We've had 7 days now at or above 90 degrees....the average is 3 days. This is a weather pattern more typical around the 4th of July, not late August. The low temp August 25 & 26 was 80 degrees marking the latest 80 degree low ever recorded in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The hot atmosphere is bound to give and it will this weekend.
Saturday: Last hot day. H: 89 Wind: SW 2
Saturday night: Thunderstorms signal the arrival of the cool front. Meager rainfall amounts but maybe some hail. L: 69 Wind: SW to NW 7
Sunday: Partly sunny. Breezy & 10 degrees cooler. H: 79 L: 58 Wind: NW 10-15
Monday: Sunny, staying cool. H: 75 L: 56 Wind: NW 2-4
Tuesday: Sunny. H: 78 L: 60 Wind: SW 7
Wednesday: Clear, rebounding temps. H: 80 L: 64 Wind: W 2-4
North Dakota Badlands - Maah Daah Hey Trail
I've been trying to come up with the best adjective to describe the Maah Daah Hey trail. Rugged? Wild? Exposed? Awesome? We tackled America's longest stretch of singletrack in late August of 2013 and lived to tell about it.
We were fortunate enough to have ridden this untamed territory the weekend after the Maah Daah Hey 100 Race. The trail was in the best shape it had likely been all year. Prior to the race the park service mowed the majority of the trail and after the race the trail had become somewhat worn from the increased tire traffic.
We toyed with the idea of self supporting our ride. While this idea would have been the cheapest it meant we would have to lug all our bike tools, camping gear, cloths and food with us. After talking with several people who had done MDH before we decided to get shuttle service through the great people at Dakota Cyclery. Shuttle service might sound cushy but we are extremely glad we used it!
We started our journey at the Bennett Campground since the northern most CCC Campground trail was closed due to the introduction of elk and big horn sheep back into the area. Before we even got on the trail I got a flat tire and a broken seat post clamp(!). Anyways, we were off on the (brutal) Bennett trail, a 3 mile rutted, overgrown trail that connected with the Maah Daah Hey.
We had a total of 25 miles to ride until the next campground which might not seem like a lot but in the Badlands it can be an eternity. The singletrack is slow, really slow. To make matters worse we had no food as we had left our energy bars in the shuttle trailer! We bonked hard towards the end of our nearly 6 hour ride to the Magpie Camp.
We recuperated at the Magpie Campground where the shade from the sun was heavenly. The next morning we set out for Elkhorn Camp, a good 20 mile trek through some of the most scenic grassland terrain. Devils Pass (my favorite) and the Little Missouri River crossing were the highlights of this section. For the first half of the ride, however, I felt nauseous. Maybe it was the 90+ degree heat...or that big bowl of ramen noodles I had for breakfast.
Along the way we met a group of nice Canadians (since when aren't Canadians nice?) who warned us about how difficult Elkhorn Camp to Wannagan Camp would be as this 3rd leg of the trail was comprised of never-ending climbs. With this information and two solid days of riding behind us, we decided to skip the 3rd leg and shuttle straight to Buffalo Gap Campground. Jennifer, owner of Dakota Cyclery and our shuttler, didn't blame us for skipping the most difficult section. Plus, the Wannagan campground had no shade.
They say people fall in love with mountain biking all over again on the trail from Buffalo Gap to downtown Medora...and we sure did. This final leg of our Badlands biking trip had faster singletrack with more downhills and dust flying off the tires. We rolled into town on two tires and headed to Boots Bar & Grill for the biggest burger and beer.
Big shout out to Dakota Cyclery for setting us up with great shuttle service and saving the day with a new seat post clamp!
A fellow rider, T.C. Worley, once said of the MDH:
I love the Maah Daah Hey - I've done it twice now! But I must admit that it's partly because it is one of the more epic rides I've ever done. It looks far easier on paper than it really is. I don't mean to discourage you, but it is really a serious trail. You'll need tools, many extra tubes, maybe even a spare tire. There are a lot of small cactus and we had probably 8 flats or more between us all on that trip. We also broke 2 chains and had to repair them. One guy broke his hub. So, it's one of the few rides that I would truly call "epic". That term is misused a lot, but I think the MDH deserves it.
I couldn't have said it better myself. The Maah Daah Hey trail is truly "epic".
For a short time on Monday, Minneapolis was hotter than Death Valley. Wowza! I'm a lover of summer heat but after biking 60+ miles this past weekend across the Badlands of North Dakota...in 90 degrees weather...I learned very quickly to respect the heat. Not to get morbid on you but heat kills more people per year than tornadoes and floods. Heat can be intense especially when you have a prolonged period of heat like we do this week.
The weather map above is the only bit of information you'll need to forecast the weather this week. Big dome of hot high pressure over Kansas City, MO continues to nudge the heat bubble into Minnesota. For the most part, our atmosphere stays too hot, too stable aloft to produce any rain.
Best advice is to limit your biking to the cooler times of the day...either morning or late afternoon/evening.
Tuesday: Partly sunny. Heat Index: 95°-105° H: 93° (Record: 99°) Wind: N 5
Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy. L: 73° Wind: NE 5-10
Wednesday: Scattered clouds. H: 93° L: 71° Wind: SE 4
Thursday: Isolated thunderstorms. H: 92° L:72° Wind: S 7
Friday: Sunny. H: 94° L: 71° Wind: N 5
Saturday: Mostly sunny. Thunderstorms after midnight. H: 92° L: 73° Wind: E 2-4
Sunday: Sunny, still warm. H: 89° L: 68° Wind: NW 5-10
When Does the Heat Wane?
Slightly cooler conditions will arrive by Labor Day. Forecast models, like the one above, depict a cooler pocket of air (green/blue) sliding down from Canada. This cooler air briefly grazes Minnesota resulting in highs back in the 80s. Cooler?...yes, but still above average for early September.
The heat & humidity may have trailed off late in the week but the doggy days of summer pick right back up this weekend. Humidity levels stay elevated as high temperatures hold near 90 through next week.
High humidity makes the body's natural cooling process less efficient. Evaporation is a cooling process and our bodies naturally cool through evaporation of tiny water droplets off our skin. However, this process of evaporation is slowed and the body can't easily cool itself naturally when humidity is high. Best not to overdo it on the bike this weekend. Heat-related illnesses can really increase in conditions like this.
Friday: Last day with relatively low humidity. Partly sunny. H: 85 Wind: SE 10
Friday Night: Increasing clouds, thunderstorms late. L: 67 Wind: SE 10
Saturday: Morning rain, gradual afternoon clearing. Total rain ~ 0.25" H: 86 L: 71 Wind: SE 10-15
Sunday: Isolated thunderstorm late. Still hot/humid. H: 88 L: 73 Wind: SW 10-15
Monday: Partly cloudy. Isolated storm chance. H: 92 L: 72 Wind: SW 10
Tuesday: Hot, a few clouds. H: 90 L: 69 Wind: SW 5-10
Notice the milky sky lately? What you are seeing is smoke from distant wildfires currently raging across the western U.S. Prevailing winds have been able to carry this smoke into the Midwest. Often times this can create brilliant sunsets as the low sun angle refracts off of the tiny smoke particles.
Minnesota Runs Off Bikes
We all know that Minnesota is one of the top cycling states in the nation. Having major bike company's like Park Tool, QBP and Banjo Brothers make Minnesota a major hub in the world of cycling. While the recession has hit many industries, the cycling industry continues to grow. MPR takes a look deeper into how Minnesota has become a heavyweight in the bicycle industry.
Biking the Badlands
I'll be out in western North Dakota this weekend to tackle the Maah Daah Hey trail. Little nervous, not gonna lie. The trail is remote and water is scarce. Last weekend they had the Maah Daah Hey 100 mountain bike race so I'm hoping some of the trail will be more discernible with the increased tire traffic. From what I've read, only about 8 out of 160 riders finished the Maah Daah Hey 100 with many DNF's due to either the high heat or getting lost or both. Granted I won't be riding 100 miles in one day but it is going to be hot...temps stay in the upper 90s all weekend! Yikes.
Summer ain't over yet! Get ready for the hottest weather since July 18th.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. H: 83° Wind: S 7-9
Saturday Night: Clear. L: 62° Wind: S 7
Sunday: Partly sunny. H: 85° L: 65° Wind: SSW 10-15
Monday: Broken sunshine, getting humid. H: 88° L: 71° Wind: S 5-10
Tuesday: Hot & humid. H: 92° L: 70° Wind: SSW 7
Wednesday: Summer heat, breezy. H: 93° L: 71° Wind: 10-15
When determining how hot conditions will get, forecasters often look to the 850 mb temperature for answers. 850 mb is a standard pressure level in the atmosphere where the low-level jet stream resides. This jet stream often transports heat and moisture northward into Minnesota.
Warmer air aloft slowly migrates into the Midwest from the Central High Plains as the model above shows. For Minnesota, whenever the 850 mb temperature gets to 20°C the chances are good that the surface temperature will reach 90° or higher.
Wednesday could be the hottest day as the 850 mb temperature reaches 25°C. As a general forecasting rule of thumb, adding 13 degrees to the 850 mb temperature will give you near the predicted forecast high for that day.
25°C = 77°F+ 13°= 90°
Rain?...what rain? Chances are you'll be eating lots of dust from our local trails as the sky stays dry through next week.
The drought has increased just within the past month. Abnormally dry conditions went from 7% in mid July to over 30% currently. How quickly conditions can change, especially considering the very wet start to summer.
Conditions still look to stay warm for the 15th Annual Woodbury Days Bike Ride Saturday, August 24. Long-range models are hinting at a chance of rain...this dry pattern is bound to break-up at some point! Crossing my fingers the rain holds off until after the ride.
The weather couldn't have been better for the 2013 Rusty Ride at Cuyuna Lakes on Saturday. Check out the post-race weather round up here.
Sunday's high temperature of 80 degrees was the first above normal temperature in 20 days!
Quiet riding weather stays with us pretty much all week. Isolated thunderstorms are likely Friday followed by a slight warm-up this weekend.
Tuesday: Sunny. H: 77° Wind: NNE 2 mph
Tuesday Night: Clear. L: 56° Wind: CALM
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 79° L: 59° Wind: WSW 2-4 mph
Thursday: A few clouds. H: 80° L: 63° Wind: SSW 2-4 mph
Friday: Broken sun. A few thunderstorms. H: 81° L: 64° Wind: S 5-10
Saturday: Partly sunny, Isolated thunder. Windy. H: 82° L: 65° Wind: S 15-20
Sunday: Partly sunny. H: 83° L: 66° Wind: S 5-10
A sprawling high pressure settles over the Great Lakes this week keeping Minnesota dry with all the stormy weather to our south.
Oddity on Radar
Doppler radar not only detects rain but it can also pick up hail, mountains, wind turbines, radio towers, birds and bugs. There was an interesting feature detected by radar in Scott County just to the west of Prior Lake on Saturday morning. From the NWS:
The two top reflectivity images show a nearly stationary area of higher reflectivity values that quickly dissipates into a ring early this morning. The velocity image indicates a clockwise motion to the feature before it spreads out when the feature disappears.
What could it be?
The location is Mystic Lake Casino where spotlights shine straight up in the air. The bright lights attract bugs, and the bugs attract predators such as bats or maybe birds. The radar beam is likely bending to a lower elevation, and seeing the bats/insects. What's puzzling is the clockwise rotation that is consistent until they all scatter at the end of the video.
One possible theory for the clockwise rotation is a "Roost Ring" when thousands of birds leave their nests in search for food.
Trail riding could be rather limited this week as early morning rains on Monday closed many trails and more rain arrives Tuesday and Thursday. Be sure to check the latest trail conditions.
Tuesday: Afternoon thunderstorms. Hail/high wind threat. H: 83 Wind: SW 5-10
Tuesday Night: Storms ending after midnight. L: 61 Wind: NW 7
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. H: 77 L: 59 Wind: CALM
Thursday: Afternoon showers & storms. H: 79 L: 60 Wind: SW 5-10
Friday: Decreasing clouds. H: 75 L: 58 Wind: NW 5-10
Saturday: Partly cloudy, breezy. H: 75 L: 59 Wind: SW 10-15
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Late PM thunderstorms. H: 80 L: 61 Wind: SW 2-4
Minnesota averages 34 tornadoes in a typical year. So far, we've had 6 tornadoes. The primary season for severe weather in Minnesota is between April 15-September 17 so there's still time to get closer to average.
Men More Likely to be Killed by Lightning
Okay, guys, even though you have a better chance of dating a supermodel than getting struck by lightning you still are more likely to be killed by lightning than your female counterparts. Why? In short, because of male behavior.
"Possible explanations for this finding are that males are unaware of all the dangers associated with lightning, are more likely to be in vulnerable situations, are unwilling to be inconvenienced by the threat of lightning, are in situations that make it difficult to get to a safe place in a timely manner, don't react quickly to the lightning threat, or any combination of these explanations, " according to the National Weather Service, NOAA.
In this recent study, biking was considered a leisure activity along with camping and fishing. Riding bikes, motorcycles and ATVs made up 7% of lightning fatalities. For the record, the number one lightning fatality sport was soccer (41%) and not golf (28%) as many believe.
Get your spandex ready! Cool, quiet and comfortable conditions will make for the perfect riding weather this weekend. Soak up all the singletrack while you can...scattered thunderstorms are expected Monday and Tuesday.
Saturday: Scattered clouds, dewpoints in the 40s! H: 78 Wind: N 2-4
Saturday Night: Mostly clear L: 56 Wind: CALM
Sunday: Clouds gradually increase but a dry day. H: 79 L: 62 Wind: S 2-4
Monday: Turning cloudy, late afternoon thunder. H: 81 L: 68 Wind: SW 10-15
Tuesday: Morning rain, decreasing PM clouds. H: 83 L: 65 Wind: NW 10-15
Wednesday: Partly cloudy H: 78 L: 61 Wind: NW 2-4
Cooler Than Average Continues
70's in early August? Feels more like the beginning of June. This cooler air doesn't show signs of surrendering anytime soon either. The image below shows a puddle of cool, Canadian air invading the Midwest and Northeast sometime late next week. Will fall come early this year? Either way, I doubt anyone will be complaining about the comfortable riding weather.
For the first time since January, the daily average temperature starts to tumble in August. We are loosing precious daylight now and that becomes apparent with our high and low temperatures throughout the month.
Poison Ivy on Steroids
Research shows that higher CO2 levels can make poison ivy bigger and itchier. When the plants were exposed to higher amounts of CO2, the toxicity of urushiol (oil that inflames human skin) increases and the leaves get even bigger. From Climate Central, "the figure above shows the amount of oil produced under different CO2 scenarios - following the rise from 1950 to today and continuing into the future as CO2 emissions are expected to continue to rise."
Sometimes mountain biking and poison ivy go hand in hand. So the next time you find yourself off the trail and into some poison ivy, oak or sumac follow this at-home remedy will help combat that itchy oil : http://bit.ly/17oTqUe
Summer brings warm afternoons perfect for biking, but the summer heat and humidity can also spark thunderstorms and severe weather. Be prepared for any type of adverse weather headed your way with Aeris Pulse.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story