem to cut it for some. One big puzzle for climate scientists: despite ever-growing scientific evidence that the climate is changing and that the change is largely due to human activities (see here and here), a significant fraction of the American public remains unconvinced. What's to be done? Well, if you're a scientist, the answer is obvious -- provide the unconvinced with more evidence, more data, and surely they will come around. Problem is, scientists continue to do just that and continue to make little or no progress or, worse, lose ground. (See here and here.) Two studies -- one by Lawrence Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire published last week in the journal Weather, Climate and Society and the other by Dan Kahan of Yale University and colleagues published in the journal Nature Climate Change in May -- provide an explanation: for some, it appears, personal beliefs and cultural associations trump scientific facts...."


Barack Obama's Record On Addressing Climate Change Under Scrutiny By Activists. Here's an excerpt of a story at Huffington Post: "I think I missed the part where they discussed the Arctic melting," the environmentalist and author Bill McKibben recently quipped. A tireless spokesman for a planet in rapid and, as he sees it, dangerous flux, McKibben had taken to his Twitter account in the aftermath of last week's presidential debate and, like many other Americans, he found the whole affair wanting -- though his reasons were singular. "Wasn't there some kind of drought or something this summer?" he continued. "Maybe I'm misremembering." In the clipped and sardonic vernacular of the medium, he ended his Tweets "#oh-that." McKibben was, of course, referring to climate change. His exasperation echoes a wider movement that by now has grown not just weary, but vaguely astounded at the lack of high-level dialogue on a topic that, as they see it, fundamentally influences -- and therefore ought to trump -- all others, particularly at a time when the nation is preparing to elect a president..."


@BarackObama Tweets On Climate Change: Yeah and Sigh... Here's a follow-up on why climate change and politics (apparently) don't mix, at least not this election cycle, from "...Sadly, “climate change” has not (yet…) emerged as a major element of the Presidential campaign (and climate was absent from the first debate) even though it is an arena of incredibly stark difference between the candidates (and their parties) and the polling research is showing — quite clearly  and strongly — that this is a winning issue for the Obama-Biden team to embrace. In short, discussing climate change issues forcefully

  • Will motivate ‘the base’ to go out and vote.
  • Speaks strongly to and sways ‘independents’ who resemble Democratic voters, much more than Republicans, when it comes to climate-change issues.
  • Is irrelevant for the climate-deniers, who are already impassioned to vote for fossil-foolish politicians."


Water In A Climate Change World. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Minnesota will be a net-winner in a warmer, drier, stormier climate to come - some would say it's already here. Oil isn't our #1 natural resource. It's water, and Minnesota has been blessed with fresh water. Most computer models show a trend toward wetter conditions over eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin, but drier weather farther west. Here's a clip from "..If the water can’t be transferred, population and jobs will naturally migrate over time from areas of water scarcity to areas of relatively greater abundance. Wood asserted that a key to water management will be to think more broadly about landscapes – urban and non-urban – as potential hydrologic resources that warrant protection. While some communities already incentivize low-impact development and other stormwater management practices, the capacity for water retention, runoff, and groundwater recharge associated with all kinds of land uses and land covers (including rooftops) warrant scrutiny. In other words, water management will need to become a stronger driver in land-use planning..."


The Recent Shift In Early Summer Arctic Atmospheric Circulation. This is a bit technical, but ice loss at the top of the world is impacting jet stream winds over the Northern Hemisphere, as described in this new paper at GRL, Geophysical Research Letters: "The last six years (2007–2012) show a persistent change in early summer Arctic wind patterns relative to previous decades. The persistent pattern, which has been previously recognized as the Arctic Dipole (AD), is characterized by relatively low sea-level pressure over the Siberian Arctic with high pressure over the Beaufort Sea, extending across northern North America and over Greenland. Pressure differences peak in June. In a search for a proximate cause for the newly persistent AD pattern, we note that the composite 700 hPa geopotential height field during June 2007–2012 exhibits a positive anomaly only on the North American side of the Arctic, thus creating the enhanced mean meridional flow across the Arctic..."

Citation: Overland, J. E., J.A. Francis, E. Hanna, and M. Wang (2012). "The recent shift in early summer Arctic atmospheric circulation."

© 2018 Star Tribune