Rapid weather changes today; Friday flurries? 2012 “Tornado Drought”

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes.” – Anonymous Minnesota weather lore

Changeable weather conditions today

Scattered showers along with an advancing cold front

Wind advisory out for much of western & central Minnesota

Red Flag Warnings out from the Dakotas south into Kansas

Astronomical Fall begins at 9:49am Saturday (Autumnal Equinox)

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Mixed weather bag today:

Time to trot out that old Minnesota saying… “if you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes!”

This will be one of those days as a fast moving jet stream drives a cold front through Minnesota.

Clouds, showers, sun & wind. Repeat.

The Twin Cities NWS “Weather Story” this morning does a pretty good job of highlighting the weather confusion Minnesotans will feel today.

Today an upper level system will move across the international border and drive a cold front through the region. This will bring a few showers and possibly a thunderstorm across northern Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Meanwhile a Wind Advisory is in effect this afternoon for western Minnesota where strong winds of 30 mph, with gusts near 40 mph are possible at times. Further west a Red Flag Warning is in effect due to the fire danger across the Dakotas. Looking ahead, cloudy and cool weather will linger across the region through the end of the coming week

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Colder shot Friday & Saturday:

The next cold front coming through Friday & Saturday looks even colder than what we’ve seen so far this week.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Major modles including the GFS and NAM bring an air mass south Friday cold enough for …snow showers fromt Duluth down I-35 into eastern Minnesota including the Twin Cities metro. If the timing works out right…enough moisture could ride down with the system to squeeze out the season’s first snow showers as far south as the Twin Cities Friday and especially Friday night into Saturday morning.

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Source: College of Du Page Weather Lab

Temps may have a hard time cracking 55 degrees Saturday in the metro.

Milder days in sight?

The weather maps overall are hinting at slightly milder breezes beginning next week, as temps begin the slow climb back toward average. The average high/low next week in the metro are 67/48.

The longer range maps seem to suggest a warm up by around the 1st of October.

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Source: NOAA/CPC

Keep in mind that the medium range forecast models can change rapidly this time of year. Upper air patterns are often less predictable in spring and fall as rapid changes occur.

Tornado Drought 2012:

Take the biggest drought in 24 years, place it right over tornado alley and what do you get?

The lowest number of tornadoes since 1988.

That’s where we stand so far in 2012 when it comes to USA tornado numbers.

724 “actual” tornadoes in the USA this year according to NOAA’s SPC data.

1,382 3 year average for USA tornadoes

1691 tornadoes in 2011

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Source: NOAA/SPC

While we still have a few months left in 2012, the “peak” of tornado season is behind us.

As of right now, the last year we’ve seen this few tornadoes in the USA is 1988…24 years ago when the USA recorded just 702 tornadoes.

I’m hoping the trend will continue…but I’m also seeing some pattern changes ahead that could spark some potential fall tornado outbreaks in the coming weeks in the Central and Southern Plains.

Stay tuned.

PH

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