Smoky Skies

Smoky skies Wednesday morning in Eden Prairie. | D.J. Kayser

As smoke continues to stick around in the atmosphere, it was another fiery morning sunrise Wednesday across the region. This was my view in Eden Prairie Wednesday morning.

The AirNow Fire and Smoke Map shows that smoke from the western United States and Canada continues to spread across the upper Midwest, with greater concentrations in western Minnesota during the morning hours on Wednesday. The good news is that this smoke is staying elevated, but some areas in the metro and across southern Minnesota have seen Moderate air quality values.

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Storm Chances Start To Increase Thursday

Forecast loop from 7 AM Thursday to 7 AM Friday.

After a quiet but hazy Wednesday, the weather starts to turn a little more turbulent for the rest of the week into the weekend. An area of low pressure will develop in the Dakotas Thursday, slowly working its way through the upper Midwest on Friday. This will help to spark shower and storm activity on Thursday, especially in northern Minnesota throughout the day. Across the Twin Cities, we watch a slight chance during the day, but that chance will increase (especially just to our northwest) as we head into Thursday Night.

The rounds of showers and storms up in northern Minnesota could bring the potential of some flooding, with a Slight Risk (threat level 2 of 4) of excessive rainfall leading to flooding in place.

In the Twin Cities, we'll watch that slight storm chance as we head throughout the day with partly sunny skies in place. Morning temperatures will be warmer than the past few - only dropping into the low 60s - before highs climb into the mid-80s. We'll see gusty southerly winds helping to pump that warmer air in - gusting at times up to around 25 mph.

With the greater rain chances across northern Minnesota throughout the day, temperatures will only be in the 50s and 60s for areas from Grand Forks to the North Shore. As you head southward, south of where a warm front will be positioned with the area of low pressure out to the west, highs will climb into the mid-80s.

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Severe Potential Friday

As the area of low pressure continues to move across Minnesota on Friday, we could see some redeveloping storms during the afternoon and evening hours. Some of these could be severe, with a Marginal Risk (threat level 1 of 5) in place from Hinckley to the Twin Cities to Rochester and into western Wisconsin. We'll watch the chance of damaging winds as well as a tornado or two.

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Rain Chances Continue Into The Weekend

While shower and storm potential will continue into the weekend across the region, most of the day Saturday should be dry ahead of the next disturbance to move through. That will bring the greatest storm chances Saturday Night into Sunday. These storms could contain heavy rainfall.

Rain forecast through 7 AM Monday.

The heaviest rain through the weekend will be up in northern Minnesota where at least 2-4" of rain could fall. As mentioned above, this could lead to the potential of flooding.

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Fall Color Update

We're starting to see some changes on the MN DNR Fall Color Map up in northwestern Minnesota, where Hayes Lake, Lake Bronson, and Old Mill are reporting 10-25% color. Lake Bronson State Park reported on Sunday, "There is plenty of green out there, however, the yellows and reds that signal the beginnings of autumn can be seen throughout the park." You can keep your eye on this map over the next several weeks from the MN DNR by clicking here.

Here's a handy map of typical peak fall colors from the MN DNR. This ranges from mid/late September in far northern Minnesota to mid-October in southern parts of the state.

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Another Very Hot Summer For The USA
By Paul Douglas

I like my Septembers the same way I like my steaks: smoky and medium rare. Actually, I can live without the smoke from western fires, which has produced a hazy veil of white, dimming the sun at times over Minnesota.

September is really the 4th month of summer, with warmth now pushing deeper into traditional autumn. We routinely see numerous 80s and a few 90s, with less humidity and a lower risk of (severe) thunderstorms.

According to NOAA the lower 48 states just experienced the 3rd warmest meteorological summer on record, just behind 2021 and 1936, the height of the Dust Bowl. Some of that simmering summer heat is spilling over into September.

Expect mid-80s today and a pretty good chance of T-storms Friday. Some may be strong, with small hail and gusty winds. Another wave of storms may bubble up Saturday night, but we should salvage a partly sunny weekend more typical of mid-August.

I see 8 consecutive 80-degree days into next week, but 60s returning by late next week will serve as a reality check.

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Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

THURSDAY: Hazy sunshine, breezy. Wake up 63. High 85. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind S 15-25 mph.

FRIDAY: Few T-storms, some heavy. Wake up 67. High 80. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind S 10-15 mph.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, nighttime T-storms. Wake up 62. High 81. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.

SUNDAY: Some sunshine, sticky. Wake up 63. High 82. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind W 5-10 mph.

MONDAY: Sunny. Still feels like August. Wake up 64. High 83. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.

TUESDAY: Hazy sun, hot enough. Wake up 68. High 87. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 5-10 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Windy and cooler with a passing shower. Wake up 62. High 69. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.

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Minneapolis Weather Almanac And Sun Data
September 15th

*Length Of Day: 12 hours, 31 minutes, and 49 seconds
*Daylight LOST Since Yesterday: 3 minutes and 5 seconds

*When Do We Drop Below 12 Hours Of Daylight?: September 26th (11 hours, 57 minutes, 40 seconds)
*When Does The Sun Start Rising At/After 7 AM?: September 22nd (7:00 AM)
*When Does The Sun Start Setting At/Before 7 PM?: September 27th (7:00 PM)

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This Day in Weather History
September 15th

1939: Minneapolis experiences a daily record high of 98.

1916: St. Paul receives their earliest recorded snowfall.

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National Weather Forecast

On Thursday, a stalled out boundary from near the Texas coast across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida will bring the threat of storms. Storms will also be possible with a system in the upper Midwest back into the Rockies. At some of the higher elevations of the Rockies, some snow could mix in.

Two areas of heavy rain will be possible through the end of the work week - one in the western Great Lakes, and another across Florida. In both of these areas, over 3" of rain will be possible.

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Power outages are on the rise, led by Texas, Michigan and California. Here's what's to blame

More from CNN: "Power outages in the US are climbing, researchers reported Wednesday, as extreme weather gets worse due to the climate crisis, the demand for electricity climbs and the country's energy infrastructure gets older and more vulnerable. The analysis from Climate Central, a nonprofit research group, revealed that from 2000 to 2021, 83% of all reported power outages were caused by a weather-related event, from drought-fueled wildfires to damaging storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes — many of which will only intensify as the climate warms. And those numbers are on an upward trend. Researchers reported that outages in the past 10 years had increased by 64% compared with the previous decade."

Northeast drought endangers Massachusetts' cranberry harvest

More from Grist: "Cranberry farmers in Massachusetts have had to contend with wildly fluctuating environmental conditions over the past several years. The 2015 and 2017 storms Hanlon referred to killed some coastal Massachusetts cranberry bogs when they flooded them with sea water, extreme temperatures and drought parched vines in 2020, and a deluge of rainfall pickled the state's cranberry crop last year, leading to a nationwide shortage. Massachusetts is the second-largest producer of cranberries in the nation behind Wisconsin, which also had a bad growing season last year."

Private equity still investing billions in dirty energy despite pledge to clean up

More from The Guardian: "Private equity firms pumping billions of dollars into dirty energy projects are exposing investors, including pensioners, to unknown financial risks as the planet burns and governments face escalating pressure to act, new research finds. The first-of-its-kind climate risks scorecard ranks Carlyle, Warburg Pincus and KKR as the worst offenders among eight major private equity companies with significant fossil fuel portfolios. All three continue investing heavily in greenhouse-gas-emitting projects with no adequate plan on transitioning away from oil and gas, according to the analysis by two financial watchdog non-profits of publicly available information. The firms also have scant transparency on political and climate lobbying, the report finds."

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Thanks for checking in and have a great day! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

- D.J. Kayser