Isaac, dry weather and heat around here, and the return of northern lights

Late this afternoon a reconnaissance airport reported that Tropical Storm Isaac was strengthening slowly and had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. isaac is likely to continue to strengthen and become a hurricane tonight or early tomorrow.

Isaac is a sprawling, slowly moving storm tracking to the northwest over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s what it looks like from a weather satellite:

Isaac sat pic.jpg

Courtesy: National Weather Service

Hurricane warnings have been posted for southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans, and near-coastal areas of Mississippi and Alabama. Current forecast models are showing southeastern Louisiana to be the most likely area for landfall late Tuesday night or very early Wednesday. Rainfall amounts in some of those parts of Louisiana could be a foot or more by the time the storm moves on.

The National Hurricane Center has lots of info on this storm.

Then the weakened storm with much rain is likely to track northward and soak the rest of Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri before turning northeast across Illinois and Indiana.

Around Minnesota, we sure could use some of that rain. While the normal August rainfall for the Twin Cities would be 4.3 inches, just 1.4 inches has fallen at the international airport so far. I have measured the same in my backyard. Some suburbs have done better; Chanhassen has picked up 2.3 inches. St. Cloud has had just 1.2 inches.

Scattered showers are likely tonight in southwestern Minnesota but the overall pattern for the rest of the week is for hot, dry weather until a better chance of showers pops up for Sunday and Sunday night.

And did I mention the heat? Tomorrow will just bring temperatures in the 80s to most of us and some low 90s in the southwest. And then the thermal fun will really begin. Thursday is likely to be the hottest day. It is for that day that the National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Watch for Hennepin and Ramsey counties, including Minneapolis and St. Paul for the daylight hours. That is where temperatures should reach the upper 90s and possible touch 100. Suburbs will suffer slightly less.

A sign that summer won’t last forever is that the northern lights have begun to return to the Arctic. As the midnight sun of summer wanes, nighttime observers in the far north such as lapland have been enjoying a lovely twilight sky color decorated with green auroras.

And days are getting shorter – fast. Sunset this evening in the Twin Cities will be at 7:58 p.m. followed by sunrise tomorrow morning at 6:31 a.m.

Bill Endersen

  • Laura Angyal

    Is there an service that sends emails to inform people of the potential for northern lights?