A Baffling Pattern
My official winter prediction is out: "colder with some snow." 100% confidence - take it to the bank.
Note to self: when in doubt be vague.
We're in an ENSO-neutral state in the Pacific, but I'm seeing a slight trend toward a mild El Nino warming phase, which may favor a (slightly) warmer winter for the Upper Midwest. The 6-month outlook is a curiosity - just tell me it's going to rain, Paul.
T-storms may brush much of Minnesota Monday as overheated air pushes north, but it won't be the sustained soaking we need. If the sun is out for a few hours we may see mid-90s tomorrow, with a dew point near 70F. Another "heat day" for area schools?
Extreme heat in recent weeks has accelerated evaporation of water from lakes & fields, accelerating drought. The 3rd week of September brings a better chance of rain. Fingers crossed.
Only 725 tornadoes have touched down on the USA in 2013; 9 in Minnesota (all EF-0). Only 17 years since 1953 have seen fewer tornadoes thru August. We may set a new record for the latest (first) hurricane on record in the Atlantic.
It's too early for complacency. In 2001 the first hurricane formed on Sept. 10. There were 9 hurricanes later that season.
* 500 mb forecast winds aloft, valid 12z this morning, courtesy of UCAR.
"Is it a fact or a myth that a tornado will skip over a body of water? Someone told me that they were out in a boat and weren't worried about a tornado warning because they'd be safe on water. I'm not sure that's a good idea! Thank you!"
Nancy Hartman, Burnsville
Nancy - your gut is correct. A lake, river (or valley) won't deter a tornado, especially a large tornado. A tornado is a process, not an object; the larger dynamics and wind inflow into a severe thunderstorm drive the intensification or weakening of a funnel, not the surface the vortex passes over. I've seen numerous instances of a tornado passing over water, transitioning to a waterspout, then back to tornado as it passes over land again. Another important point: severe thunderstorms capable of tornadoes usually produce intense lightning; another reason you don't want to be on a lake (or beach). Thanks for a great question/observation.
Kae- A good place to start is the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, which has frequent meetings with interesting topics/guest speakers and a chance to network with local weather enthusiasts and meteorologists. Good luck!
Image credit above: "Black line is 2013 tornado report tally year to date. Other lines represent other years and 2005-2012 average." (NOAA SPC)
1984. Diana didn't become a hurricane (first of the season) until September 10th. That season tropical storms were observed in the Atlantic basin as late as Christmas Eve. Source: NHC and WeatherNation TV.
2001. Hurricane Erin didn't form until September 9, 2001. That season went on to produce 9 hurricanes in the Atlantic, including 4 Category 3+ storms.
2002. The first hurricane of the season in 2002 was "Gustav" on September 11. A total of 8 tropical storms and hurricanes formed between September 11 - 30, 2002. Like flipping on a switch. My point? It's still a bit early to let our guard down - premature for complacency in Hurricane Alley.
Photo credit above: "In this photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Crews clear California Highway 120 of debris, as crews continue to fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. The massive wildfire is now 80 percent contained according to a state fire spokesman. The Rim Fire’s southeast flank in Yosemite National Park is expected to remain active where unburned fuels remain between containment lines and the fire." (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan).
Photo credit above: AP. "This file photo shows thousands of cars that were damaged in Superstorm Sandy and stored on the runways at Calverton Executive Airpark in Calverton, N.Y. USAA totaled some 4,000 customer vehicles that had been damaged, but officials for the San Antonio-based insurer now admit that some vehicles that had been totaled instead were resold and put back on the road. USAA had earmarked 174 vehicles to be sold for parts only, but has found that some were fraudulently given clean titles."
Graphic credit above: "Visualizing the "super entity." Courtesy: New Scientist.
* Photo above courtesy of Gary Teske.
"I fear that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." - Albert Einstein
* USA Today takes a look at how frequency of extreme heat and coastal flooding have changed in recent decades.