A Better Weekend for Biking

The storms Friday afternoon/night were a sign of cooler weather to come.  After a high of 102° Friday afternoon (record 104°) the temperature dropped 12 degrees in 1 hour as a cold front passed.  Humidity levels and the offensive heat will wane this weekend which means, of course, better weather for cycling!

Caution: nerdy weather talk ahead.  The image above shows weather station plots with current temperature in red, dewpoint in green, and wind speed and direction as lines.  I drew a ghetto-looking cold front which was right over Minneapolis/St. Paul (circled in red) Friday afternoon.  Minneapolis/St. Paul, at the time, was 100 degrees.  Behind the cold front, however, the wind shifted and blew from the north which brought in cooler air resulting in Brainerd (circled in blue) with a temperature of 68 degrees.  This made for a 30 plus degree temperature difference between northern and southern MN.

Temperatures at 2:35 CDT Friday afternoon.

In the Twin Cities, high temperatures have not dropped below 90° since July started.  According to University of Minnesota climatologist, Mark Seeley, “we have already seen 16 days with daytime highs of 90 degrees F or greater, and 8 nights when the temperature never fell below 70 degrees F. On average (1981-2010) the Twin Cities records 13 days each year with daytime highs of 90 degrees F or greater, and 11 nights when the nighttime temperature does not fall below 70 degrees F.”

I can’t help but wonder if we’ve all been getting use to the heat.  Can we adapt to prolonged heat waves?  The University of Miami has been studying heat waves and their effect on the general populous.  They’ve concluded that it’s not necessarily the duration of a heat wave but the variability of weather conditions that put a strain on a given population.  From what they’ve concluded it looks like we can get acclimated to the heat.  Certainly, being able to stand the heat can depend on location and climate.  Residents in Arizona have grown more accustom to heat than say those of us in the Midwest.  It’s all relative.  Read more about this study here.

Because of the heat wave and the demand on energy to power A/C units, Minnesota Power asked customers to conserve energy during peak hours in the heat wave.  Air-conditioners are great in a heat wave but have you heard of the ‘Apollo dress shirt‘?  This shirt is made from the same material used in NASA space suits and works in four different ways to cool you down.  “First, the phase change materials in the shirt pull heat from the body when the person’s temperature rises (such as when walking outside on a hot day), and then release the heat back to the person when they cool down (such as when entering an air-conditioned building). Second, the synthetic blend of fibers can wick moisture away from the body. Third, the shirt’s anti-microbial coating and silver threads help to control odor-causing bacteria. And fourth, strain analysis tests make the shirt stretchy so that it moves with the body and stays tucked in.” Move over Under Armour.

Introducing the very stylish 'Apollo Dress Shirt'. Photo courtesy Ministry of Supply

CycleCast

Saturday: Morning shower and clouds, then partly sunny afternoon. Cooler. H: mid 80s

Sunday: Slightly warmer. H: upper 80s

Monday: Nice! Lower humidity. H: low 80s

Tuesday: Sunny. Dry, low dewpoint air in place. H: low 80s

Wednesday: Sunny & dry. H: mid 80s

Thursday: Warming up slowly. H: upper 80s

Friday: Sunny. H: upper 80s

Squirrel Fest is coming up July 20, 21 and 22!  The long range temperature outlook shows the possibility of above normal temperatures across Minnesota with below normal chances for rain.  Check here for more info regarding Squirrel Fest 2012.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook July 14-20 showing above normal temps likely for MN

8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook July 14-20 showing below normal rainfall likely for MN

Extreme Storm Chasing

You gotta check out this crazy (hilarious?) video of veteran TVN storm chasers intercepting a tornado in South Dakota on June 22.  Look closely, hail stones literally the size of grapefruits flew into their vehicle!

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