A dry period remains through Thursday. Next best chance of rain is late Friday with a quick-moving cold front. The fast nature of this boundary will limit rainfall amounts to under 1 inch. Expect cooler weather by the end of the weekend.
Tuesday: Sunny. H: 67 Wind: WSW 4
Tuesday Night: Clear. L: 50
Wednesday: Dry. H: 71 L: 53 Wind: SSW 4
Thursday: Sunny. H: 71 L: 58 Wind: SE 4
Friday: Turning cloudy, rain late. H: 79 L: 65 Wind: SE 10
Saturday: Morning showers, remaining mostly cloudy. H: 76 L: 54 Wind: SW 10
Sunday: Becoming mostly cloudy. H: 73 L: 50 Wind: WNW 4
Fall Trends: Areas west of the Mississippi have had an unmistakable warming trend during the fall season. The Upper Midwest has seen a 0.88 degree increase in warmth per decade.
Precipitation trends have also changed. Fall is leaning towards slightly drier than average conditions across the Midwest. As Climate Central points out, "this warming could lead to a range of impacts nationwide, such as pushing back the fall harvest, delaying the frost/freeze season (which plays into the life cycles of species and ecosystems), extending the wildfire season, and affecting fall foliage displays."
Cirrocumulus Virga: I snapped this picture (below) driving back from Lebanon Hills last Saturday....wispy clouds descending from a tiny parent cloud. The feathery look to the clouds might actually be ice crystals falling from the cloud but evaporating before reaching the ground. These clouds are often referred to as "mares' tails" as they resemble the tails of horses.
Measuring Carbon Footprint:
"Scientists have developed a new approach to estimate carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels -- one that provides crucial information to policymakers. Called the 'Fossil Fuel Data Assimilation System,' this system was used to quantify 15 years of carbon dioxide emissions, every hour, for the entire planet -- down to the city scale. Until now, scientists have estimated greenhouse gas emissions at coarser scales or used less reliable techniques." Read more about this study here.
Heavy rains of biblical proportion impacted all of our metro trails on Thursday. Many sites received a half a year's worth of rain in just 2 months. Here are some of the stats from Thursday's record-setting rain:
So, what led to this tropical deluge? Blame storm training. Thunderstorms continuously building back on themselves over the same areas, much like train cars on a railroad track.
There was also an incredible amount of lightning over Minnesota. Take notice to how green the grass and trees will look. Turns out all this greenery is not only because of the rain... but lightning plays a role as well!
To track real-time lightning strikes check out LightningMaps.org.
Chance of rain lingers into next week but a lack of any deep moisture will keep the threat of flooding rain low.
Saturday: Isolated thunder, especially western MN. H: 87 Wind: SW 10-15
Saturday Night: Thunderstorms. L: 70
Sunday: Morning thunder, afternoon sun. H: 83 L: 64 Wind: S 2
Monday: A daytime thunderstorm. H: 79 L: 62 Wind: NW 5-10
Tuesday: Thundershower. H: 74 L: 55 Wind: NW 10
Wednesday: Thunderstorm. H: 73 L: 57 Wind: NW 5
Good news...drier than average conditions return into early July. Hallelujah!
If you've been to the north shore recently you've experienced some wacky weather: record heat and record ice. Temperatures all week have been pushing 90 degrees at the same time huge ice chunks still linger in Lake Superior. This is the largest ice cover in late May since records began.
Rounds of rain can be expected through early next week. Rain totals could exceed 2 inches resulting in temporary trail closures.
Saturday: Storms slowly roll into western MN. Metro may stay dry for the majority of the day. H: 85 Wind: SE 10
Saturday Night: Thunderstorms increasing. L: 68
Sunday: Showers and thunderstorms. H: 86 L: 67 Wind: S 5-10
Monday: Rain, thunder. Mostly cloudy H: 83 L: 59 Wind: SW 10-15
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. H: 78 L: 56 Wind: NW 10
Wednesday: Thunderstorms. H: 71 L: 55 Wind: SE 10
Rain may put a damper on our riding plans, but at least it isn't snow! Back in 1947 an unprecedented snow storm cruised through the Midwest. A cool foot of snow fell in Harrison, Nebraska. This storm just clipped southern Minnesota but went on to bring measurable snow to Wisconsin May 27-29.
Despite starting off this year one of the wettest on record, drought conditions have crept back into southwestern Minnesota. California is far worse with drought conditions expected to cost $1.7 billion and 14, 500 jobs.
Often times drought and wildfire danger go hand-in-hand. But as WeatherBELL meteorologist Joe Bastardi points out, wildfires have been trending below normal and drought conditions globally haven't changed much.
Rain creeps back into the area Saturday afternoon. Thunderstorms likely through Mother's Day.
Trail openings earlier in the week were just a little teaser. Hopefully you had a chance to shred some good Minnesota dirt before the storms rolled in.
In addition to a soaking 0.50"+ on our metro trails, baseball size hail and tornadoes accompanied the first severe storms of the season.
Trails will get a chance to dry out for about 24-36 hours before the next round of rain arrives.
Storm chasers were out in southern Minnesota on Thursday capturing a tornado touchdown near St. James. Doppler radar can only tell us so much about severe storms and that is why physical weather observations, made on the ground, are so important. The high-res visible satellite on Thursday (below) showed the storm cloud tops flowing north due to winds exceeding 130 mph aloft.
Our trails will see a brief window of drier weather before showers are back Saturday afternoon. Crossing my fingers for enough drying to open Carver Lake Park for the inaugural Tent Days at the Trailhead!
Saturday: Becoming mostly cloudy, afternoon showers. H: 69 Wind: W 15-20
Saturday Night: Thunderstorms. L: 53
Mother's Day: Cloudy. Scattered storms. H: 70 L: 50 Wind: NW 5-10
Monday: Widespread rain. H: 59 L: 44 Wind: NW 5-10
Tuesday: Lingering rain. H: 58 L: 45 Wind: NW 10-15
Wednesday: Dry. Partly cloudy. H: 57 L: 42 Wind: W 10-15
The frequent rains as of recently have really saturated our soils. The soil moisture indicator shows above average wetness as of May 5. This is measured at the surface layer which is defined as the top 2 centimeters of soil. On a positive note, drought is not an issue for Minnesota.
Welcome to Seattle. Seriously. We just had the 2nd wettest April on record. We're all longing for the days when we can shred some dirt, not mud. Will that day come? Hard to say as next week looks pretty soggy as well. Hang in there...plenty of gravel rides to be had!
Saturday: Partly sunny. Breezy. H: 58 Wind: NW 15-20
Saturday Night: Mostly clear. L: 37 Wind: N 5
Sunday: Partly sunny. H: 60 L: 38 Wind: N 5
Monday: Showers. H: 59 L: 43 Wind: E 7
Tuesday: Showers, heavier rain late. H: 62 L: 48 Wind: SE 10
Wednesday: Thunderstorms. H: 64 L: 52 Wind: E 10
Thursday: Thunderstorms. H: 71 L: 51 Wind: SE 5-10
Friday: Rain. H: 56 L: 49 Wind: SW 10
Just when our trails were starting to thaw and dry, two huge back-to-back rainstorms have saturated the soil. Any trail work has been put on a temporary hold. Theo, for example, received 2" of rain just on Sunday alone. Standing water is rampant across the metro and more rain is on the way.
Wednesday: Morning rain/snow showers. H: 49 L: 39 Wind: NW 5-10
Thursday: Cloudy. Showers. H: 52 L: 38 Wind: NW 10
Friday: Showers linger. H: 53 L: 39 Wind: NW 10
Saturday: Broken sun. Isolated rain. H: 57 L: 44 Wind: NW 4
Sunday: Partly sunny. Warmer H: 60 L: 47 Wind: SW 5
Saving Cow Farts
Here's a sobering stat: One cow can produce up to 300 liters of methane per day. If converted to energy this is enough to run a car for 24 hours. Cows are also thought to be a significant cause of climate change. Really?! The business of capturing and harnessing cow flatulence for energy is a serious subject right now.
Besides the backpack experiment to capture cow farts and generate energy, more mainstream studies are ongoing which look at reducing the emissions to begin with. Researchers are breeding lower-emission cows and feeding them lower flatulence-producing food. Some researchers are putting wireless sensors in cow stomachs to the track effects of diet.
Climate Change and Clouds
An old colleague of mine from Penn State University, Mark Zelinka, is determined to crack the code on clouds and their role in climate change. Here's the dilemma:
Clouds both trap and deflect planet-warming energy. Their molecules contribute to the greenhouse effect by lapping up infrared radiation emitted by Earth and redirecting some of that energy back toward the planet's surface. But clouds' white tops also reflect almost a fifth of the solar radiation that reaches the planet, a shading effect.
Mark is using sophisticated radar and lidar data to get the most comprehensive view of clouds that has ever been available. Hoping his research will answer the question of whether clouds will accelerate or dampen global warming.
Blizzard conditions can only mean one thing to the Minnesota fatbiker: trail maintenance. Winds packing over 30 mph combined with the 4"-6" snowfall we received this week has made the snow deep on spots. Any exposed area of trail likely has significant drifting. Carver Lake Park, for example, is planning trail maintenance and packing before the Cold Catfish Cup on Sunday.
A fresh round of 2"-4" of snow by Saturday should make the Get Phat with Pat River Bottoms Race interesting! Winds are always an issue when these strong Alberta Clippers race through Minnesota this time of year.
Saturday: Morning snow ending throughout afternoon. H: 18 Wind: S 10 G 20
Saturday Night: Clearing. L: 10 Wind chill: -4
Sunday: Mostly sunny. Breezy. H: 17 L: -7 Wind: 10-15 G 30
Monday: Cloudy and COLD. H: 0 L: -14 Wind: NW 7
Tuesday: Partly sunny. H: -2 L: -12 Wind: W 2-4
Wednesday: Cloudy. H: 5 L: -10 Wind: NW 7
The words 'polar vortex' have been thrown around a lot lately in the media. There's absolutely nothing new about the polar vortex. It has always been in the arctic! The polar vortex is simply the low pressure associated with the core of the coldest air in the northern most latitudes. This swirling low can often swing down lobes of cold air during winter. A piece of the polar vortex is back early next week...beware.
We spent 62 hours below zero this week. That number doesn't even come close to the record of 186 consecutive hours back in 1912. Either way, that crazy arctic outbreak is behind us. A 50 degree temperature swing has occurred over a 4 day period. 30s never felt so good!
There will be a couple opportunities for fresh snow on the trails this weekend. The first round comes in Friday night with 1 inch accumulation in the metro. A light wintry mix early Sunday could cause glaze on the groomed trails.
Saturday: Morning snow ending, staying cloudy. H: 29 Wind: NW 10
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy. L: 16 Wind: SW 10
Sunday: Morning light freezing drizzle, very brief. Crusty trails? H: 35 L: 13 Wind: SW 10
Monday: Snow showers. H: 23 L: 16 Wind: SW 10
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, breezy. H: 24 L: 5 Wind: NW 15-20
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. H: 22 L: 13 Wind: SW 10
Fewer Frigid Nights
Despite the recent extreme cold, the numbers show that overall there is a downward trend in the number of extreme cold nights.
Ash Borer Larvae and Cold
If you've been up north lately, you've seen the devastation these little buggers have done to the ash trees. Across the United States, 150-200 million out of 8 billion ash trees have perished. The good new is that many of the ash borer larvae in Minnesota may not be able to survive our recent cold winter. A recent study "showed that 5% of the insects die at 0F, 34% at -10F, 79% at -20F and 98% at -30F." You can read more about this in Paul Hettner's weather blog.
2014 MORC Board of Directors
Introducing the 2014 MORC Board of Directors! We're excited about the upcoming year. I will be posting our latest webinar discussing the past, present and future of this great organization. Lots of good stuff in the pipeline so stay tuned!
Monday: Cloudy and coldest of the week. H: -16 Wind chill: -40
Monday Night: Bitterly cold. L: -20 Wind chill: -45
Tuesday: Not quite as cold. H: -1 L: -10 Wind chill: -10
Wednesday: Slowly climbing out of the cold. H: 0 L: -5 Wind: CALM
Thursday: Warmer southerly wind. Flurries. H: 17 L: 12 Wind: SE 10
Friday: Mostly cloudy, flurries. H: 30 L: 20 Wind: SW 10
Saturday: Mostly sunny. H: 32 L: 23 Wind: W 15-20
Sunday: Partly sunny H: 35 L: 25 Wind: SW 15-20
For those that will be commuting by bike this week, take extra care to cover up. With record cold and wind chill as low as -65, exposed skin can get frostbitten in 5-10 minutes.
Luckily, this extreme cold will be rather short lived. Conditions will gradually get warmer with each passing day and by the weekend, we'll be back to freezing!
Hang in there, we're stuck in this cold abyss for a while. In fact, temperatures look to stay below normal through the middle of January. Praying for a warm front. The lack of any thaw, however, will allow for pristine trail conditions for fatbikes.
Monday Night: Snow showers. About 1 inch accumulation. L: -9 Wind: NW 7
New Year's Eve: Cold, increasing clouds. Snow after midnight to ring in the new year. Accumulations ~1" H: 0 L: -9 Wind: NW 2-4
New Year's Day: Cloudy. H: 5 L: -7 Wind: NE 10
Thursday: Sunny. H: 3 L: -10 Wind: NW 4
Friday: Partly sunny. Slight warming thru the night. H: 15 L: 20 Wind: S 5-10
Saturday: Snow showers. Little to no accumulation. H: 20 L: 7 Wind: NW 15-20
Sunday: Partly cloudy. H: 13 L: -8 Wind: NW 10-15
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story