Soggy Week But No Superstorm

Exactly 1.5" in Cologne. Photo courtesy Bryan K

Did the thunderstorms this morning wake you up too?  They were like mother nature’s alarm clock.  Even though the storms were none severe, they did manage to dump 1″-3″ on our area trails.  Be sure to check the trail conditions before heading out on a ride.

Metro Trail Rainfall Totals
  • Murphy-Hanrehan: 2.07″
  • Lebanon: 1.11″
  • Theodore Wirth: 1.03″
  • Carver Park/Battle Creek: 0.35″

Another round of morning thunder is expected Wednesday with lingering showers into Thursday.  With this additional rain, our area trails should stay soggy through the end of the week.  Conditions do clear out with drier (and cooler!) weather for the weekend.


Wednesday: Morning thunder. Mostly cloudy. H: upper 80s

Thursday: Lingering showers early then broken afternoon sunshine. H: low 80s

Friday: Partly sunny, drier and much much cooler. H: upper 70s!

Saturday: Awesome. Mostly sunny and comfortable. H: mid 80s

Sunday: Partly sunny. A thunderstorms developing late. H: mid 80s

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Twin Cities’ Superstorm.  If you’re over 30 years of age you may remember when the metro received 10″ of rain in an 8 hour period.  This amount is still in the record books as the heaviest rainfall the Twin Cities’ has ever seen.

Weekend Riding At Cuyuna

Decaying storms over northern MN. Photo courtesy Susie Martin

The weather held up nicely for Squirrel Fest at Cuyuna Lakes this past weekend.  Definitely hot enough to take a dip in the lake after the ride.  This was my first time at Cuyuna and I thoroughly enjoyed the nice layout of trails.  The clay-like dirt reminded me a bit of Colorado especially with the gorgeous bluffs overlooking the mine lakes.  Beautiful.

The technical sections cured any desire for something daring with the rock gardens, hairpin turns and obstacles.  The Timber Shaft trail, for example, definitely got my adrenaline pumping.

Some Like It Hot

Last month was the 3rd warmest June nationwide in 118 years.  So far, the average high temperature this month in Minneapolis/St. Paul is 92°, which is above the normal of 83°.  In addition, the Twin Cities hit 90° before 11am on five different occasions.

From the Twin Cities NWS, days when the temperature reaches 90° before 11am:

2012 – Jul 2,4,6,16,23
2011 – Jul 20
2006 – Jul 17,31
2001 – May 14,15 Jun 25,27
1970 – Jun 30
1963 – Jun 30
1955 – Jul 31
1949 – June 30

The recent heat has only helped to worsen the drought across the Midwest.  As it looks now, hot and dry weather is expected to continue into the fall season.  Southeastern Minnesota has a 40% chance of receiving above normal temperatures from August to October.

Three Month Temperature Outlook August-October

Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mankato and Rochester have a slightly higher chance of below normal precipitation August through October.

Three Month Precipitation Outlook August-October

The Smell of Space

So it turns out Outer Space has a distinct smell…like “seared steak, hot metal and welding fumes.”  Weird, huh?  As it turns out, the space aroma stems from highly energetic vibrations of particles.  Now a chemist has been hired by NASA to recreate the smell to better train (or prepare) future astronauts for the odd smells of space.







Squirrel Fest Forecast

Squirrel Fest 2: Revenge of the Nuts!!!  Should be a good time this weekend up in Ironton with lots of biking and fun with our fellow riders.  Don’t forget your Vegan nightmare!

If you plan on riding this weekend prepare for more heat and humidity.  Temperatures in the 90s are a given but 100 degree heat will most likely stay southwest of Minnesota.  And heads up campers…thunderstorms may rumble through the area Friday night into Saturday.  With a dome of high pressure just to our south, Minnesota will stay in the storm track with the potential for an isolated, pop-up thunderstorm Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

And, as always, don’t forget the bug repellent. (I sound like my mother)  Our wet spring and hot/dry summer has helped Minnesota’s unofficial state bird, the mosquito, to multiply.  In fact, the first case of West Nile was reported earlier this month in St. Louis County.  Yikes.  Best to not chance it so spray on the stinky stuff.


Friday: Mostly sunny.  A few isolated thunderstorms Friday night. H: mid 80s

Saturday: A pop-up thunderstorm.  Most trails stay dry. Hot. H: near 90°

Sunday: An isolated afternoon thunderstorm. Hot and humid. H: near 90°

Monday: Sticky with dewpoints near 70°. Sunny and hot. H: lower 90s

Tuesday: Afternoon thunderstorms. H: near 90°

Table courtesy NWS Twin Cities

Tuesday’s high of 83° ended the consecutive streak of days at or above 85° in the Twin Cities.  The area had 21 days of 85°+ temperatures which is second to 23 days back in 1941.  Not bad.  You also notice from the table below that the 5 days we spent at or above 95 degrees is good enough for fourth place.

Table courtesy of NWS Twin Cities

Like many Midwest cities, July temperatures in Minneapolis have been running above the average.  If this pattern keeps up we could end up having one of the warmest Julys on record.

Sporadic storm have developed over Minnesota without leaving any widespread significant rain.  Isolated rains combined with the recent heat have helped to expand the drought across the state.

Not everyone is hurting for rain.  Since the flooding rains inundated Duluth last month the area has obviously experienced a surplus since April.

Northwestern MN has been left high and dry.  This is due to a dry Fall, almost snow-less winter and now a hot/dry summer.  Severe drought conditions are now popping up with 53% of the state’s topsoil moisture being very short.

Still, Minnesota is better off than some other states.  Drought conditions have been expanding across the central U.S., especially in states like Indiana.  Just check out the brown areas on this NASA Terra satellite image showing below normal plant growth.  In comparison, southwestern Minnesota is green indicating healthy plant growth.

Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Schwarzenegger Heat: It Will Be Back

Photo courtesy AP

The mercury in the thermometer hit 98° on Monday…not quite 100° but close.  Getting to 100° in the Twin Cities is not easy.  Since records began in 1873 there has been only 65 days over 100.  The most?…9 days over 100 during the Dust Bowl-era of 1936.  This year we’ve had 2 days over 100 on July 4 and 6 when it was 101 and 102, respectively.

The heat will be squashed temporarily through Thursday before another wave of heat arrives for the weekend.  High temperatures on Saturday will be in the mid 90′s.  Yes, a hot one for Squirrel Fest at Cuyuna Lakes this weekend.


Wednesday: Early morning thunder.  Broken sunshine. Isolated chance of afternoon thunder. H: mid 80s

Thursday: Clouds/showers early then afternoon clearing. H: mid 80s

Friday: Mostly sunny. Getting hotter… H: near 90°

Saturday: Nice day for the lake.  Hot.  Thunderstorms Saturday night.  H: mid 90s

Sunday: An isolated thunderstorm otherwise remaining hot. H: mid 90s

Data courtesy ISU

From the forecast meteogram above it looks like the models are downplaying the heat for the upcoming weekend.  The majority of the computer models are going for highs in the 80s whereas the NWS is forecasting highs in the 90s.  Sometimes models have a bias towards cooler conditions.  I still think highs in the 90s over the weekend is a safe bet.

Minnesota’s drought won’t get any help with more heat on the way and a lack of any significant precipitation.  The Minnesota DNR is concerned about an increase in the bushfire danger statewide.  Plants naturally get drier as vegetation matures through the summer but the recent heat and dry weather have sped up that process this year.

Mayflies at the carwash. Photo courtesy

Hastings has a bug problem.  While the annual hatching of the mayfly is a common occurrence this time of the year it appears that this year’s hatching is the largest in a decade. Even MnDOT plow trucks had to be called out to clear the mayflies off the road!

Photo courtesy STAFF, Reuters / July 14, 2012

A tandem lawn chair balloon flight didn’t go so well for two men in Bend, OR.  The two men are fine but had a rough landing after encountering hail, snow and erratic winds from thunderstorms.  They had plans last Saturday to float over the mountains into southwestern Montana at an elevation of about 16,000-17,000 ft where temperatures could have been near zero.  Summer-time thunderstorms over the western mountains are commonplace this time of year.  Next time they should check the forecast.

Members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Mountain Bike squad: Sam Schultz, Georgia Gould, Lea Davison, and Todd Wells. Photo courtesy

Go Team USA!  Are you as excited for Olympic mountain biking as I am?  The Olympic mountain biking course will be held the weekend of August 11 and 12 at Hadleigh Farm in Essex.  This course looks super fun and was designed completely by scratch for the Olympic games.  Mountain biking is a relatively new Olympic sport that was introduced during the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, GA.

Photo courtesy