The dog days are going out with a stiff breeze.

Wind driven waves roll ashore on Lake Mille Lacs. http://www.mnlakecams.com/

The windy exhaust from an unusually strong July low pressure system eases a bit Thursday as the low sails toward Hudson Bay.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Stiff breezes back off a bit behind a relaxing pressure gradient Thursday and Friday. Minnesota enjoys some of the finest weather of summer the next few days. Plenty of warm late-July sun and comfortable dew points hovering in the 50s under a dry sky.

Tell your visiting relatives it’s like this here all year.

Twin Cities NWS

Welcome dry spell

The break in rainfall comes at a good time to close the seventh-wettest July on record in the metro. A big chunk of territory in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin has tallied 5 inches to nearly 10 inches of rainfall this month.

Here’s a look at some impressive rainfall totals for the past 30 days from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA

Crops ahead of pace

Ample warmth and abundant rainfall this summer have crops in the best shape in years across Minnesota. A sea of late July corn silk covers fields this week.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Here’s more from this week’s Minnesota Crop Report.

Eighty-two percent of Minnesota’s corn acreage was silking or beyond, 1 week ahead of last year and 4 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn condition rated 87 percent good to excellent. With 90 percent of the soybean crop blooming or beyond, 44 percent of soybeans were setting pods or beyond, 1 week ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 80 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the barley crop was turning color or beyond, with condition rated at 63 percent good to excellent. Ninety percent of the oat acreage was turning color, 9 days ahead of normal. Oat condition rated 79 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 81 percent complete, 12 days ahead of last year. Some farmers were starting to cut their third crop of alfalfa hay. All hay condition rated 80 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition rated 78 percent good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.

It’s a good year to be a grower in Minnesota from a weather and production standpoint. The irony? Abundant crops are keeping many crop prices low this year.

Best weather of summer?

Highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s and comfortable dew points in the 50s? No glowing red bow-shaped blobs on Doppler? You can make a strong case that the next week could be the best weather of summer in Minnesota.

NOAA Global Forecast System output via Weatherspark

Wide variety in solar potential in Minnesota

This may not come as a huge shocker. It’s dark in those north woods.

With a wide variety in vegetation zones in Minnesota solar potential varies greatly by region, even by neighborhood. The Weather Lab moved from the deep forests of Deephaven to the much sunnier southwest metro prairie in the past year. I can’t even begin to tell you how much brighter and sunnier our new location is.

Our energy cost savings from the increased passive solar alone in winter is substantial. The boost in spirits from additional sunshine? Priceless.

Here’s a cool interactive map app from the University of Minnesota that let’s you zoom in to see how good the solar potential in your neighborhood.

University of Minnesota

One myth about solar potential in Minnesota is that cold weather means low solar potential. The number of sunny days in winter in Minnesota, and the fact that solar panels are actually more efficient at lower temperatures makes the sunnier zones in Minnesota a great spot for solar.

Enjoy the sunshine.