Congratulations Minnesota! You’ve just won another weekend weather lottery.

Our seventh consecutive spectacular weekend unfolds with a windy milder Saturday and a July flashback Sunday as temperatures push into the 80s. Multiple record highs will likely fall Sunday afternoon across Minnesota. Sunday’s record high of 84 degrees at MSP Airport is likely to be seriously challenged. Several other records around Minnesota may fall Sunday afternoon.

Warm advection

That’s the weather geek term when warm southwest winds blow higher heat content air north. The surface maps tell the story. Saturday’s gusts give way to mellower and warmer breezes Sunday as the pressure gradient relaxes across Minnesota. A cool front arrives late Sunday night to push us back closer to reality Monday.

NOAA surface map forecast sequence

Here’s a finer resolution breakdown forecast. Monday’s cool front returns temperatures just back to near or slightly above seasonal averages. Sunny mild days and cooler nights. Charmed weather lives indeed.

Weatherspark – NOAA GFS data

Fall color peak up north

Get out there!

Fall 2015 trending warm

Our October run of unseasonable warmth in the western Great Lakes continues the trends set in motion in September. It was the warmest September on record in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Indeed the Upper Midwest was the epicenter of warmth, leading the way with the southern Rockies for the nation’s second warmest September on record.

Late first frost for MSP

Depending on which data set you choose, the average date for the first 32 degree temperature at MSP Airport in fall is between October 7 and 10. A cooler air mass late next week brings a chance of freezing temperatures in the inner metro core by next Friday morning, but the latest indications are it could be a glancing blow. It’s looking more likely we may (barely) escape bottoming out at 32 degrees Friday morning inside the 494/694 freeway loop.

NOAA – GFS data via IPS Meteostar

Yes, frost has already pasted the landscape in many metro suburbs. But the inner metro core and MSP Airport has not recorded a 32 degree temperature yet this fall.

Looking at the medium-range forecast products, it appears mild breezes return and temperatures may push into the 70s once again for the weekend of October 17-18. The crystal ball is always a little murky this far out, but the next chance of 32 degrees at MSP Airport appears to be pushed off until at least October 25. That would rival the latest “official” 32 degree temperature we’ve seen in at MSP Airport in five years since October 27, 2010.

El Nino: Not a carbon copy

Odds still favor a mild winter acrros the Upper Midwest, but it’s not always a slam dunk El Nino will behave the same every time.

Drought-erasing South Carolina mega-flood was 11 trillion gallons

I think it was Mark Twain who said it takes a flood to end a drought?

Last week’s thousand-year-plus flood event in South Carolina dumped 11 trillion gallons on the state. That’s about one-third the volume of Lake Tahoe, and enough water to end the four-year California drought.

The deadly mega-flood erased drought conditions in South Carolina with a single swipe.


Climate change role?

Detailed attribution studies will be done on the South Carolina flood event. One thing seems clear: Warmer oceans are creating heavier rainfall events. Some instant perspective from Climate Central and Climate Cast guest Dr. Michael Mann about how climate change likely juiced this event.

On Monday, after weekend downpours, flooding continued to overwhelm large parts of South Carolina and North Carolina in what was described as a “once-in-a-millennium” storm.

Individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change, but climatologists say atmospheric conditions tied to climate change intensified this downpour.

“This is yet another example, like Sandy or Irene, of weather on ‘steroids’, another case where climate change worsened the effects of an already extreme meteorological event,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Mann said hurricane Joaquin intensified in the tropical Atlantic, which is experiencing record sea-surface temperatures. These temperatures helped the hurricane strengthen quickly and unusually warm, wet air fed it even more. That moisture turned into the record rainfall which fell on the Carolinas.

“In this case, we’re seeing once-in-a-thousand year flooding along the South Carolina coastline as a consequence of the extreme supply of moisture streaming in from hurricane Joaquin,” Mann said.

The “once-in-a-thousand” phrase does not mean the storm occurs once every 1,000 years, but rather that there is a 0.1% chance of such an intense storm occurring in any year.

After a week of steady rain, thousands of South Carolina residents faced the prospect of going days without running water, and daily life was disrupted by dams overflowing, bridges collapsing and hundreds of roads inundated by floodwaters .

“This is a Hugo-level event,” major general Robert Livingston, head of the South Carolina National Guard, said on Monday, referring to the September 1989 hurricane that devastated Charleston. “We didn’t see this level of erosion in Hugo. … This water doesn’t fool around.”