Think your job is tough? Try being a farmer in Minnesota.

It may be the most weather-dependent profession in Minnesota. This summer has featured an overabundance of downpours across much our region. Rainfall totals of 5″ to 10″ have swamped much of crop intensive southern Minnesota this month. That’s 2 to 3 months worth of rainfall in that past 28 days.

Midwest Regional Climate Center

The map above does not include last night’s deluge in northern Minnesota. Doppler storm total rainfall estimates reached 3″ to 6″+ in some areas early this morning.

Soggy fields

As you might expect, many fields across southern Minnesota are waterlogged. Standing water is an issue for some farmers.

This week’s Minnesota Crop Report show about one quarter of fields in Minnesota are dealing with ‘surplus’ topsoil moisture. The warm wet weather is also causing some crop disease to show up.


Drier days ahead this week

A cool front eases through southern Minnesota overnight with one more chance for locally heavy downpours. Behind the front, a much drier Canadian air mass noses south into Minnesota.


It will take time, but you’ll notice humidity levels gradually falling Tuesday.  Dew points hit the tropical 70 degree mark Monday, they’ll ease into the lower 50s by Wednesday. There will be less than half as much moisture in the air over Minnesota by Wednesday.

This is what a fresh front looks like on the maps, a purple to green air mass transfusion as drier Canadian air scours out tropical dew points on NOAA’s NAM 4 km resolution model this week.

NOAA via College of Dupage

Rare August dry spell

A welcome respite form our August monsoon? The last time we were able to string together 4+ dry days at MSP was August 5th through the 9th. It looks like most of Minnesota could see 4 dry days in a row from Tuesday through Friday.

The Huttner Weather Lab sump pump can use the rest. Throw open the windows.

Twin Cities NWS

Unsettled Labor Day weekend

Climatologically speaking, Labor Day weekend is the driest of the 3 major holiday weekend in Minnesota. It’s also usually at the tail end of severe weather season in Minnesota.

Twin Cities NWS

Saturday looks potentially boat worthy with some sun, a stiff south breeze and temperatures near 80. But storms gather on the western horizon by Saturday night. Sunday and Labor Day could be stormy. With any luck, we’ll get some of the rain at night and some drier hours during the day. In theory. Expect another inch-plus in your rain gauge this weekend. Here’s NOAA’s rainfall output for the bulk of the Labor Day weekend.


Summer lingers into September?

September begins Thursday. How did that happen exactly? We open the month with pleasant temperatures and highs in the 70s. The longer range maps hint at a few more days in the 80s, and warmer than average temperatures overall as we move deeper into September.


The rains look to continue. I can foresee at least see a couple more waves of soaking rainfall in the first half of September. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center pastes a rainfall bull’s eye over Minnesota.


Climate Cast: 

Here are a few stories from the front lines of climate that caught my eye today.

California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like. Cutting emissions and sustaining economic growth? That’s the climate Rubik’s Cube.

UNITED STATES – APRIL 23: Pylon of the Golden Gate Bridge with the bay and the city of San Francisco in the background. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

Vox has more on how California is leading on climate policy going forward.

California has long prided itself on being a world leader on climate change — and with good reason.

Within the United States, California is No. 1 (by far) in solar power and No. 3 in wind power. It boasts the third-lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita behind New York and Vermont. Since 2000, the state has managed to shrink its overall carbon footprint slightly even as its population grew and economy boomed:

California Senate

But now California is taking on a far, far more audacious task: trying to prove to the world that it’s possible — desirable, even — to pursue the really drastic emission cuts needed to stave off severe global warming.

The state is already on track to nudge its greenhouse-gas emissions back down to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Then last week, after much fierce debate, the California Assembly and Senate passed a new bill, known as SB 32, that would go much further, mandating an additional 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030:

One Glorious Map Shows the Future of Animal Migrations. Maps can be powerful tools to help us visualize climate shifts.

A map showing the different pathways wildlife could use to migrate northward or higher in elevation as the climate warms. Image: The Nature Conservancy

Climate Central has more on how climate changes will likely affect future migrations as animals attempt to adapt to climate change.

Climate Central logo

The natural world is under siege by climate change. Rising temperatures are pushing plants and animals outside their current range. To keep pace with climate change, species will need a path to follow northward or up in elevation, minimally interrupted by human development.

This map shows that path (well, paths actually) in the most beautiful way possible.

It uses the dreamy Earth wind map for inspiration. But rather than using temperature, wind and sea level pressure data, Dan Majka, a web developer at The Nature Conservancy, used data from two studies to show all the feasible paths that mammals, birds and amphibians can use to find their way to a more suitable climate as their habitat becomes too hot.

The map doesn’t show specific species (you’re not going to be able to find the grizzly bear path, for example), but rather shows the general patterns scientists expect animals to follow as the world warms.

The visualization is stunning, but also hopeful. It shows that despite the challenges of climate change and increased urbanization, there are still pathways for the natural world to deal with those threats.

323 reindeer killed in lightning storm in Norway?

It sounds like the opening line to a bad joke. Norwegian officials are looking into what killed so many reindeer. Right now lightning is the main suspect.

The lightning storm killed 323 reindeer on the Hardangervidda plateau in central Norway. The government estimates that about 2,000 reindeer live in the area. Norwegian Nature Inspectorate

NPR has this bizzare story.

The Norwegian government says 323 reindeer were apparently struck by lightning last week and died.

The animals lived on a mountain plateau in central Norway called the Hardangervidda. The rugged alpine landscape is (usually) a good place for a reindeer — delicious lichens grow on exposed rocks, and the area is protected from development because it falls within a national park.

The Norwegian Nature Inspectorate wrote in a press release that officials discovered a field of carcasses on Friday while they were supervising hunters in the area.

The agency estimates about 2,000 reindeer live on the plateau each year. Now, about one-sixth of them are dead, including at least 70 calves.

“We’ve heard about animals being struck by lightning and killed, but I don’t remember hearing about lightning killing animals on this scale before,” Norwegian Nature Inspectorate spokesman Knut Nylend tells the Norwegian news outlet NTB, as cited by The Local.

“Reindeer are pack animals and are often close together. During a heavy thunderstorm, they may have gathered even closer together out of fear, he told the news site.

No people were reported injured in the storm.

They’re boxy, but they’re nice? 

Vox has an interesting story on why a confluence of three events means your car’s design is getting rounder.

IFCAR via Wikipedia Commons

Look at a photo of a street scene from the ’70s or early ’80s, and a lot of things look pretty much the same as today. Most of the buildings are similar. People’s clothes, on the whole, aren’t all that different, give or take a few shoulder pads.

One thing stands out: all of the cars look super boxy, especially compared with the curving, rounded exteriors of virtually every car on the market today.

In the decades since, cars have just gotten curvier and curvier. Why the big shift?

 It turns out it was largely due to three interrelated factors: European style trends, a government-mandated push for fuel economy, and new technologies that allowed manufacturers to more easily design and create curved shapes.


Our Saturday is starting out showery over much of Minnesota. The showers will diminish by late morning over southern Minnesota, but rain could return later this afternoon or this evening in the form of scattered showers and an isolated thunderstorm. An upper level disturbance could ignite some thunderstorms over northwestern and west-central Minnesota this afternoon. Those thunderstorms Read more

The weekend won’t be a washout, but there is a good chance that we’ll see some showers and thunderstorms at times. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the general rain pattern this weekend: The best thunderstorm chances Saturday morning appear to be over northwestern Minnesota and west-central Minnesota. Scattered thunderstorms could spread across Read more