Thursday, August 11, 2011

Heading into the Dog Days of summer

As you may have noticed, July happened to be a warmer than normal and very humid.  By my count, more than 80% of July days had high temperatures above normal.  The summer has been unusually muggy with 274 hours of dew points of 70 degrees or higher recorded this season as of August 1, 2011.  The record is 512 hours, set in 2002.

What is responsible for the warmer and moist air mass?  We are in a “Ring of Fire” weather pattern.  No, it doesn’t have anything to do with a Johnny Cash song or earthquakes.  Rather, it’s a dome of high pressure, created from longer and stronger daylight, dominating the southern states (and bringing along with it record drought to Texas).  Minnesota resided at the edge of this dome ridge, with the jet stream riding along it that brought rain and some severe weather to the area.  With the jet stream so far north, Gulf moisture was able to surge all the way up into the Upper Midwest, which made our climate feel tropical for an extended length of time.


As we venture into August, we have witnessed a cold front move through this week that brought humidity and temperatures into a more comfortable level.  90-degree temperatures appear to be a thing of the past as we transition into a cooler weather pattern.  With the cooler weather pattern, severe weather season will begin to wind down quickly over the next few weeks.  However, until about mid-October, severe thunderstorms can never be ruled out completely across the state because of air mass clashes with the changing of the seasons.


For those that enjoy the hotter conditions, we should see 80-degree temperatures return in about a week, and perhaps some mid-80s as the Minnesota State Fair begins at the end of this month.  We are in that period where the weather will have something for everyone – a little bit of summer and fall.


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