Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6, 2016 Weather Update - A few thunderstorms late this afternoon/evening; Dangerous fire weather conditions continue this evening

/Issued 2:58 PM CDT, Friday, May 6, 2016/

Lightning map from just before 3 PM today, May 6, 2016.  A few thunderstorms starting to develop west and north of Duluth late this afternoon as a cold front approaches from the west and northwest.

-This will have to be confirmed by the National Weather Service, but at 2 PM today, May 6, 2016 -- The high temperature at the Duluth Airport hit 91 degrees...This is the earliest 90 degree temperature on record at the Duluth Airport (Records go back to 1871 or 145 years)  The previous earliest was on May 14th, 1932.

-Record high temperature at Duluth, Minnesota today, May 6, 2016.

New record:  91 degrees as of 2 PM
Old record:  82 degrees set in 2000 and 1934

Brief weather summary for May 6, 2016

An absolute blowtorch! Incredible warmth for early May.  Average high temperatures in the Northland are generally in the upper 50s to lower 60s on May 6th; Today's highs were in the mid 80s to lower 90s with some of the hottest temperatures occurring near Lake Superior from Silver Bay and Two Harbors to Downtown Duluth, east to Superior and Ashland with afternoon temperatures as warm as 93 degrees.

A favorable synoptic setup was in place to produce this amazingly hot early May day.  Low pressure over Ontario Province with high pressure to our south resulting in a west/southwesterly wind.  A cold front was moving east/southeast out of western Minnesota this afternoon with additional warming taking place along and ahead of this boundary.  2 PM 850mb temperatures were in the +19 to +20C range in northeast Minnesota and far northwest Wisconsin with 925mb temperatures of +26 to +27C -- Incredible!

***The main story for this evening will be the dangerous fire weather conditions, warm temperatures, low humidity and a risk for a few showers and thunderstorms***

A cold front will move through the Northland this evening.  The airmass along and ahead of this front is becoming more unstable late this afternoon with CAPE of 500-1500 j/kg along with mid level lapse rates of around 8.0 c/km and lifted indices of -1 to -3C.  The limiting factor for widespread convection along with severe weather is the lack of moisture and very weak wind shear.  Large temperature/dew point spreads on the order of 30-40 degrees are in place this afternoon so a lot of the convection may be high based with occasional lightning strikes and gusty winds being the main threats along with brief heavy downpours and possibly some small hail in the strongest storms.  The main risk for these showers and thunderstorms will be during the evening hours.

Much cooler temperatures for Saturday -- A good 20 to around 30 degrees cooler than today, but the projected temperatures in the 60s tomorrow is actually near to still a little bit above average for early May.

Will stay dry in most of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin on Saturday, Sunday and probably on Monday too.