October reality check brings weekend chill, first metro frost in sight?

Mark your calendar. Oct. 12 is the day “fall” began in Minnesota.

Our warm September (5.2 degrees above average) felt more like a second August. We’ve basked in the first 11 days of October with balmy temps running 6.4 degrees above average.

That booming thud you hear? The sound of the other weather shoe dropping. Your favorite polar fleece is about to get some long overdue attention.

Our weekend cool front is here, and it looks like we can kiss the 70s goodbye for at least two weeks, and possibly until (gulp) next spring. It’s hard to complain considering our bonus run of late summer warmth the past six weeks.

Bring on ‘football weather’ and the fall bonfire season!

Last roses of summer at the Huttner Weather Lab in west metro? (MPR News/Paul Huttner)

6 of first 11 days in October with highs in the 70s

0 days forecast in the 70s in the next 16 days (NOAA GFS model)

(Image: Twin Cities NWS)

Best weekend for leaf-peepers?

I always tell people the first and second weekends in October are almost always best for fall colors. Our recent warm run has delayed ‘peak’ color by about a week, but this weekend still looks the best for getting wowed by our exploding colorful landscape. With more sun and temps in the 50s and 60s, this will be a great, crisp weekend to get out and soak up fall in Minnesota.

(Image: Minnesota DNR)

So long 70s!

It’s been a great run. But it looks like our string of 70s is history for a few weeks — and maybe a few months. The overall upper air pattern change looks more like a semi-permanent seasonal weather change, not just a blip on the radar.

Here’s the Euro model’s take on our cool down featuring highs in the 50s and even 40s next week.

Image: Norwegian Met Institute data via Weatherspark

We flirt with upper 30s (but probably escape frost) in the inner metro core both Sunday and Monday morning.

First metro (killing) frost Oct. 20?

So far we’ve been holding off frost in the inner metro core. The parade of air masses has kept the center of colder Canadian high pressure away from the Twin Cities urban core. That may change by next weekend.

We flirt with upper 30s, and maybe some suburban metro frost this Sunday and Monday morning, but next weekend looks like our best chance of a sub-32 degree reading at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this season.

Will the growing season end with sub-freezing temps Oct. 20? The Euro model seems to think so.  Place your bets.

(Image: Weatherspark)

Soaking rain Monday & Tuesday

The next low pressure storm is heading for Minnesota early next week. The GFS and other models track a pretty nice surface low into Iowa by Monday night.

(Image: NOAA GFS model via College of DuPage)

The associated rain shield looks promising enough to produce some 1 inch-plus rainfall totals over Minnesota next Monday and Tuesday.

Image: Iowa State University

Drought on the way out?

Cooler temps mean less soil evaporation. Next week’s rains may help our slow crawl out of a late summer “flash drought” in Minnesota.

Here’s the updated U.S. Drought Monitor, which shows slow improvement in drought conditions in Minnesota.

Image: US Drought Monitor-USDA/UNL

Big data, meet weather forecasting?

Thanks to fellow weather geek and KARE11 met Sven Sundgaard, who tipped me off to this one via Twitter. It seems our smart phones may be adding some smarts and ‘big data’ to weather forecasts.

Crowd sourced weather forecasts? Not sure about the humidity in your pocket, but here’s an interesting app from WeatherSignal that uses your android phones to feed into the plethora of incoming observations.

(Image: WeatherSignal)

Here’s more on an interesting new app, via Scientific American.

The most recent Galaxy phone, the S4, contains a barometer, hygrometer (humidity), ambient thermometer and lightmeter – all of which is important data for meteorology. While the S4 is the most advanced phone in terms of sensors, valuable readings can be gathered from many other phones as well. The prospect of a granular network of millions of inter-connected weather stations is an exciting one for meteorology.

We are often asked how we can trust the data, as mobile phones are often indoors or in pockets. The answer to this is twofold. First, we can combine sensor readings (if light reading is sub x then phone is not outdoors, for instance) and second, given appropriate volume we can arrive at valid averages – an answer that gets to the heart of what Big Data really means.

The philosophy of Big Data is that insights can be drawn from a large volume of ‘dirty’ (or ‘noisy’) data, rather than simply relying on a small number of precise observations – a subject covered in detail by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier in their recent book ‘Big Data’.

Is that an Android in your pocket?

MPR Weather Road Show hits Moorhead next Thursday

A big thanks to a great crowd in Duluth Tuesday evening for the first stop on the MPR Weather Road Show. It was a full room and your questions and perspective were amazing. Thank you!

Cirrus clouds filtered sun in Duluth Tuesday. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News

Next week we travel to Moorhead to talk about recent trends in Minnesota & Upper Midwest weather and climate. The event is free and you can register for tickets here.

We’re also headed to St. Cloud on October 22nd and Rochester October 24th.

Hope to see you there!

  • Israel

    Wow, with me being a weather geek AND having a Galaxy S4, I love it!!! Thanks Paul, I’ve been waiting for something like this my whole life!

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    Those weather apps are cool, but I do wonder about the accuracy of their sensors, and the sampling errors that are sure to occur due to poor siting and exposure. Other than for novelty, I can’t see much value to the science coming from them.

  • Guest

    Those weather apps are cool, but I do wonder about the accuracy of their sensors, and the sampling errors that are sure to occur due to poor siting and exposure. Other than for novelty, I can’t see much value to science coming from them.