Hope you got your fill of riding during the week because rain is looking to spoil any chance of riding this weekend. Rain starts early Saturday morning as a wet Pacific cold front moves into Minnesota.
Saturday: Rain by 8 AM, steady and heavy for about 4 hours before tapering off by evening. H: 69° Wind: WNW: 10-15
Saturday Night: Clearing and cooler. L: 47° Wind: SW 5-10
Sunday: Mostly sunny. H: 75° L: 54° Wind: SW 5-10
Monday: Sunny and breezy. H: 78° L: 56° Wind: SW 10-15
Tuesday: Warmer than normal. Still sunny & dry. H: 77° L: 55° Wind: SW 10
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 73° L: 52° Wind: NE 2-4
Rainfall amounts Saturday stay between 0.25"-0.50" in the metro whereas nearly 2 inches fall near Lake of the Woods. The rain actually might help to firm the sand on the Hillside Park trail for Sunday's high school race!
Despite the rain being ill-timed (aka over our weekend) the state could use it. Drought conditions have been rapidly expanding since early July.
A powerful jet stream with winds aloft screaming over 120 mph will plow through the Northern Rockies early next week. This will help to send storms north of area, keeping Minnesota dry. With a trough in the western states, the Midwest will be anchored under a ridge of high pressure with warmer than average temperatures.
Nearing 80 degrees again by Monday...
Now that we're past the Autumnal Equinox and the sun's most direct rays are going south of the equator, those with the green thumb have to monitor overnight low temperatures very closely as a plant-killing frost and freeze becomes more likely. The Twin Cities have yet to reach into the 30's overnight...but soon enough. The average first frost (32 degrees) occurs around October 7. The average first hard freeze (28 degrees) occurs around the 20th of October. For those itching to ride the fat bikes, the initial soil freeze happens around December 8th, a time when the snow has a better chance of sticking to the trails.
If you can remember, we had a very wet start to the warm biking season. Our late Spring and early Summer was quite soggy and, as a result, the corn crop got planted late. Now with the onset of our first frost and freeze, the still maturing corn crop has an even greater risk of freeze-related yield loss this year as the graphic below indicates.
Climate scientists, however, have been noting that since 1970, much of the U.S. has seen the frost-free season get longer including in Minneapolis/St. Paul according to Climate Central. The graphic below shows that, during any given year, the number of days between the last and first frost are increasing.
Might be a good idea to get your trail riding in early this week because rain chances begin to increase into the weekend. Rain arrives Friday through Saturday likely resulting in trail closures over the weekend.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. H: 74° Wind: SE 4
Wednesday Night: Mostly clear, light breeze. L: 56° Wind: SE 10
Thursday: Mostly sunny, warmer & breezy. H: 78° L: 62° Wind: SE 10-15
Friday: Increasing clouds and rain. H: 75° L: 57° Wind: S 10
Saturday: Scattered rain. Total rain: ~0.35" H: 66° L: 52° Wind: WNW 10
Sunday: Clearing yet dry. H: 70° L: 53° Wind: SW 7
I'm still mourning the death of summer. Daylight hours are noticeably shorter and chances are you plan a ride too late and get caught in the dark with no lights. I'm notorious for doing this at least once a year. Fall officially begins, astronomically speaking, this Sunday. Nighttime will get longer as the sun's direct rays pass south of the equator. So long summer...
Metro Trail Rainfall Totals Past 24 Hours
Elm Creek: 0.25"
While the rain, overall, wasn't a lot (0.50" or less) it was enough to close many trails on Friday. One big storm cell over Monticello, however, did produce over 1" amounts in additions to quarter size hail and damaging winds. Hillside got a whopping 1.17" of rain! That kind of rain had to have an effect (good or bad) on all that sand on the trail.
After a refreshingly cool weekend, conditions will gradual begin to warm up next week back into the 80s. Our next shot of rain will be Monday night but even then it looks to be fairly light. More substantial rains come the last Friday in September.
Saturday: Sunny, still cool. Very dry air. Dewpoints low 40's! H: 66° Wind: NW 2
Saturday Night: Clear and cold. L: 42° Wind: SE 5
Sunday: Sunny and warmer. H: 71° L: 53° Wind: SE 10
Monday: Breezy. Light rain Monday night. H: 73° L: 57° Wind: SE 15
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. H: 79° L: 57° Wind: SW 10
Wednesday: Partly cloudy H: 81° L: 58° Wind: SW 10
Riding has been good...almost too good. Rainfall this month has been nearly an inch below normal. This extended dry weather has led to expanding drought conditions and now sand is showing up in spots that don't normally see sand.
After a few showers early Wednesday, our next shot of any substantial rain comes Thursday with a cold front. For the drought's sake, I'm hoping we can squeeze an inch out of (strong?) thunderstorms Thursday evening.
Wednesday: Morning rain, afternoon clearing. H: 80 Wind: S 10
Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy. L: 70 Wind: SW 10
Thursday: Mostly cloudy, showers and thunderstorms. Some strong. H: 79 L: 58 Wind: W 5-10
Friday: Mostly sunny. Cooler breeze. H: 68 L: 49 Wind: 10-15
Saturday: Sunny. H: 68 L: 50 Wind: NW 4
Sunday: Sunny H: 71 L: 53 Wind: SE 10
You know the seasons are changing when the Velodrome has its last Thursday Night Lights race. September has, so far, been good to us...if not a little too dry. Minnesota has experienced what is known as a 'flash drought' meaning that drought conditions have increased rapidly in the recent weeks. Trails are dry and dusty but a little rain this weekend should settle the dust.
Our trails should get a good soaking Saturday night as a cool front swings through the state. Cool yet refreshing air slides in late in the weekend followed by a slight warm up through midweek. Tuesday & Wednesday will be our next shot at rain.
Saturday: Becoming cloudy with rain arriving by 7 pm. H: 71° Wind: SW 9
Saturday Night: Steady rain, some heavy at times. Total rain could be ~ 0.50" L: 54°
Sunday: Cloudy through midday, then clearing. H: 66° L: 44° Wind: NE 10
Monday: Best day for riding! Clear blue sky. H: 67° L: 53° Wind: SE 4
Tuesday: Morning sun, afternoon clouds and rain. H: 71° L: 61° Wind: SE 10
Wednesday: Rain slowly ending through the day. H: 82° L: 64° Wind: S 10
With the recent lack of any substantial rain, drought conditions have been allowed to expand. The state went from almost no drought in the beginning of August to severe drought in the north metro this September.
Total rainfall through late next week does show some generous amounts in central and southern Minnesota. Trails could become tacky again by next weekend.
Storms on Steroids?
Colorado's Front Range got slammed by heavy rain of 'biblical proportion' late this week. Crazy rainfall totals of up to ten inches fell over a few days time. Heavy rain like that anywhere is enough to cause some serious problems. Colorado is a popular cycling state with many of the trails and bike paths completely submerged in flood waters. Commuting by car, bike...or foot for that matter was extremely dangerous and life-threatening.
Many climate scientists believe that climate change will have an affect on global weather patterns. Storms won't necessarily be stronger but slower. With warming near the poles, the north-south temperatures gradient across the globe decreases. Some studies have shown that as the temperature gradient decreases, the jet stream becomes weaker and a lazy jet stream could bring slower moving storms across the country, capably of dumping large amounts of precipitation over one area for a longer period of time. Did this happen in Denver? Tough to say if this was just an anomaly or the beginning of a new norm. Either way, we need to remember, weather is the day to day variation of conditions whereas climate is the 30+ year average of these variations.
Love your bike but hate to wash it after a sloppy ride? Then the QBike, a car wash for your bike, just might be the answer. At $2,000 a QBike station, this thing blasts your bike clean with detergent and a water rinse cycle. Don't be surprised to see these popping up at a bike shop near you.
While on a trip back to Pennsylvania this past weekend to visit my parents, I had an itch to scratch. Lately, I've been yearning for the trails of my youth. I've been wanting to pedal through the deciduous, dense forest and never-ending hilly terrain that makes up northeastern Pennsylvania.
Fortunately, I reconnected with a local and got to experience again the singletrack I grew up riding. In my hometown of Mountain Top, PA there is no trail organization like MORC to help maintain trails. These heavily wooded trails are made and kept up by some of the local guys that ride them day in and day out. Their efforts are noticeable but the trails are still very rugged and rocky as hell. My butt is still sore from the multitude of rock gardens we traversed on our 20+ mile ride. Let's just say I've scratched the itch...
Looking forward to getting back on our well-groomed MORC trails here in Minnesota! MSP hit 94° on Monday making it day #3 with highs in the 90's. Typically we get 1 day in the 90s in September. Could this be summer's last hurrah? Cooler conditions do make an entrance late this week. Drier, more comfortable riding weather settles in for the weekend.
Wednesday: Sunny. Cooler. H: 82° Wind: NW 5-10
Wednesday Night: Clear. L: 57° Wind: N 4
Thursday: Low dewpoints (40s), comfortably cooler. H: 71° L: 52° Wind: NW 5
Friday: Awesome riding weather! Sunny & dry. H: 71° L: 51° Wind: NE 4
Saturday: Clouds increase. Rain overnight ~0.25" H: 70° L: 55° Wind: SW 10
Sunday: Lingering clouds & showers. Cool. H: 69° L: 55° Wind: N 5-10
September is one of the best months for outdoor recreation. Over 50% of our time in September is spent in "cool" conditions with temperatures ranging from 50°F to 65°F...a temperature range that I think is ideal for riding in Minnesota.
Woollybear and Weather Forecasting
Before the use of supercomputers many weather observers looked to nature to predict the weather. For the most part, predicting future seasons through changes in nature have turned into folklore but many people still use these observations every day. As a young girl growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, we would capture the woollybear caterpillar and use their markings as a sign of either a harsh or mild winter to come. According to weather-lore, the narrower the brown band the harsher the upcoming winter. What natural signs have you seen on the trail?
September is a superb biking month for those who like the sunshine. Minneapolis/St. Paul experiences a completely clear sky 51% of the time in September. What's even more amazing is that in nearly every part of the country, September is one of the clearest months.
The reason for the clarity of September has to do with the stability of the air. The upper atmosphere still maintains summer-time warmth whereas the ground begins to cool under longer nights. This warmer air aloft over cooler air at the surface is generally a stable atmosphere.
A big increase in heat and humidity will occur into the weekend. Rain chances arrive Sunday through early next week. Luckily for the MN High School League's first race the rain should hold off until late Sunday...well after the last racer crosses the finish line at Salem Hills.
Friday: Partly sunny. Hot & slightly humid. H: 91 Wind: SW 5-10
Friday Night: Clear. L: 66 Wind: CALM
Saturday: Partly sunny. H: 90 L: 63 Wind: NNE 7
Sunday: Increasing clouds, rain ~ 7pm into Sunday night. H: 84 L: 60 Wind: SE 10
Monday: Showers. Relatively cooler, breezy. H: 80 L: 65 Wind: SW 10-15
Tuesday: Rain ends early, dry afternoon. H: 80 L: 62 Wind: W 5
The Wonderfully Weird Inflatable Helmet
Have you seen this thing yet? You can now protect your noggin without messing up your coif. This discrete helmet inflates when accelerometers and gyrometers detect you're about to crash. After 7 years of development by two women at Lund University in Sweden, the Hövding helmet is finally for sale. Question is...would you wear one?
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story