Forecast on a stick: “Perfect” State Fair weather opener; Heat returns this weekend; Smoke plumes overhead

Good Timing

There are a few days on the calendar meteorologists in Minnesota watch a little more closely.

Twins home opener in April. Mother’s Day. 4th of July.

The opening day of the Minnesota State Fair is one of those days. This year, the timing couldn’t be better.

After a run of heat and humidity early this week, a  cool front delivers fresh breezes and a huge drop in humidity. With afternoon temps in the low 80s, it may be just about as close to “perfect weather” as we get in Minnesota.


You may want to get out to the Fair Thursday or Friday. The heat and humidity is back this weekend and lasts through next week. And that pesky smoke from western wildfires continues to drift overhead at times.

Signs of a fall-like cold front after Labor Day? No complaints about the heat from this weatherman.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

Smoky skies mean reddish sunsets over Minnesota. Details below. (MPR Photo/Paul Huttner)

Anatomy of a cool front

Our latest cool front is well timed and brings a dramatic drop in dew points. You’ll notice the big drop in humidity lasting  into Friday.

Here’s NOAA’s GOES 1 km resolution satellite shot from late Wednesday. Note the storms firing in the muggy air over southern Minnesota, while fresh northerly winds blow in much drier air with dew points in to 40s from up north.

Image: NOAA via College of Dupage.

You can give the AC unit a rest for a couple of days.


Wednesday evenings storms produced some impressive hail reports just southeast of the metro and into southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here are some reports from the Twin Cities NWS.

MPX: 1 N NEW Prague [Scott Co, MN] trained spotter reports HAIL of penny size (M0.75 INCH) at 03:18 PM CDT

MPX: Lakeville [Dakota Co, MN] public reports HAIL of quarter size (M1.00 INCH) at 03:25 PM CDT — at county road 50 and ipava ave

MPX: Hastings [Dakota Co, MN] public reports HAIL of quarter size (M1.00 INCH) at 04:10 PM CDT — time estimated

MPX: Hastings [Dakota Co, MN] public reports HAIL of ping pong ball size (M1.50 INCH) at 04:07 PM CDT —

MPX: Menomonie [Dunn Co, WI] law enforcement reports HAIL of golf ball size (M1.75 INCH) at 04:59 PM CDT — hail observed from three quarters of an inch to golf ball noted in northern portion of city.

Forecast on a stick: Record early attendance for 2013?

Minnesotans hurl accusations and hate mail our way when the weather is bad. Do meteorologists get a bonus on good weather days for big events?

Here’s the excellent looking forecast for Thursday & Friday at the Fair. Notice how dew points plunge into the comfy 40s and 50s, and temps top out in the lower 80s.


Image: Norwegian Met Institute via

Heat returns this weekend

The next wave of heat and humidity bubbles north this weekend. This one may be sustained…a string of days in the low to mid 90s with dew points pushing into the 70s. Tropical, icky stuff. The good news? The lower sun angle of late August is not as searing as late June or early July.

Here’s the European model solution for what the Twin Cities can expect starting this weekend. A string of 4-6 days in the 90s with high humidity?

Image: Weatherspark

10 day heat wave?

It looks like the upper air flow will pump heat into Minnesota right through Labor Day weekend. There are early signs of a fall-like cool front around September 5th. Here’s NOAA’s GFS output through the next 16 days. Grain(shaker?) of salt please.

Image: NOAA via IPS Meteostar

Minnesota: Ground zero for smoke from western fires

Dozens of western wildfires show no sign of letting up in the next few days.

The upper wind flow will continue to push periods of thick smoke into Minnesota. Check out NOAA’s smoke mapper from Wednesday. You can see some of the thickest smoke is drifting aloft (10,000 to 20,000 feet) over Minnesota.

Image: NOAA

Expect more smoke the next few days — and enjoy our more comfy temps ahead!