Best fall colors in 10 years? Tropical trouble brewing again

Here’s some breaking news for fall color fans.

According to the Minnesota DNR this may be the best fall color display in Minnesota in 10 years!

It turns out the combination of ample summer rains, combined with our sunny days and cool nights may be just right to get the color to pop this fall.

Here’s the pertainent info from MN DNR.

DNR predicts best fall color season in 10 years

(Released September 8, 2011)

Minnesotans are encouraged to keep the camera batteries charged and to not put the tent or the picnic basket away just yet, because the upcoming fall color season could be the best it has been in 10 years, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“With adequate rain during the growing season for two consecutive years and recent weather patterns that have included the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, we’re predicting an especially vivid display of color across the state in the weeks ahead,” said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist.

Here’s Thursday’s fall color report. Some splashes of color are now beginning to show in the drought stressed regions of Minnesota.

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Colors will increase over the next few weeks and typically peak in the next month.

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Hurricane Season 2011: More tropical trouble ahead?

Don’t look now, but the Atlantic Hurricane season of 2011 is quietly brewing into a troublesome affair.

Hurricane Irene slammed into the northeast with as much as 7 billion in damage and devastating floods.

Tropical Storm Lee snuck up through the Gulf of Mexico delivering a swath of heavy rains, (over 10″ in some areas) and storm damage from Louisiana through the southeast and into Pennsylvania and New York, where mass evacuations are now underway due to flooding.

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Flooded roads in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo)

Now, It looks like what will soon become Hurricane Nate may bring trouble to the Gulf of Mexico. With weak and erratic steering currents, where Nate goes may be a wild card. With divergent model track solutions the threat level is growing anywhere from the Mexican Coast to Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

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Nate could sit, spin and strengthen in the Gulf for a few days and then deliver a flooding deluge somewhere along the Gulf Coast. Depending on the eventual track, there is a chance that drought stricken eastern Texas could benefit from Nate’s rainfall,

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The there’s Maria. The system is forecast to make a close approach to the southeast USA, before rapidly turning away to the northeast just before hitting land. Unlike Nate, track models are tightly grouped and insist Maria will turn to sea before hitting the USA. But it’s a little close for comfort at this point.

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As we say in the weather biz…stay tuned!

Frosty start to September in northeast MN:

The details from my MPR colleague Mark Seeley.

Topic: Some early September frosts

“The lower dewpoints and milder temperatures this week have been welcomed by most Minnesota citizens. But, for some northern residents the cooler temperatures brought an end to the growing season. Over September 5-6 (Mon-Tue) this week frost occurred in a number of locations, including: Big Fork (32 F), Hibbing (32 F), Orr (32 F), International Falls (31 F), Cook (30 F), Isabella (29 F), Crane Lake (28 F), Brimson (28 F), and Embarrass (26 F).”

New MN wind speed record?

From Mark’s Weather Talk newsletter.

Topic: Wrestling with a new state wind speed record

“During the early morning hours of September 1, 2011 a severe thunderstorm was passing over northwestern Minnesota. Shortly after 3 am the Road Weather Information System managed by Mn/DOT in Donaldson near the Kittson and Marshall County line registered a wind gust of 121 mph. This measurement was substantiated by damages inflicted in the surrounding landscape by such strong winds. Since that time the National Weather Service, Minnesota State Climatology Office, and National Climatic Data Center have been trying to determine if this measurement represents a new Minnesota state record for wind speed. The old state record wind speed was 117 mph from a thunderstorm near Alexandria, MN back on July 19, 1983.

There are many problems associated with determining a wind speed record. For example, it is estimated from earlier storm surveys in the state that winds stronger than 120 mph have been associated with some tornadoes in the state. But an instrumental record of the wind speed does not exist. Secondly the wind instruments (anemometers) used over time to measure wind speed have varied in placement and precision. The elevation above ground is important in the measurement of wind speed, as is the sampling interval (3 second, 5 seconds, 30 seconds, etc). The current system used by the National Weather Service is an Ice Free Wind (IFW) sensor, called a sonic anemometer (no moving parts) and measures wind in 1 second intervals, averaging every 3 seconds. The 121 mph wind at Donaldson was measured by an R.M. Young Wind Monitor (aerovane model 05103) which is a mechanical, propeller type instrument. I think it has an accuracy of plus or minus 1 percent and a measurement range up to 224 mph (though lesser wind might destroy its mast).”

PH

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