Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016: Some thoughts on the Farmers Almanac Winter Outlook. Areas of fog late tonight; Highs in the 80s once again for Thursday with a chance for showers/t-storms; Cooler this weekend; Warming up again next week

/Issued 5:15 PM CDT, Wednesday, August 17, 2016/

I'm sure most of you have seen this map being shared on various social media outlets lately -- The Farmers' Almanac 2017 Winter Outlook.

Freezing cold, numbing cold--Really?  What does that mean? Some of us think 30 above is freezing cold, others think it's not freezing cold until the temperature hits 30 below zero.  What is numbing cold?  Or better yet, "ice cold" and "snow filled"?  Click bait, that's all it is.  More people will click on a link that talks about a brutally cold and snowy winter compared to a forecast that calls for mild/warmer than average winter temps and less snow than normal.

Personally I've always thought the Farmers Almanac winter outlooks were a joke, and well I still think they are, but it's hard not to stumble upon their outlook being shared on social media these days.  Seems like around this time every summer, the Farmers Almanac is making these predictions of a harsh winter that end up being the complete opposite (Most of the time)  But I guess if you keep saying such and such winter is going to be extremely cold/snowy year after year, well odds are in your favor that you'll get it right, eventually.

So have fun looking at this outlook and sharing it if you haven't already done so.

And one last thing...I came across a post on Facebook recently that talked about an extreme winter on the way for Minnesota with cold and snow!?! REALLY!!! News flash, it gets cold at times during the winter in Minnesota, and yes it does snow on occasion.  Nothing unusual about that but yet this radio station had to make the headline stand out like the end of the world was coming this winter since it might get cold and it might snow.  Fun times we live in.

"Follow the Rooster"

By the way for those interested I'll be releasing my winter forecast sometime in late October, but just like all these other outlooks it's mostly a guess as to what could happen during a 3-month period.  I might be right, I might be wrong.  One thing I do like to track though especially from now (August) through October will be the different types of jet stream patterns that develop, also where low pressure systems develop and track...Those can be clues as to what may happen during the winter months as weather patterns tend to cycle.

Okay I'm done now.

Severe weather outlook for Thursday, August 18, 2016.  Source, Storm Prediction Center.

Source, Weather Prediction Center.

Tonight's low temperature forecast.

Thursday's high temperature forecast.

Weather Tidbits for Duluth, Minnesota - Airport location

*74 days so far this year with a high temperature of 70 degrees or warmer; Average for an entire year is 86 days.

*28 days so far this year with a high temperature of 80 degrees or warmer; Average for an entire year is 27 days.

*63 days so far this summer with a high temperature of 70 degrees or warmer; Average for an entire summer (June-August) 65 days.

*24 days so far this summer with a high temperature of 80 degrees or warmer; Average for an entire summer (June-August) 23 days.

Weather Summary for NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin
Date:  August 17, 2016

A warm day with highs mainly in the low to mid 80s.  Late afternoon dew points ranged from the mid 50s to low 60s but it was more humid closer to Lake Superior with dew points from 65 to 70 degrees.  Sky conditions varied between partly sunny and mostly sunny today and there have been a few showers moving southeast through parts of eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin this afternoon.  Not much wind for the second day in a row with a variable wind direction at around 10 mph.

Forecast Discussion for NE Minnesota and NW Wisconsin

...Short Term Forecast...

Tonight (August 17)

Partly cloudy.  Areas of fog late (Dense fog possible in spots) Isolated evening showers mainly in northern Wisconsin.  Lows will be in the 50s and 60s with winds turning to the south or southwest at 5 to 15 mph.

Thursday (August 18)

A cold front will move east out of the northern Plains and is forecast to move through the Northland Thursday night -- Southerly flow ahead of this front will result in another day of warm temperatures and somewhat humid conditions.  Highs will be in the 80s with dew points mainly in the 60s.  Winds will be out of the south or southwest at 10 to 20 mph.

Scattered showers or thunderstorms are possible across parts of the Northland on Thursday although the potential for severe thunderstorms has decreased a bit compared to how it looked a few days ago.  The amount of instability has decreased for Thursday and the low level jet also looks weaker in our area.  Mid and upper level winds still look favorable though for a few strong to severe thunderstorms though so will just have to wait and see how things play out on Thursday.

Lows Thursday night will be in the 50s and 60s with winds out of the southwest or north, northwest at 10 to 20 mph.

...Extended Forecast...

Friday (August 19)

Cold front will have moved south/east of the Northland.  Still a chance for some showers in parts of the Northland but I think the better chances would be in eastern Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin with northern Minnesota probably staying dry on Friday.  Highs are forecast to be in the 70s with lows Friday night in the 50s to lower 60s.

Saturday (August 20)

An area of low pressure could develop somewhere over the central Plains late this week -- If this low develops it could take a track up toward central Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and Lake Superior this weekend.  Not all computer models are on board with that solution, however, as some take this system much farther east resulting in little or no rain across the Northland on Saturday.  But, if a more westerly track to this system occurs, kind of like what the NAM and EURO are showing, then the chance for rain would be higher especially over eastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

High temperatures on Saturday are expected to be in the 60s to lower 70s.

Forecast for Duluth and Superior

.Tonight...  Partly cloudy.  Areas of fog late.  Low 59 to 64.  Wind variable around 10 mph.

.Thursday...  Areas of fog possible early otherwise partly to mostly cloudy.  High 80 to 85.  Wind southwest at 10 to 20 mph.  Dew point of 60 to 65.  Note:  Showers or thunderstorms are possible Thursday night.

Normal temperatures for Thursday

High:  74
Low:   55

Sunrise Thursday:  6:11 AM CDT
Sunset Thursday:   8:13 PM CDT