A Hint of Fall this Weekend

A little too close for comfort-Mt Evans tornado. Photo Karen Goodwin

Tornadoes can happen anywhere…even at an elevation of 11,900 ft.  A confirmed tornado touched down near Mt Evans, Colorado on Saturday July 28.  This makes it the 2nd highest tornado ever recorded in the U.S.  The highest?  The tornado at 12,000 feet in the Sequoia National Park, California that was observed by a hiker on July 7, 2004.  This just goes to show that twisters can happen in the mountains.  In fact, high-elevation tornadoes are probably more common than we think in the western U.S. but many go unnoticed because of the sparse population (lack of eyeballs spotting tornadoes) and the Doppler radar beam blockage over the mountains.

Hot July 2012

July 2012 in the Twin Cities was warm…record warm.  Last month was the 2nd warmest July since record began back in 1873.  It was the first July on record for MSP where everyday was 80°+ and 14 out of the 31 days were at or above 90°.

We get a brief reprieve from the heat this weekend.  Severe thunderstorms late Friday signal the leading edge of cooler air that will overspread the state Saturday and Sunday.  Temperature in the 70s this weekend will have you thinking of Autumn.  Enjoy the cool, Canadian air while it lasts for by next week we are back to warmer conditions.

CycleCast

Friday: You’ll be able to get in a ride early.  Strong storms arrive overnight with the potential for large hail and destructive winds. Be on alert! H: mid 80s

Saturday: Showers/thunder early then broken sunshine in the afternoon. H: low 80s

Sunday: Much cooler yet sunny. Great riding weather! H: upper 70s

Monday: Sunny and warmer H: mid 80s

Tuesday: Partly sunny.  Thunderstorms arrive Tuesday night. H: upper 80s

The greatest threat for severe storms will be northwest of the metro Friday evening.  Large hail and high winds will be the two primary concerns but a tornado threat here and there cannot be ruled out.  Thunderstorms won’t reach the Twin Cities until after midnight Saturday morning and hopefully by then they will loose some of their intensity.  Rainfall amounts look rather merger for the area with generally under 0.25″ of an inch expected.  Rainfall amounts could be a half inch of higher in western Minnesota.  This is good news considering that western MN is drier than most other parts of the state.

Mission to Mars

Photo courtesy wired.com

NASA’S Curiosity will land on the surface of Mars at 12:31pm CT.  This is a pretty big deal in the science world.  NASA will be broadcasting the landing live in Times Square and Mattel is making a Hot Wheels “Mars Rover Curiosity”.  This is the most ambitious landing on another planet.  The goal is not to look for life on the Red Planet but to see if human life is sustainable for future missions.  The Mars landing, if successful, can be a positive thing for our nation at a time when the American morale is low.  Most importantly, a science breakthrough can excite young children (our future leaders) into pursuing science and keep America on the forefront of technology.  I think the space program is essential and I agree with Chris Carberry from Explore Mars, Inc. that this Mars Mission can even boost the economy.

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