Minnesota Record

Although our area saw a very wet start to summer the
reminder of our warm season saw more average to below average rainfall. 

Much of Minnesota never saw the early summer rains
and was quite dry until the big rain event of a couple of weeks ago.  The flash flooding over southern Minnesota on August 18th
and 19th broke the 24 hour rainfall record for the state. An
official National Weather Service climate observer near Hokah, Minnesota
reported a storm total of 16.27 inches.

Of that total, 15.10 inches fell within
the observer’s 24-hour observation cycle ending at 8:00 AM on Sunday, August 19th.
This is the largest 24-hour rainfall total ever recorded by an official
National Weather Service reporting location in Minnesota.

The previous Minnesota
record was 10.84 inches, recorded at Fort
Ripley in Crow Wing County on July 22, 1972.

Local Hurricane?

A viewer emailed us and asked how hurricanes influence the weather in our area.  There are two ways that hurricanes can
influence our weather. 

The first
involves the remnants of the hurricane being pulled northward into the northern
plains.  Part of Tropical Storm Erin was
pulled northward just this past weekend and enhanced the heavy rain over
southern Minnesota.  Although that area would have received
rainfall without the help of Erin, it likely
added to the rainfall totals. 

Another
way a hurricane can influence our weather is by altering the upper-level wind
pattern.  Hurricanes and tropical storms,
especially the one that go up the east coast of the United States can have a stalling
effect on our weather.  It can keep us
either sunny or stormy a bit longer
than otherwise would have happened without the hurricane being present.  

The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 very likely
would not have been a storm of such magnitude had it not been for a tropical
system in the north Atlantic.

Tropical Season

With Hurricane Dean being closely monitored we are reminded
that we are entering the peak of the hurricane season.  Climatologically, the peak of the hurricane
season arrives on September 10th.  

Although, Hurricane Dean was the first tropical system to reach hurricane
status, we still have several more weeks of hurricane potential in the Atlantic
basin.  If you would like to follow the
latest information on the track of Hurricane Dean or any other tropical system,
I have created a link on our home page. 

Just head to wdaystormtracker.com and below the radar image you will see
a link for tropical information.

 

Smoke

Several people have either email or called and asked about the orange-red sun from earlier in the week.  There have been forest fires in Montana and Idaho the past few weeks and on several days the smoke from these fires has been present over this area. 

It was probably the thickest on Tuesday morning as the sun was coming up and it made for an eerie blood-red sunrise.

The fires in the Rocky Mountains, especially one of the larger fires just happens to be due west of the southern valley.  The upper-level wind pattern has recently been in a zonal, or west to east flow pattern blowing the smoke over the area on several occasions. 

Most of the time you may not have noticed, or just thought there were some higher level clouds over the area, but last Tuesday it was thick enough that some could even smell the smoke in the air.
 

90

So far in 2007 we have had 15 days with temperatures at or
above 90 degrees. The Fargo/Moorhead average
for 90 degree days is 14 per year, so we are near the average, with about
another month of 90 degree potential days.

Although last year we did see 15 days of 90 degree plus heat, most of
the last 15 years has seen below average 90 degree days in this area. Of course, this area has been in a wet phase
in the recently and cloudy days and wet soil are not conducive to hot
days. But even if we by chance see
several more 90 degree days this year we will come no where close to the 39
days of 90 degree heat we experienced in 1988 or the 38 such days in 1936.

Another summer like those will hit again, it
just will not be 2007.

Perseid Meteor Shower

The annual Perseid meteor shower has been going on the past
few nights with many sky watchers already counting as many as a dozen meteors
per hour. Meteor rates should be higher
than that Sunday night when the shower is expected to reach maximum when some areas
could see over 60 meteors per hour.

Although, you will be able to see the brightest meteors from your
backyard, you will be able to see many more if you get away from city
lights. So grab a lawn chair, some bug
spray and enjoy the show. Don’t go out
expecting hundreds of shooting stars, you’ll probably be disappointed if you do,
but the ones you do see will be spectacular in a dark sky.

Southern Hemisphere

A viewer asked a couple of questions dealing with the
southern hemisphere based on part to a previous blog entry.  The first one was about how the earth is farther
away from the sun during the summer
and closer to the sun in
winter. 

Of course, these means the opposite would be the case in the
southern hemisphere. So, does the southern hemisphere have warmer summers and
colder winters than the northern hemisphere?  The answer is generally no,
mainly because most of the southern hemisphere is covered by water which would
limit the solar influences. 

I was also asked about the southern
hemispheric jet stream.  Yes, the southern hemisphere does have a jet
stream and it acts completely independent of the northern hemisphere as we are
always in opposite seasons.  Therefore, the weather in one hemisphere has
little to no influence on the weather in the opposite hemisphere.  

Dry July

July continued the trend that started in late June by
being dry.  The official rainfall total in Fargo/Moorhead was just 1.20 inches
for the month.  Average rainfall in July is close to three inches, so yes it was
a dry month locally.  


The dry weather in July has put us near average for
rainfall this summer (since June 1), but we’re still a good four inches above
average for the year.  If you thought July felt a bit warm, it was.  We finished
3.4 degrees above average.  That may not sound like much, but it did tie us for
the 10th warmest July on record. 

We had 8 days with temperatures 90 degrees or
above during the month, including a 99 degree reading on July 7th.  At this
point it does appear our slightly above average temperatures will continue into
the first half of August.