“Beautiful Day” today; U2 weather recap; Wind farms on doppler

Only in Minnesota can weather steal the show at a U2 concert.

I was fortunate enough to be at “The Bank” with 60,000 close friends Saturday night…and we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the weather.

Concert goers enjoyed a perfect evening leading up to the concert in spite of the severe weather risk. A comfortable cloudy evening and nice breeze held though the warm up act Interpol.

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The crowd fills in near “The Claw” in fine weather before the show Saturday.

Just 3 songs into U2 (Mysterious Ways) the rain began to fall, light at first. As a lighting show passed by to the north of the stadium, Aquatennial fireworks, sheeting rain, lightning flashes and the lights form the U2 mega show combined for an unreal spectacle.

From my view point high in the upper section at the end of the horseshoe (great seats and sound BTW!) I could see the low (shelf) clouds associated with the gust front from the next storm approaching from the west.

Just then, Bono & the boys launched into “Beautiful Day.” In a Minnesota style twist of weather irony, the wind whipped around nearly 180 degrees and kicked up to over 40 mph with the gust front…and the rain began to fall. Hard. I mean really, really hard. Big fat drops. Looking at doppler storm total rainfall after the show, I would estimate between 1″ and 1.5″ of rain fell on TCF Bank Stadium during the show. The crowd soaked up every drop.

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Rain, wind, lights, sound and fireworks at U2 Saturday.

So in perhaps the biggest outdoor event of summer in Minnesota, U2 is playing “Beautiful Day” and it’s pouring rain with a steady 40 mph wind gusting higher, lightning all around and fireworks as a backdrop. It was surreal.

The rain ebbed a couple of times, only to have the skies open again with bigger fatter raindrops. Soon it just got silly wet. Some who had no rain gear bailed to drier locations inside The Bank, but most of us just stood there and “soaked in” the sights & sounds. (Yes, we brought rain gear, I’m a weatherman right?)

Bono handled the Minnesota mini hurricane beautifully, making light and “Singin’ In The Rain.” Big props to the whole band for playing well in a ridiculous weather environment.

The crowd cheered at lighnting bolts (which were way too close for safety), gusty winds and sheets of rain. When the spotlights form the “Claw” tower kicked in and lit up the deluge, it was an unreal sight.

Eventually you just opened your arms, embraced the downpour, laughed and danced to U2 in the driving Minnesota rain.

After a year of tumultuous weather in Minnesota, it figures weather would be one of the stars of the biggest outdoor concert event in Minnesota in 33 years.

On the way home from the concert we all remarked at how the weather actually added to the outstanding show and made it an unforgettable and actually “life affirming” expierence.

BTW, the acoustics at TCF Bank Stadium were excellent. What a great place for a big show. Can’t wait to see who they book next year!

Wind farms visible on doppler radar this morning:

Those blobs on your friendly neighborhood doppler this morning in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa were not rain. Rather, a bending radar beam hugging the curvature of the earth picked up the growing number of wind farms.

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A temperature inversion (layer of warm air) at around 5,000 feet this morning caused what’s called “super refraction” or “ducting” of the radar beam. The atmosphere bends the beam more than usual, and it bounces off high objects (like wind towers) and shows up on radar as stationary blotches of “high reflectivity.”

Morning dew: No rain today?

With a little upper air disturbance passing by today, I can’t rule out an isolated shower/T-Storm, especially north of the metro. But in general the old weather lore regarding heavy morning dew holds true.

“When the Dew is in the Grass, Rain will Never Come to Pass.

When Grass is Dry at Morning Light, Look for Rain Before the Night.”

The science behind the lore is this.

Dew generally forms on mornings with clear skies and light winds. Radiational cooling allows the temperature to drop to near the dew point, and water condenses on surface objects…most notably grass.

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These conditions generally exist with high pressure overhead, and that usually means no rain that day.

Dew generally does not form with clouds or wind at night, a sign that a low pressure system may be approaching.

Much weather lore came form early observation before the science of meteorology was understood. Some of the old sayings hold great scientific truths.

Next rain Tuesday night?

Other than an isolated shower chance today, it looks like the next big widespread rain will roll in late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

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Modles hitning at isolated shower chance today, with heavier rain possible Tuesday night.

Until then, enjoy some of Minnesota’s finest summer weather. Highs should be in the 80s with lows in the 60s south and 50s north. You can give the air conditioner a rest until Wednesday or Thursday when dew points will climb back to near 70 degrees.

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Beach goers enjoy a Sunday night sunset on Lake Minnetonka.



  • Jill

    Hi, Paul,

    I was near the Guthrie on Saturday night, watching the Aquatennial fireworks. Before the fireworks, the crowd was cheering the oncoming lightning… the effect was festive but unsettling.

    I was wondering if you might comment on the atmospheric conditions that are messing up radio reception? We had so much static inside the house this morning, we turned off the radio. Then, the radio in my car seemed to be getting very clear reception, except that what I was getting was Iowa Public Radio!