Smoky Skies in North America
Distant wildfires continue to burn across Canada and the Western US, which is causing smoky skies and poor air quality closer to home. NOAA's HRRR-SMOKE model suggests fairly thick smoke conditions over the Upper Midwest early Tuesday morning. The more intense reds across the Western half of the country suggests where smoky skies will be the worst.
Seasonal Allergies Running High
If you've been outside lately, chances are you've been hearing constant buzzing sounds coming from trees near you. The noises you've been hearing have been coming from bugs called cicadas, which are typically heard in late July and August! These dog-day cicadas are also surrounded by folklore, which states that when you hear the first buzz of a summer cicada, there's only 6 weeks until frost!
Canning & Preserving Time!
My garden has been producing at high volumes over the last several weeks, which is a very rewarding feeling after all the hard work over the last several months taking care of baby veggie plants since earlier this spring. Other than a few items, I had enough to can my annual and traditional Ball Zesty Salsa, which turns out wonderful every year! I ended up with 11 pints the first go around and am hoping to get another round in when I find time.
Farmers Markets Near Me
If you're interested in canning and preserving, but don't have access to a bountiful garden, you certainly can get wonderful produce from farmers markets near you! Minnesota Grown has a wonderful website to find your local farmers market (by city) and what days they run!
Nordic Waffel, Rainbow Cloud Roll, UpNorth Pasty Puff, Oh My!
Those are just a few of the new food items at the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year. My mouth is already watering... I can't wait. BURP! Yes, the fair starts this Thursday - Uffda.
US Drought Monitor - Minnesota
Dry weather across parts of the state have been helped to bring abnormally dry conditions back to 41% of the state, which is up from the 18% last week. Note that much of the metro is considered to be abnormally dry now, while 7% of the state is now under a Moderate drought.
By Paul Douglas
We're going to need a new lexicon to describe weather-on-steroids. A few weeks back we talked about the EF-3 strength "fire tornado" sparked by a massive blaze outside Redding, California.
I just returned from Seattle, visiting my oldest son and his wife. Friday was postcard-perfect, standing near the tree-line near Mount Rainier. But by the time I left SeaTac Monday morning the sky in Seattle looked like Beijing on a bad day. Surrounded by wildfires with an inversion (warm stable air aloft trapping pollutants near the ground), Washington State is experiencing the worst air quality on record. One local weather expert referred to it as a "smoke storm". That's a new one. And Minnesota is just getting a taste.
A north breeze dries us out today with comfortable sunshine Wednesday and Thursday, the first day of the Minnesota State Fair.
ECMWF guidance brings T-storms into the state Friday, with Sunday probably the nicer day to stroll the fairgrounds.
If you like it hot, you'll love Monday & Tuesday with highs near 90. Midweek storms give way to a cooling trend late next week.
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and comfortable. Winds: N 10-15. High: 76.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: WNW 5-10. Low: 57
WEDNESDAY: More sun. Quite pleasant. Winds: W 8-13. High: 79.
THURSDAY: Nice way to start the Fair. Warm sun. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 81.
FRIDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 74.
SATURDAY: Sunnier and warmer. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 66. High: 84.
SUNDAY: Partly sunny. Slight dip in humidy. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 83.
MONDAY: Sweat on a stick. Hot sunshine. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 68. High: 90.
This Day in Weather History
1918: Minnesota's third deadliest tornado strikes Tyler and destroys the downtown area, leaving 36 dead.
1886: High winds hit Northfield with winds blowing at 60 mph for 20 minutes. Peak gusts up to 75-80 mph are recorded.
1883: The 4th deadliest tornado in Minnesota history hits Rochester. The tornado kills 31 residents and injures 100 more. Appalled by the lack of medical care received by the tornado's victims, Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis, proposes to build and staff a hospital if Dr. W.W. Mayo will provide medical care. St. Marys Hospital opens in 1889 with 27 beds and eventually grows into the Mayo Clinic.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 80F (Record: 98F set in 1947)
Average Low: 61F (Record: 44F set in 2004)
Record Rainfall: 3.64" set in 1924
Record Snowfall: NONE
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 47 minutes
Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~2 minutes & 52 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 21st): 1 hour and 50 Minutes
Moon Phase for August 21st at Midnight
4.0 Day Since First Quarter
What's in the Night Sky?
According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights:
According to NOAA, the average peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season is on September 10th. Note that activity (on average) in late June and early July remains pretty tame. Things really start to heat up in August and September though!
Did you know that lightning ranks as one of the top weather related killers in the U.S.? An average of nearly 50 people are killed each year in the United States and so far this year, 15 people have died from lightning; 12 have been males and only 3 have been females. Interestingly, from 2008-2017, 232 males have died, while only 64 females have died.
PRELIMINARY Tornado Count This Year
According to NOAAs SPC, the PRELIMINARY tornado count across the US this year stands at 704 (through August 5th). Note that this is less than the last couple of years, but close to what we had in 2013. Keep in mind that the short-term average (2005-2015) suggests an average of more than 1,100 tornadoes.
Here's the average number of tornadoes during the month of August by state. Florida sees the most with 7, while Minnesota averages 5 tornadoes. During the dog days of Summer, the tornado count typically fades across the nation.
1.) Severe weather over the north-central Plains, Thu, Aug 23.
2.) Heavy rain over the Upper Mississippi Valley, Sat-Sun, Aug 25-26.
3.) Heavy downpours over the Hawaiian Islands, Thu-Fri, Aug 23-24.
4.) Heavy rain for southwestern mainland Alaska, Thu, Aug 23, and again Sat-Sun, Aug 25-26.
5.) Periods of heavy rain for central and eastern Interior Alaska, Thu-Sun, Aug 23-26.
6.) Tropical storm force winds, large ocean swells, dangerous surf and rip currents for the Hawaiian Islands, Thu-Fri, Aug 23-24.
7.) Flooding possible in the Midwest.
8.) Slight risk of excessive heat for portions of the Plains, Midwest, and Ohio Valley, Tue-Thu, Aug 28-30.
9.) Severe drought for parts of the Middle to Lower Mississippi Valley, Great Plains, and western U.S., and the Big Island of Hawaii.
Temperature Anomaly on Monday
The temperature anomaly across North America on Monday showed temperatures well above average across the Western US and across Canada. Meanwhile, the central part of the country and the Plains were a little cooler than average thanks to showers and thunderstorms.
Here's the temperature anomaly as we head through the 3rd weekend of August. Note that it'll initially be a cooler than average across much of the Central US, but this will slowly shift east through the rest of the week. Meanwhile, much warmer than average temperatures will continue along the Western US and Western Canada.
Weather Outlook Ahead
The weather loop below shows a storm system sliding through the eastern half of the nation over the next couple of days with spotty severe weather and locally heavy rain. Meanwhile, monsoon storms will continue in the Southwest.
7 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy rain across much of the half of the nation with heavier pockets of rain possible in the Midwest/Great Lakes and also in the Southeast and Southwest. Some spots could see several inches of rain with isolated flood concerns, while most folks in the Western US will remain dry.
Here is the national drought map from August 14th, which shows extreme and exceptional drought conditions across much of the Four-Corners region and for a few areas in the Central and Southern Plains. The good news is that several locations in the Central and Southern US have had some fairly good rains over the recent days/week, so some improvement is being seen there. Also, the Monsoon season continues in the Southwest, so some locations should (hopefully) continue to see improvement there.
8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, August 27th - September 2nd will be warmer than average across much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, while the Pacific Northwest could be cooler than average.
"California suffered through its hottest July on record, while August has pushed sea-surface temperatures off the San Diego coast to all-time highs. Are these punishing summer heat waves the consequences of global warming or the result of familiar weather patterns? The answer, scientists say, is both. Climate change is amplifying natural variations in the weather. So when California roasts under a stubborn high-pressure system, the thermometer climbs higher than it would in the past. “What we’re seeing now is the atmosphere doing what it has always done. But it’s doing it in a warmer world, so the heat waves occurring today are hotter,” said Park Williams, an associate research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “We can expect that to continue.” Though a weak to moderate El Niño, marked by warming ocean temperatures, may develop this fall and winter, scientists say it’s not at play now."
"Impact of Hurricane Harvey on health, environment still a concern a year later"
"Floodwater caused most of the damage when Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast a year ago. But that region's air quality was also harmed when the Category 4 hurricane swept through the U.S. oil refining and chemical heartland. Using state data, the Environmental Integrity Project determined that Hurricane Harvey was responsible for 8.3 million pounds of unauthorized air pollution late last summer. Most were the result of industrial plants suddenly shutting down as Harvey struck, including some emergencies involving flooding, sudden power outages or lightning strikes. The large-scale pollution could have been averted if refineries and chemical plants in the region had prepared for a planned shutdown, according to an Environmental Integrity Project report released Thursday. And the state's decision to suspend pollution reporting requirements in the aftermath of the storm has made it difficult to assess health effects."
"Wildfire smoke engulfing a storm in the Atlantic is an ideal metaphor for 2018"
"Smoke produced by fires thousands of miles away is now choking a storm swirling in the Atlantic Ocean. Welcome to weather in 2018. Thursday morning, Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman found that smoke from California and Canada's record-breaking wildfires has nearly engulfed subtropical storm Ernesto. Previously, the wildfire smoke had shut down Yosemite National Park, and the National Weather Service watched last week as smoke traveled 3,000 miles across the U.S. Meteorologists first spotted the inevitable meeting of smoke and storm after Ernesto formed on Wednesday. It's not unprecedented for smoke to waft thousands of miles across the U.S. and beyond, but it certainly is rare, atmospheric scientists explained last week. It also takes a lot of smoke to create this kind of global impact. California alone is contributing its fair share, with three of the largest fires in Golden State history having burned well over half a million acres this summer. The easily visible collision of storm and smoke occurred when the formidable Canadian wildfires were added to the mix, with the benefit of high atmospheric winds."
"Hurricane Maria stirred up dangerous pollutants on this Puerto Rico waterfront"
"Tucked in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, the town of Guanica sits on the edge of a small bay that’s only about a quarter of a mile wide. Rafael Rodriguez, a commercial boat captain who has lived in the area his entire life, says that the water is dark, calm, and relaxing. In Guanica, he says, the waterfront is where people gather. The bordering mountain range protected Guanica from the worst of Hurricane Maria, Rodriguez says, and on the surface life is largely back to the way it was before the storm. But underneath the water, the churning hurricane waves dredged up buried sand and pulled up sediment that was full of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs — old manufacturing chemicals linked to health problems ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. “The damage the hurricane did is hiding,” Rodriguez says."
"British Columbia declares state of emergency as over 500 wildfires burn"
"The Canadian province of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency as thousands of firefighters battle more than 500 wildfires with little relief in sight. “We’re going to throw everything we’ve got at these fires, but in a lot of cases, Mother Nature is going to be in the driver’s seat,” Kevin Skrepnek, the province’s chief fire information officer, told reporters. While the province desperately needs rain, he said: “We’re not really seeing it in the forecast right now.” About 566 wildfires are currently burning across the west coast province, prompting the evacuation of some 3,000 people. Another 18,000 residents have been warned that they may have to flee their homes at a moment’s notice. So far this year more than 1,800 fires have charred some 380,000 hectares (939,000 acres), making it the province’s fourth worst fire season since it began keeping track in 1950."
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX