Smoky veil aloft, Wednesday washout ahead

Did you notice that whitish tint to the sky today? That’s an elevated smoke layer drifting over Minnesota from western wildfires. So much for the Land of Sky Blue Waters.

Smoke layer obscures the sun across much of Minnesota today. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News.

Dozens of large fires in the western USA and Canada continue to burn. The trajectory of the upper wind flow between 10,000 and 20,000 feet is “advecting” the elevated smoke layer across Minnesota.

Still breathing easy

The good news for Minnesotans is the smoke layer remains aloft for now. Air quality at ground level where we live across Minnesota is still good.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Wednesday washout

Get ready for more rain. The next low pressure wave is moving into Minnesota. Several waves of rain arrive Wednesday. The latest model trends bring a lead wave of rain and thunder across Minnesota tonight, and suggest the bulk of the heavier rain may arrive in the Twin Cities later on Wednesday into Wednesday evening.

NOAA NAM 3 km resolution model via tropical tidbits.

Locally 1″ to 3″+ rainfall totals?

Here’s an updated looks at model-driven rainfall output. The overall weather story remains the same. There is enough moisture and “dynamics” to squeeze out a some multi-inch rainfall totals across Minnesota by Thursday.


NOAA NAM rainfall output via Colleg of Dupage.

When you look at maps like the one above, keep in mind that as meteorologists we use these more for for trends and overall magnitude of rainfall than for precise location and totals. The state of the science of meteorology is still not capable of pinpointing precise rainfall to the zip code level 24 hours in advance. Models can tell you it’s likely to rain, and could rain hard in St. Cloud tomorrow. But they can’t tell you with a high degree of confidence if your lawn will get 1-inch or 3-inches.

Not yet.

Of course you probably already knew that from the performance of your favorite weather app.

Climate tidbits

July global heat surprises many climate watchers.

This is not a good scenario for New Orleans as the peak of hurricane season approaches.

Alaska communities on the front lines of sea level rise.

Climate change and policy implications growing?

We know mosquitoes in Minnesota.