Frustrations of a Weather Chick

Forecasting isn’t always easy.  Sometimes predicting summer-time thunderstorms is like throwing a twig into a river and calculating where that twig will be two miles downstream and when it will get there.  So many factors, like current speed, rocks, eddies, etc, go into determining the twigs fate.  Weather, much like the twig in the river, is a result of so many factors and forces.  Weather forecasting models are imperfect and will always be imperfect.  The mathematical equations used by the models to predict the weather can never and will never exactly replicate the fluid motions in the Earth’s atmosphere.  Forecasting the weather isn’t an exact science, therefore, it can be a frustrating business.

The forecast this weekend was a tough one.  Nailing down when/where a thunderstorm would develop wasn’t easy.  In the end it was a wet enough weekend to close many of the trails.  Still, there was plenty of bike related things to do beside slay some singletrack.  The Nature Valley Bike Festival was a huge hit.  I was able to catch a few lapse of the Uptown Minneapolis Crit Friday evening.

I also checked out a bike shop that I’ve never been to before, the Angry Catfish.  They had a bunch of events this weekend related to the Nature Valley Grand Prix which included a Saturday night after party with Rapha movies and great beer.

Angry Catfish After Party

Remembering the Chandler Tornado

Photo courtesy Richard Sennott Star Tribune

Just two years ago on June 17, the biggest single-day tornado outbreak in Minnesota history occured.  According to the Twin Cities’ National Weather Service, on June 17, 2010, “the largest single-day tornado outbreak in Minnesota history occurred with 48 tornadoes across the state, and set the stage for a record breaking tornado year that finished with 113 tornadoes statewide. There were three EF-4 tornadoes and four EF-3 tornadoes in Minnesota on this day. Four tornado fatalities occurred, which was the highest number since July 5, 1978.”

It’s quite the coincidence that severe weather was over the state Sunday night, two years to the date since the deadly Chandler tornado.

Severe thunderstorms on radar Sunday night

Supercell in Herman. Photo courtesy Jackie Noshea

Supercell storms developed over Minnesota Sunday night.  Funnel clouds were reported near Sacred Heart in Renville County and a 72mph wind gust was clocked in Lester Prairie.

This radar snippet shows the relative velocity of a storm over Litchfield.  The red color signifies rain droplets moving away from the radar.  The green color signifies rain droplets moving towards the radar.  A meteorologist looks for this type of signature when determining rotation within a thunderstorm.  In this case, the thunderstorm was indeed rotating.

The storms Sunday night also had some incredible lightning.  WNTV Meteorologist Paul Douglas captured the intense lightning storm over Tonka Bay.


Deep breathes.  The week ahead still looks a bit unsettled.  Be sure to check the trail conditions for the latest.

Monday-Tuesday: Showers & thunderstorms likely. H: mid 80s

Wednesday: Isolated thunder. H: near 80

Thursday: Short break in the rain chance.  More showers expected Thursday night. H: low 80s

Friday: Partly cloudy afternoon. H: low 80s

Saturday: Isolated thunderstorms. H: mid 80s

Sunday: Partly sunny. H: mid 80s

One thought on “Frustrations of a Weather Chick

  1. As a closet Weather channel watcher since it’s conception I’m going to go out on a limb and dangle from a ” twig” and make a forecast : plenty of meteorologists are going to be hovering over radar images for the 24 hours or so.

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