81 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
82 F. average high on June 26.
81 F. high on June 26, 2014.

.06″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

June 26, 1982: Cold spell. Kulger Township dips to 31 degrees. Duluth registers 36.


Just when I thought I had seen everything. Thursday evening, in Duluth to give a speech on climate change, sustainability and resilience to the League of Minnesota Cities, I witnessed a freakish phenomenon. Returning from Fitgers along the Lakewalk winds suddenly shifted as a high-velocity fog bank swept in. Sustained winds were 40-50 mph. In seconds the temperature dropped 20 degrees, the visibility plummeted to zero, as people scurried to find shelter. No thunder or lightning, just an instantaneous tsunami of swirling gray. It was one of the fastest shifts in weather I’ve witnessed, anytime, anywhere. A few locals were even shaking their heads in disbelief. Never a dull moment huh?

(After giving this a little more thought all I can think is that this was an outflow boundary from a dying/collapsing thundershower northeast of Duluth, interacting with chilly lake water to create the strong winds and sudden drop in temperature and visibility. I can’t come up with a better explanation than that).

We salvage a sunscreen-worthy Saturday with low 80s. Watch for T-storms tonight with instability showers and T-showers lingering into Sunday.

Once again the pattern is stalling: a bloated heat-pump high pressure ridge treats the western USA to record heat and wildfires, while cool fronts push into Minnesota, one after another, keeping the heat wave from expanding into our zip code.

In fact  ECMWF (European) model hints at blue sky, low humidity and low 70s for the 4th of July.

Yes please!

“Hail Angels”? This takes love of (wild) weather to an entirely new level. Thanks to AerisWeather meteorologist Todd Nelson and his friend, Emily Schwamberger out in Minnetrista, for sending in this photo from Friday’s late afternoon hail showers. Looks refreshing!

An Irritable Atmosphere. 1 KM visible imagery from the late afternoon hours Friday shows showers and T-storms sprouting over central Minnesota, about to push into the Twin Cities metro. Note the lack of clouds over larger northern lakes, including Lake Superior, the result of cooler water inhibiting cumulus and cumulonimbus formation. Source: NOAA and AerisWeather.

A Nagging Upper Air Disturbance. A pool of relatively cold air in the upper atmosphere will keep showers and T-storms in the forecast from tonight into Monday. The best chance of bumping into a storm: late afternoon and evening hours, right after the high temperature for the day, when skies are most unstable. Meanwhile a major, almost April-like storm pushes a shield of heavy rain and T-storms across the Ohio Valley and Mid Atlantic Region into New England. Flash flooding and widespread 30-40 mph winds are likely with this unusually strong system for late June. Meanwhile the west continues to fry.

Heat Optional. No hot fronts in sight until (possibly) the second week of July, but the pattern is amazingly persistent with a hot ridge in the west guiding a series of cool fronts into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, limiting just how hot it can get. I think the European guidance above is a bit too cool for today and Sunday; low 80s early in the week before cooling down midweek with a more significant rain event possible Thursday. It’s early but guidance hints at a cool front just in time for the 4th of July. Source: Weatherspark.

Heat Wave Setting Up South of Minnesota. July looks like a brutally hot month for much of the USA, but I’m not (yet) convinced that persistent 90s will sweep into Minnesota. The core of the jet is forecast to be well south of its normal position at 500 mb (18,000 feet) on July 10, guiding a parade of cooler, drier, less humid fronts south of the border, taking the edge off the heat from Montana to Minnesota to Maine.

Preliminary June Climate Summary. Dr. Mark Seeley takes a look at June, to date, on a statewide level – trending near normal temperatures and wetter than average for most of Minnesota. Here’s a snippet related to ag at this week’s Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…Overall, it was a good month for Minnesota crops, with 89 percent of the state reporting adequate to surplus soil moisture conditions.  Harvest conditions were generally good for the 1st crop of alfalfa and reports from the field showed 80 percent of the state’s corn crop in good to excellent condition, and 76 percent of the soybean crop in good to excellent condition...”

Winners of NOAA’s Weather In Focus Photo Contest. Some of these images are amazing; check out the details from NOAA: “Remember safety first, but sometimes weather can develop in the blink of an eye supplying amazing photographic opportunities. Images depict both the subtle and extreme power of weather and climate, including images of extreme drought, floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes as well as snowscapes and landscapes.”

Photo credit above: “Proton arc over Lake Superior by Ken William, Clio, MI.”

The End of Death? Fortune Magazine has an intriguing article about life and death, and how a Silicon Valley tech leader (Peter Thiel) is contemplating a day when traditional death may be optional. It’s more of a moral challenge than a technical challenge in the minds off many – I’m not so sure we’ll ever cheat death, but it’s a fascinating read; here’s a clip: “…For Thiel, life is a self-evident good and death is the opposite of life. Therefore death is a problem, and as he says there are three main ways of approaching it. “You can accept it, you can deny it or you can fight it. I think our society is dominated by people who are into denial or acceptance, and I prefer to fight it.” Whether we can successfully fight death is a question about the nature of nature and about our ability to understand it. Whether we should try to fight death is a question of our philosophy and our theology…”

Is Taylor Swift a Hypocrite? I’m not sure I really care, but in the spirit of equal time here’s a story looking at how the superstar treats photographers and why there may be a little double-standard here. The Daily Dot has the story – here’s an excerpt: “…This is about how people—hired by someone else—are being forced (if they sign the contract) to release all images worldwide and forever over to her company, management, and label so that they may use those images for free for her publicity when she didn’t hire them or PAY THEM for it—which is her exact gripe with Apple…” (File photo: Ben Sklar/The New York Times).

Rent A Mourner. If you’re a little unsure of how turn-out will be at your funeral you can always turn to this ingenious company, based in the U.K. Not sure if they’re up and running in the USA yet, but with our vast, seemingly endless supply of jerks, buttheads and ex-significant others, I’m sure there’s a market here as well. Details: “RENT A MOURNER are based in Essex. We are available for funerals and wakes by appointment. We work with agents throughtout the United Kingdom and will supply a co-ordinator in your area to manage your needs. We are typically invited to help increase visitors to funerals where there may be a low turnout expected…”

You May Want To Stay Home Saturday. I’m all for a heat wave in Redding, California, but 704F is just ridiculous. Hey, what’s 600 degrees among friends?

TODAY: Warm sun, probably the nicer day of the weekend. Winds: W 5-10. High: 83

SATURDAY NIGHT: T-storms likely, locally heavy rain. Low: 63

SUNDAY: Unsettled, few showers and T-showers, mainly PM hours. High: near 80

MONDAY: Sunny start, another late-day thunder risk. Wake-up: 65. High: 83

TUESDAY: Warm sun, storms may stay south. Wake-up: 62. High: 79

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, late-day T-storm. Wake-up: 61. High: 81

THURSDAY: More numerous showers, T-storms. Wake-up: 60. High: 76

FRIDAY: Blue sky returns, lukewarm. Wake-up: 64. High: 80

Climate Stories…

What’s Really Warming The World? Eric Roston has a terrific interactive graphic that explains the impact of solar, volcanoes, aerosols and other factors in relation to CO2 and greenhouse gases. Check it out at Bloomberg Business . File photo: NASA.

Extreme Weather In A Changing World: Asking The Right Questions. Extreme weather attribution is an emerging science (how much of a storm’s intensity is “natural” vs. impacted by warmer air and ocean water and higher levels of water vapor?). Here’s an excerpt from a recent story at UCAR that caught my attention: “…The refrain that the science community has mostly had is that we can’t blame any one event on climate change,” said NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, lead author of the paper. “We want to change that refrain. While you can’t blame the whole event on climate change, many times there are aspects of what happened that were magnified by climate change. Even with the same weather event, the rain may be harder, the drought more intense, or the heat waves more severe....”

Giant Earthquakes Are Shaking Greenland – And Scientists Just Figured Out The Disturbing Reasons Why. Here’s an excerpt of a story from Chris Mooney at The Washington Post: “…Granted, these earthquakes aren’t caused by faults – they’re caused by massive movements of ice and how those impact the ground beneath. Compared with the early 1990s, Nettles says, scientists are now measuring seven times as many of these glacial earthquakes coming from Greenland — the rate has shot up as the ice sheet has begun to lose more mass from the calving of icebergs at the front end of glaciers…”

Photo credit above: “The surface of Helheim Glacier is incredibly rough and large.” (Credit: Nick Selmes, Swansea University)

It’s Time For Conservatives To End The Denial on Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Washington Post: “…In a recent National Affairs essay, Jim Manzi and Peter Wehner provide an explanation: “The Republican position — either avowed ignorance or conspiracy theorizing — is ultimately unsustainable, but some still cling to it because they believe that accepting the premise that some climate change is occurring as a result of human action means accepting the conclusions of the most rabid left-wing climate activists. They fear, at least implicitly, that the politics of climate change is just a twisted road with a known destination . . . ceding yet another key economic sector to government control…”