Rainy Thursday, St. Michael tornado survey, chilly fishing opener

They say there are no guarantees in weather, but there are a few things we seem to be able to count on in Minnesota in May.

-We’ll likely get our first bouts of severe weather

-We usually hit 80 for the first time

-It seems the fishing opener is usually cool and wet

Check, check, and check this week.

Rain returns:

The next low pressure wave is lifting north into Minnesota today. Bands of showers wrapping around the low will spiral through, and gain intensity this afternoon.

It looks like most areas will see between .25″ and .50″ of rainfall by late tonight. Southwest Minnesota may as much as 1″+ as the system spins through today.

A cooler northeast wind is dropping temps into the 40s and 50s.

We may catch a break in the rain Friday before more rain wraps in Saturday. There may be some 1″+ totals through Sunday.

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NAM 84 hour rainfall totals show a soggy 1″ to 2″ potential.

Chilly soggy fishing opener:

It sometimes seems fishing opener weekend is plagued by cool windy wet weather. This year will fully live up to expectations.

A cool low pressure system will swirl over Minnesota this weekend. Rain should be on the increase Saturday, with weather gradually improving from north to south Sunday.

Here’s the breakdown.

Friday: Windy & cool with mixed sun south & west, showers north & east. Highs in the 40s north and 50s south. Wind NE 10-22mph with choppy lakes.

Saturday: Windy & cool with scattered showers increasing statewide. Highs 40s north & 50s south. Wind NE 15-25 mph. Again, choppy water with some bigger waves on the big lakes.

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Sunday: Weather improves from north to south. Sunny with lighter winds north. Showers south. Afternoon highs in the 60s from Brainerd north. 50s south. Wind NE gradually diminishing north to 5-12 mph. NE 10-20 mph south.

Weather tip: Find a quiet bay on the north end of your favorite lake where wave action will be less. A fireplace in the cabin will be very nice this weekend!

Good luck on the opener. Stay warm and dry, and remember those lake water temps are still hypothermic! With the cold water, wind and waves, life jackets are not optional this weekend.

Minnesota’s first tornado of 2011: St. Michael EF1

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Damage to a home in St. Michael. (Photo by Twin Cities NWS)

The damage survey is in and it confirms what we saw Tuesday. Minnesota’s first tornado of the year tore through St. Michael Tuesday evening.

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Here are the details from Todd Krause and the survey team at the Twin Cities NWS.

Location: St. Michael, MN

Time: Approximately 7:58pm

Path length: 3 miles

Intensity: EF1 rating with top winds of 90 mph. Most of the damage was EF0 with 70-80 mph winds.

The details from Twin Cities NWS.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

514 PM CDT WED MAY 11 2011

…PRELIMINARY RATING ASSIGNED TO THE ST MICHAEL AREA TORNADO…

A NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE STORM DAMAGE ASSESSMENT WAS DONE TODAY

FOR THE STORM THAT OCCURRED IN FAR EASTERN WRIGHT COUNTY ON

TUESDAY EVENING. HERE ARE THE PRELIMINARY DETAILS…WHICH ARE

SUBJECT TO FURTHER REVIEW IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

EVENT…EF-1 TORNADO. EF-Scale

MAXIMUM WIND SPEEDS…NEAR 90 MPH.

PATH LENGTH…APPROXIMATELY THREE MILES.

PATH DETAILS…FROM TWO MILES NORTHWEST OF DOWNTOWN HANOVER…NEAR

THE INTERSECTIONS OF COUNTY ROADS 34 AND 120…NORTH NORTHEAST TO

ONE MILE WEST OF ST. MICHAEL…DISSIPATING JUST SOUTHEAST OF THE

45TH STREET AND JAMISON AVENUE INTERSECTION.

TIMING…THIS IS STILL BEING DETERMINED…BUT LIKELY TOUCHDOWN

OCCURRED JUST PRIOR TO 800 PM.

OTHER NOTES…MUCH OF THE DAMAGE WAS IN LINE WITH EF-0 DAMAGE AND

WIND SPEEDS OF 70 TO 80 MPH. THE STRONGEST INTENSITY OF EF-1 WAS

SEEN NEAR THE END OF THE PATH…WHERE A GARAGE WAS HEAVILY

DAMAGED.

$$

KRAUSE/MTF

Summary of the Tornado

“The tornado touched down just east of the intersection of County Roads 34 and120 and tracked north-northeast for 3.1 miles. The only time it deviated from this track was toward the end of its existence, when it made a slight turn toward the north-northwest and intensified. After hitting the house, it turned back toward the north-northeast and quickly dissipated. The tornado was narrow, only 75 feet wide at most, and it was often narrower than 75 feet.

Most eyewitnesses did not realize there was a tornado, because they did not see the debris swirling at ground level and the funnel did not extend all the way to the ground. It turns out that the condensation funnel only extended downward for some distance, then it appeared like there was nothing, then the debris at the surface. However, the violently rotating wind made it all the way to the ground but there was not enough humidity in the few thousand feet above the ground to condense and create the cloud that makes the tornado visible.”

Mississippi falling at Memphis:

The mighty Mississippi has crested is finally starting to fall at Memphis.

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The 47.87′ crest Tuesday appears to be the 2nd highest flood of record in Memphis, within 1 foot of the record of 48.7′ reached in 1937.

Historical Crests for Mississippi River at Memphis

(1) 48.70 ft on 02/10/1937

(2) 45.80 ft on 04/23/1927

(3) 40.76 ft on 03/14/1997

(4) 40.50 ft on 05/08/1973

(5) 40.50 ft on 02/22/1950

(6) 40.30 ft on 03/07/1975

(7) 40.20 ft on 05/22/1961

(8) 39.20 ft on 04/06/1945

(9) 39.20 ft on 05/15/1983

(10) 39.10 ft on 06/01/1995

The Mississippi river did set new records this year near Memphis.

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The flood bubble is now moving downstream to Vicksburg, Mississippi where the river is expected to crest next week at record levels.

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Flood from space:

Ironically, one of the best ways to see a big flood like this is from space. The Mississippi has swollen to 3 miles wide near Memphis.

Check out the before and after images form NASA’s Earth Observatory (Landsat 5 satellite) as the river swells near Memphis.

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Memphis before the flood on April 21st, 2010.

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Memphis during the flood on May 10, 2011.

Lightning strikes plane landing at London’s Heathrow Airport:

Believe it or not, airplanes are largely safe from lightning strikes. Want proof? Check out this “striking” video from a plane on final approach to London’s Heathrow Airport.

The UAE jet landed minutes later with its more than 500 passengers and crew unscathed… without a scratch on the plane.

The footage was captured last month in South West London by photographer Chris Dawson, who said he thought the weather conditions that day would be perfect for a lightning storm. Boy was he right.

A phenomenon known as the skin effect generally keeps people in cars and airplanes safe from lighting strikes.

PH

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