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.
A friend of mine owns a bike shop in State College, PA that specializes in building custom bikes from a mix of new and recycled parts. The shop is called Freeze Thaw Cycles...appropriately named, huh? Here in Minnesota, the freeze thaw cycle takes on a totally different meaning. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association explains the process:
"When soil freezes all the moisture turns to ice crystals between the particles of the soil, and in clay or loam soil they are tightly packed together. As the moisture freezes the crystals expand and tear the clay apart which shatters it, then as it thaws the soil becomes more porous and allows more moisture in. This is repeated with every successive thaw."
Minnesota sees over 100 freeze thaw cycles a season. Now is the time to respect the trails and ride only when conditions are right, usually when the trail is frozen in the early morning or late evening. If you enjoy mountain biking the Twin Cities trails, please support the organization and volunteers that make the trails a reality.
The coldest air since last March dumped into Minnesota this month. The air has been so cold yet the lake water so warm that lake effect clouds have been spotted as far south as St. Cloud from Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg, Canada!
With another whiff of Canadian cold early next week, this list of essential cold weather riding gear can help keep you warm when out in the elements.
Introducing 2WheelWeather Talks, where we discuss weather and its impacts on cycling! Our very first guest is competitive cyclists, April Morgan. She discusses the challenges weather can put on training and racing through all four seasons.
November is known for wicked storms like the Armistice Day Blizzard and the White Hurricane. So far, so good this November but as we know conditions can change rapidly. During the 1940 Armistice Day Blizzard, for example, the temperature fell 40 degrees in a 24 hour period. These storms tend to wreak havoc over the Great Lakes like during the 1913 White Hurricane. That storm produced white out conditions over Lake Huron with winds over 90 mph and 35 foot waves!
Carson from Welch shares this video from the North Shore over the weekend. The smooth lake surface provides very little friction so the wind can actually pick up speed. If the wind direction is steady then gigantic waves can be generated. I'm still amazed at how big those waves can get!
Speaking of disasters, a group of climate scientists have released a summary about "observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes along with their impact on air and water quality." This article covers the impact of weather and climate extremes on air and water quality. Turns out that Minnesota is more susceptible to extreme flooding events. This is why we should be concerned:
Floods resulting from increases in heavy precipitation events or from snowmelt can cause combined sewer overflow systems, which are designed to discharge excess wastewater when under extreme duress, to overflow more often into nearby lakes, rivers, or other bodies of water, causing water quality challenges in these typically urban areas. Flooding of industrial areas or agricultural chemical storage locations can cause chemicals to move into nearby watersheds, also degrading water quality and even contaminating some residential areas. Low water levels due to drought can also contribute to deteriorated water quality.
After a wet yet warmer weekend another cold blast hits Minnesota. Highs will barely break freezing Monday and Tuesday followed by another thaw later in the week. No big chance of snow in the short term forecast. Fingers crossed Frozen 40!...hoping for a healthy snowpack this year.
We've had 11 consecutive weekends with measurable rain...this weekend makes twelve! You have to go all the way back to the month of March to find a completely dry weekend. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Morning showers and thunderstorms taper Saturday morning as a slow cold front swings through Minnesota. Luckily the heaviest rain stays south of the metro trails. Sunday will be dry but additional rain is likely Sunday night. Blah.
Saturday: AM Thunder, partly sunny PM. H: 84 Wind: NW 5-10
Saturday night: Clear & calm. L: 62 Wind: W 2-4
Father's Day: Sunny, DRY! Rain arrives Sunday night. H: 85 L: 64 Wind: SW 5-10
Monday: Morning rain, mostly cloudy. H: 78 L: 58 Wind: NW 10
Tuesday: Sun! H: 79 L: 60 Wind: NE 2-4
Wednesday: Sunny. H: 80 L: 65 Wind: SE 5-10
Lutsen 99er & 2WheelWeather
2WW is excited to provide a CycleCast for the upcoming Lutsen 99er (and 39er) race June 29! Luckily northern MN hasn't had the frequent rains like the southern half of the state. Still, conditions are currently on the damp side. After all, it's June...the wettest month of the year.
Right now, the 16-Day Long Range Forecast hints at some rain on race day. Stay updated on trail and weather conditions with the Lutsen 99er CycleCast, a hyper local and highly detailed forecast 5 days, 3 days and 24 hours in advance of race day located here or on the Lutsen 99er website.
I'll be at Lutsen racing so fingers crossed for a dry day! See you there!
Past 24 Hour Rainfall
The trails are saturated with the 2-4 inches of rain we received over the weekend. Additional rains early this week will likely produce some minor flooding in those favored low-lying areas. Time to trade the bike in for a boat?
Gushing with the recent rains.
Past 7 Day Rainfall
Tuesday: Thundershowers. H: 71 Wind: S 5-10
Tuesday Night: Showers. L: 53 Wind: N 4-7
Wednesday: Lingering showers. Cooler. H: 65 L: 48 Wind: N 10-15
Thursday: Sunny, dry with lower humidity. H: 70 L: 50 Wind: NE 4-7
Friday: Increasing afternoon clouds. H: 71 L: 55 Wind: SSE 10-15
Saturday: Thunderstorm. H: 74 L: 57 Wind: SE 10-15
Sunday: Thunderstorms. H: 75 L: 58 Wind: S 10-15
Time to do some much-needed bike maintenance? This weekend might be the perfect time to do it as Minnesota has now entered into a wet and stormy weather pattern. Parts of southern Minnesota have already received over 1 inch of rain on Friday.
Showers and thunderstorms will continue to impact our area trails through at least Tuesday. Total rainfall amounts could be in excess of 1-3 inches which is good for drought but bad for the Minnesota mountain biker. Be sure to stay updated on the current trail conditions.
Saturday: Morning showers, afternoon peeks of sun. H: 80 Wind: SSE 10-15
Saturday Night: Showers & thunderstorms. Rain 0.25" L: 66 Wind: SE 10-15
Sunday: Thundershowers, especially in the afternoon. H: 82 L: 65 Wind: SE 10-15
Monday: More rain and storms. H: 80 L: 56 Wind: SE 5-10
Tuesday: Thunder threat continues. Cooler & breezy. H: 65 L: 50 Wind: NNE 10-15 G 20
Wednesday: Lingering showers, remaining cool. H: 64 L: 50 Wind: NE 5-10
Bike History Repeating Itself?
The bike was king back in 1896. One out of every 12 New Yorkers had a bike during that period in time. While the bicycle had its heyday in the late 1800's just a few short years later the bicycle fell from grace. Many factors contributed to the bike's decreased popularity from the Gilded Age society to the invention of the automobile. You can read more on the Cycles of Fashion: A look back at the bicycle’s meteoric rise to the height of nineteenth century fashion, and its subsequent fall, provides striking parallels to today's bike culture by Daniel London. Great read.
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