Storm risk afternoon into evening; comfy weather to start State Fair

A Troubled Sky

Skies across Minnesota may be a bit tortured today. Thick smoke from dozens of western fires is drifting overhead. Billowing cumulus clouds will blossom into thunderheads this afternoon and evening. The Doppler radar will glow with storms and your weather radio may sound off with watches and warnings.

The highest risk for severe weather looks to be between about 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. today. Areas south and east of the Twin Cities metro are most likely to see a storm packing high winds and hail.

Bank thermometers will flash 90 again today in the metro. The Summer of 2013 appears determined to go out with a run of 90s this year.

The good news? The first two days of the Minnesota State Fair are looking almost perfect. Sunshine and high in the low 80s with dew points in the comfy 40s and 50s could spawn record crowds.

Image: MN State Fair

Now if they can just move the milk booth next to Sweet Martha’s!

90 degrees – High temps at MSP  Monday

10 days at or above 90 so far this year

13 days = annual average number of 90 degree days at MSP

4-6 more days of 90 degree heat likely in next 2 weeks

Weather Tip: Go to the State Fair Thursday or Friday if you want to avoid the heat!

Image: Twin Cities NWS

Day #11 of 90 degree heat?

Monday’s high of 90 was day 10 of 90 degree heat in the metro this year. Today should be day 11. I can see 4-6 more days in the 90s in the forecast the next 2 weeks. That should put our seasonal total somewhere between 15-17 days. Not bad for a summer that started off on the chilly side.

Image: NOAA

Cool Front Spawns Storms Today

A cool front today sliding through Minnesota will trigger some storms as it cuts into our hot sticky air mass overhead. The best chance of storm billowing in the sky is between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Storms could develop right over the metro as the front slides overhead between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. today.

The highest risk for severe storms favors southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin today. Most likely threats include damaging winds and large hail.

Here’s the risk area from NOAA’s SPC.

Image: NOAA SPC

Here’s NOAA’s High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) Radar, which suggest storms developing near and south/east of the metro this afternoon.

Image: NOAA

Cool Front Brings Relief: 

The air mass behind today’s cool front is distinctly cooler and less humid. The timing is perfect for the first two days of the Minnesota State Fair. High should be in the low to mid 80s with dew points in the 40s and 50s.

Postcard perfect.

Heat Wave #2: 90s return this weekend

The relief from the heat is temporary. Another even hotter and more humid surge of air pushes back north this weekend and may last through most of next week.

Here’s the Euro output from Weatherspark, which shows mid 90s and dew points that could reach an Amazon jungle 81 degree by Monday!

Image: Weatherspark

 Smoky Skies: Western fires pumping smoke into Minnesota

Dozens of fires out west continue to feed smoke overhead into Minnesota.

GOES 1km visible satellite from Tuesday evening shows multiple smoke plumes drifting east. Image: NOAA via College of Dupage

NOAA’s smoke mapper shows the thickest plumes upwind and drifting this way.

Some of the smoke plumes are even visible on the Twin Cities Doppler radar this morning, which is sensitive enough to pick up the smoke particles.

Image: Weather Underground

Look for more white tinted skies today and reddish sunsets in the days to come.