The storm system to our west that looks to bring some unsettled, stormier weather to our area this weekend is also going to pull in some warmer and eventually more humid weather for us. Of course, that humidity will prime the atmosphere for those rain chances while it keeps the summer-like feel in the air that we’ve been experiencing all week long. We’re expecting some showers and thunderstorms late this evening and tonight and those look to stick around for much of Friday. The entire weekend won’t be a washout, but there will be some shower chances each day with this upcoming storm system. Look for morning showers Saturday with a fair amount of sunshine still around to warm us into the lower 80s. We’ll have more widespread showers and thunderstorms Sunday. It’s too early to tell if there will be severe weather this weekend, but right now the best chance looks to be later in the day Sunday into early Monday. Rain chances with this storm system look to linger into Wednesday with temperatures slowly falling to the lower and mid 70s which is a bit closer to what we normally expect this time of the year. If you’re heading up north, here’s a look at your weekend getaway forecast:
It’ll be a comfrotable, but unsettled weather picture in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin this weekend.
While we’re finally enjoying a dry day with a little sunshine in the area today, two commodities that have been lacking in our weather for just about the entire month so far, we’re still looking ahead toward a weekend storm system that may cause some more headaches for us. Ahead of its arrival late Saturday night, we’ll enjoy a peaceful, seasonably cool Friday with a little more wind and some low 30s for Saturday…basically the calm before the storm. However, things will begin to get more difficult for us around midnight Saturday night when a little freezing rain is expected to develop ahead of the center of low pressure to our southwest. We may stick with freezing rain and sleet for the night, possibly until mid morning before warmer air allows us to transition to light rain as temps will be in the mid 30s. There will still be a chance for some snow at the tail end of the storm system for us by late Sunday evening. Accumulations may reach three or four inches in some spots locally by Monday morning when things are expected to dry out, but until the system gets a little closer, we won’t be able to pin down exactly who will get what. As you can see below, the heavier snow is expected to be to our northwest as Winter Storm Watches have been issued for a huge chunk of the Upper Midwest in advance of the system. The Twin Cities area is looking at anywhere from four or five inches to seven or eight inches, depending on the eventual track of the storm while areas to the northwest will see higher amounts, possibly as much as a foot in some locations.
Winter Storm Watches are in effect for Sunday to our north and a Blizzard Watch is in effect for western Minnesota and part of South Dakota as heavy snow and strong winds will make travel very difficult in those areas.
After a week in the deep freeze, it looks our temperatures over the weekend will climbing nicely into the 30 degree range by Sunday. The downside to that is instead of light snow Sunday, we’re expecting something that may be a bit more treacherous. A storm system from the southwest will spread a wintry mixture of precipitation across the area during the day Sunday through early Sunday night, possibly coating the landscape with ice and perhaps a little light snow. Right now it looks like things will get going in the mid morning hours with some freezing rain or sleet in the area and in the afternoon and evening there may be more of a mixed bag of precipitation types. The National Weather Service may end up issuing some advisories for this event, so stay tuned for more on this as we go through the weekend.
The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center’s freezing rain probability map for Sunday shows a strong potential for freezing rain and the resulting ice across the entire region.
After a March-like week that has featured high temperatures in the 30s and quite a bit of melting snow, it looks like more typical January weather is just hours away. A potent cold front to our west is expected to sweep through the area after midnight tonight, unleashing some strong, cold west winds that will blow seasonably cold air back into the region. Ahead of that front today, we’re dealing with the effects of warm weather and melting snow as fog is thick and gray is the color scheme du jour. We’ll have clouds and highs near 40 degrees for our “Finally Friday” with south winds gradually increasing and working to slowly mix out some of our fog. While heavy snow will be likely tonight through much of Saturday in the northern plains and far northwestern Minnesota with this storm system and cold front, we’ll get just a few snow showers and flurries along that front and then dry, mainly gray weather for Saturday. Temperatures this weekend in the wake of that front will be very typical of mid January, beginning a trend of cold weather that looks to linger through most of the rest of the month.
Temperatures look to drop off a cliff late tonight as a strong cold front brings winter weather back to the area.
Even though it may not feel like it, we are in fact now in the middle of November, a part of the year more associated with clouds and high temperatures in the 40s than the clear skies and 50s we’re expecting for most of the next week, a continuation of our current warm spell. Another item that we expect every November is the annual Leonid meteor shower that typically takes place around the 17th of the month (which is also my birthday, incidentally) and is one of the most anticipated astronomical events of the year.
Local information for viewing the meteor shower.
The forecast for early Saturday morning calls for clear skies with temps around 30 degrees and south winds from 5 to 15mph.
Here’s some more background information on the Leonid meteor shower along with some viewing tips from Space.com.
The annual Leonid meteor shower reaches its peak this week and may get a boost from a moonless weekend sky.
The actual peak of the 2012 Leonid meteor shower is on Saturday (Nov. 17) at 3 a.m. EST, but, like all meteor showers, the celestial fireworks display will be visible for a few nights before and after that peak time, weather permitting. Because the moon will have set by that time, its bright glow won’t wash out any Leonids you may see.
The Leonids are associated with the periodic comet Tempel-Tuttle, first discovered in 1865. This comet has a period of 33.2 years. It was last close to the sun in 1998 and will return in 2031. After Tempel-Tuttle’s discovery, it was traced back to a comet observed in 1366.
But what exactly is a meteor shower? Meteors are brief flashes of light in the Earth’s upper atmosphere which occur when small pieces of interstellar material, called meteoroids, enter the atmosphere and heat it to incandescence. We don’t actually see the meteoroids themselves, but rather the air heated by the friction of their passage.
As the Earth travels around the sun, it is constantly encountering meteoroids, so that on any night in the year, if you observe a dark sky after midnight, you will probably see a few meteors every hour. These are known as “sporadic meteors.” [Leonid Meteor Lights Up Night Sky (Video)]
Meteoroids are not uniformly distributed in space. They seem to be most commonly produced when comets venture close to the sun, melting the ice from tiny comet fragments, leaving behind small meteoroids. Under the gravitational influence of the planets, these fragments gradually spread out along the comet’s orbit, forming a belt of meteoroids in space. When the Earth passes through such a belt, we see more meteors than average, and this is known as a “meteor shower.”
There is a common misconception that a meteor shower is like a rain shower, with large numbers of meteors being visible. Most meteor showers only involve a few more meteors per hour than you might see any night.
Look inside the sickle of Leo for the point in the sky from which the Leonid meteors appear to radiate.
CREDIT: Starry Night Software
On rare occasions, perhaps once a decade, observers see what are called meteor storms, when dozens of meteors can be seen every hour. The Leonid meteor shower is famous because it has caused a large number of meteor storms over the centuries.
Because the distribution of meteoroids along its parent comet Tempel-Tuttle’s orbit is not uniform, it tends to produce meteor storms every 33 years, the same period as the comet. Careful observations have enabled mapping of clumps of meteoroids within the stream, leading to increasingly accurate predictions. There were spectacular Leonid storms in 1999, 2001, and 2002.
No meteor storm is predicted for 2012, but the Leonids can always be counted on to provide a good show, especially since there will be no moon to interfere with them this year.
How to see the Leonids
The best time to observe meteors is always after midnight, when the Earth is heading directly into the meteor stream.
This shower is named the Leonids because they appear to radiate from a point just inside the Sickle of the constellation Leo. It’s not important to know exactly where the radiant is because the longest and brightest meteors are usually about 90 degrees away from the radiant. The radiant will be roughly half way up the eastern sky for most northern observers, so the best directions to look are south, north, and directly overhead.
Although the peak is predicted for 3 a.m. EST Saturday morning, Leonids may be seen at any time in the night, and for a day or two before and after Saturday morning.
It’s important to dress warmly and make yourself comfortable in a reclining garden or deck chair. You will see more meteors if you keep your head still and allow at least 20 minutes for your eyes to become adapted to the dark. Be patient and spend a least an hour watching, as meteors often come in batches with long dry spells in between.
Try catching photographs of Leonids by setting your camera up on a tripod and making time exposures of at least 15 seconds, and send them along to us to share.
Clear skies and good luck!
Editor’s note: If you and snap an amazing photo of the Leonid meteor shower and would like to share it with SPACE.com for a possible story or image gallery, send images, comments and location information to managing editor Tariq Malik at email@example.com.
W’ve been dealing with drizzle, mist, and light rain showers for a couple of days now, but as we move into the weekend tomorrow and Sunday, our skies are going to be drier and less cloudy which will make for decent viewing for the Orionid Meteor Shower that will reach its peak late Saturday night. This particular meteor shower will occur as remnant particles of dust and ice from Halley’s comet will burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere this weekend when our planet passes through the comet’s orbit. For more information see below:
A massive “dip,” or trough as we refer to it, in the jet stream is going to keep things cool and fall-like for the weekend, but this pattern is by no means permanent. Basically, it’s going to be a cool, turbulent, and occasionally unsettled few days for us with subnormal temperatures through Sunday. At the surface, we’ll first experience a little rain later tonight as a weak disturbance pushes through the Upper Mississippi Valley and then a cold front tomorrow night will bring a few more light showers starting in the evening and lingering behind the front through midday Saturday. The front will unleash the coolest air of the season for us Saturday as highs in the mid 50s will be expected locally and strong northwest winds that will occasionally reach 40 miles per hour will make it feel cooler than that all day. It’ll be a raw first day of fall to be sure. Incidentally, the autumnal equinox takes place at 9:49 AM Saturday. High pressure will settle in for Saturday night, calming the winds and clearing the skies, setting the stage for the coldest night of the season to date and a potential widespread frost/freeze event. Temperatures by Sunday morning may dip into the low 30s in the majority of the area with some pockets of upper 20s possible.
The jet stream aloft is buckling southward in the Great Lakes region this weekend, making for a cooler than normal stretch of day for us.
The jet stream next week looks to flatten out a bit, allowing temperatures to warm up slightly in the longer term.
After a fairly gray and blustery, fall-like Thursday, high pressure managed to calm the winds and scour out our clouds overnight, allowing temperatures to drop like a rock in most of the area. Many spots were 10 to 15 degrees cooler than normal and some of us flirted with record low temperatures early this morning. Rochester came within two degrees of tying the record low of 45° that was set in 1962 and Mason City came within one degree of tying its record of 43°. We’ll have another cool night tonight with temperatures that will be just slightly warmer than Thursday night’s and then the weekend will feature some more of this comfortable weather with highs in the 70s and lows Saturday night and Sunday night in the low 50s.
The coolest morning of the season in the local area. The last time we were this cool was the first of June.
Enjoy the bright, quiet sunshine today because wet, unsettled weather is going to be the forecast for much of the next week or so, starting tomorrow. We’ll have some showers and thunderstorms tomorrow, but right now severe weather isn’t a concern. That will change, however, on Saturday as a storm system and its warm front will move into the Upper Mississippi Valley, possibly igniting some strong thunderstorms in the region. The best chance for activity locally will be mid to late afternoon Saturday and the area most likely to see severe weather will be along and south of Interstate 90 and in northeast Iowa and far southwestern Wisconsin. Large hail, damaging winds, and possibly a few tornadoes will be possible, so we’ll have to keep a close on on that thunderstorm potential over the next couple of days and then watch the radar over the weekend. In the meantime, rainfall this weekend and next week may seem like a nuisance to some people, but we really could use the moisture as our current deficit for the year is more than an inch and we’d really like to reduce the wildfire threat. The severe weather threat will then shift away from our local area for Sunday and for next week. There’s a chance that more than an inch or two may fall in the next seven days as a few storm systems will be tracking through the region, so things will be rather unsettled for a while.
Severe Weather Risk for Saturday. The best chances in the country will be to our south, but parts of our area may see some stronger activity later in the day.
After a week of nearly dry, but warm and pleasant weather, we’re feeling much more unsettled and overcast today and it looks like this new gray scenario will carry us into the upcoming weekend. Even with the extra clouds, temperatures are still quite mild for March, so we don’t have to say good-bye to the ridiculously mild stuff yet. We’ll just have to remember to bring along the rain gear when we leave the house each morning. Unfortunately, we did have some damage in some localized pockets on Monday from straight line winds where gusts reached 60+ miles per hour, but in addition to that we did receive some much needed rainfall. Here’s a look at some of the totals from Monday and early Tuesday:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI
1015 AM CDT TUE MAR 20 2012
...24 HOUR RAINFALL TOTALS ACROSS THE AREA...
LOCATION RAINFALL TIME LAT/LON
WAUKON 0.68 0700 AM 43.27N 91.47W
ION 0.52 0700 AM 43.11N 91.27W
DORCHESTER 0.50 0700 AM 43.47N 91.51W
DORCHESTER HIGHWAY 76 0.49 0700 AM 43.42N 91.51W
HARPERS FERRY 0.46 0700 AM 43.17N 91.24W
LANSING 4SE 0.43 0700 AM 43.32N 91.16W
IONIA 0.72 0700 AM 43.03N 92.50W
NEW HAMPTON 0.68 0700 AM 43.06N 92.31W
STRAWBERRY POINT 1.39 0700 AM 42.69N 91.53W
ELKADER 6SSW 0.97 0700 AM 42.79N 91.45W
VOLGA 0.89 0700 AM 42.81N 91.52W
EDGEWOOD 0.71 0700 AM 42.65N 91.40W
LITTLEPORT 0.65 0700 AM 42.75N 91.37W
ELKADER 0.64 0700 AM 42.84N 91.40W
MARQUETTE 0.25 0700 AM 43.04N 91.21W
GARBER 0.17 0700 AM 42.74N 91.26W
GUTTENBERG 0.13 0700 AM 42.79N 91.10W
MCGREGOR 0.12 0700 AM 43.02N 91.17W
WEST UNION 0.65 0700 AM 42.98N 91.79W
CLERMONT 0.47 0700 AM 43.00N 91.66W
ELDORADO 0.45 0700 AM 43.05N 91.81W
FAYETTE 0.42 0700 AM 42.85N 91.82W
OELWEIN AWOS 0.34 0700 AM 42.68N 91.97W
NASHUA 0.58 0700 AM 42.94N 92.57W
CHARLES CITY AWOS 0.43 0700 AM 43.07N 92.61W
CHARLES CITY COOP 0.20 0700 AM 43.08N 92.67W
CHARLES CITY CEDAR RVR 0.11 0700 AM 43.06N 92.67W
ELMA 0.92 0700 AM 43.24N 92.44W
CRESCO 0.31 0700 AM 43.37N 92.11W
ST ANSGAR 0.60 0700 AM 43.37N 92.83W
OSAGE 0.31 0700 AM 43.28N 92.81W
BLUFFTON 0.57 0700 AM 43.41N 91.90W
CALMAR 0.44 0700 AM 43.18N 91.87W
WAUCOMA 0.39 0700 AM 43.05N 92.04W
DECORAH 0.28 0700 AM 43.30N 91.80W
MANTORVILLE 0.81 0700 AM 44.07N 92.77W
DODGE CENTER 0.68 0700 AM 44.04N 92.88W
SPRING VALLEY 3E 0.66 0700 AM 43.68N 92.33W
SPRING VALLEY 1 NW 0.64 0700 AM 43.70N 92.40W
HIGHLAND 0.54 0700 AM 43.65N 91.84W
SPRING VALLEY 0.38 0700 AM 43.69N 92.39W
PRESTON 0.36 0700 AM 43.67N 92.07W
PRESTON 1 NNE 0.35 0700 AM 43.68N 92.08W
CARIMONA 0.33 0700 AM 43.66N 92.15W
PRESTON AWOS 0.31 0700 AM 43.68N 92.18W
PILOT MOUND 0.30 0700 AM 43.78N 92.03W
LANESBORO 0.25 0700 AM 43.72N 91.97W
BROWNSVILLE 0.56 0700 AM 43.70N 91.27W
LA CRESCENT 1NNW 0.52 0700 AM 43.83N 91.31W
CALEDONIA 0.47 0700 AM 43.63N 91.50W
HOUSTON 0.35 0700 AM 43.77N 91.57W
MOUND PRAIRIE 0.28 0700 AM 43.78N 91.45W
AUSTIN 0.49 0700 AM 43.67N 92.95W
LANSING 0.44 0700 AM 43.75N 92.95W
AUSTIN 3S 0.36 0700 AM 43.62N 93.00W
GRAND MEADOW 0.30 0700 AM 43.71N 92.56W
ELGIN 0.83 0700 AM 44.10N 92.27W
POST TOWN 0.49 0700 AM 44.09N 92.82W
ROCHESTER - SILVER CREEK 0.38 0700 AM 44.03N 92.42W
ROCHESTER - BEAR CREEK 0.30 0700 AM 43.92N 92.48W
DOVER 0.29 0700 AM 44.01N 92.11W
ROCHESTER - CASCADE CREEK 0.13 0700 AM 44.03N 92.48W
ROCHESTER BELTLINE 0.13 0700 AM 43.91N 92.50W
LAKE CITY 0.75 0700 AM 44.43N 92.28W
LAKE CITY 0.65 0700 AM 44.45N 92.26W
THEILMAN 0.51 0700 AM 44.28N 92.19W
KELLOGG 0.27 0700 AM 44.32N 92.00W
WINONA 0.65 0700 AM 44.09N 91.67W
LA CRESCENT DAM 7 0.55 0700 AM 43.87N 91.31W
MINNESOTA CITY 0.51 0700 AM 44.16N 91.81W
DAKOTA 0.36 0700 AM 43.92N 91.37W
ALTURA 5W 0.34 0700 AM 44.06N 92.04W
ALTURA 0.20 0700 AM 44.15N 92.01W
FRIENDSHIP 0.05 0700 AM 43.98N 89.83W
MONDOVI 6S 0.52 0700 AM 44.48N 91.67W
ALMA DAM 4 0.30 0700 AM 44.33N 91.92W
OWEN 0.37 0700 AM 44.98N 90.55W
NEILLSVILLE 3SW 0.23 0700 AM 44.53N 90.64W
NEILLSVILLE 0.20 0700 AM 44.56N 90.61W
LYNXVILLE DAM 9 0.32 0700 AM 43.21N 91.10W
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN 0.28 0700 AM 43.05N 91.13W
STEUBEN 4SE 0.07 0700 AM 43.13N 90.84W
SOLDIERS GROVE 0.06 0700 AM 43.39N 90.78W
ROCKVILLE 0.22 0700 AM 42.73N 90.64W
SINSINAWA 0.17 0700 AM 42.52N 90.54W
BOSCOBEL ASOS 0.06 0700 AM 43.16N 90.68W
LANCASTER 4WSW 0.05 0700 AM 42.83N 90.79W
BOSCOBEL RAWS 0.05 0700 AM 43.15N 90.68W
BURTON 0.04 0700 AM 42.72N 90.82W
BLACK RIVER FALLS STP 0.33 0700 AM 44.29N 90.85W
BLACK RIVER FALLS 0.33 0700 AM 44.38N 90.84W
BLACK RIVER FALLS RAWS 0.28 0700 AM 44.30N 90.84W
NEW LISBON 4ENE 0.03 0700 AM 43.91N 90.07W
NECEDAH 5WNW 0.02 0700 AM 44.06N 90.17W
...LA CROSSE COUNTY...
LA CROSSE WFO 0.77 0700 AM 43.82N 91.19W
LA CROSSE 5SE 0.69 0700 AM 43.77N 91.15W
HOLLAND 0.64 0700 AM 43.97N 91.29W
WEST SALEM 1W 0.57 0700 AM 43.90N 91.09W
HOLMEN 0.49 0700 AM 43.97N 91.27W
HOLMEN 2S 0.42 0700 AM 43.93N 91.25W
LA CROSSE 4NNW 0.40 0700 AM 43.87N 91.27W
LA CROSSE ASOS 0.35 0700 AM 43.88N 91.26W
CATARACT 0.20 0700 AM 44.08N 90.85W
WARRENS 0.14 0700 AM 44.10N 90.59W
TUNNEL CITY 0.14 0700 AM 44.01N 90.57W
SPARTA 0.11 0700 AM 43.94N 90.82W
RICHLAND CENTER 1NW 0.15 0700 AM 43.36N 90.42W
LUBLIN DIAMOND LAKE 0.37 0700 AM 45.11N 90.69W
MEDFORD 0.16 0700 AM 45.13N 90.34W
JUMP RIVER 0.12 0700 AM 45.36N 90.80W
GALESVILLE 3ENE 0.36 0700 AM 44.09N 91.29W
BLAIR 2NW 0.30 0700 AM 44.31N 91.27W
TREMPEALEAU DAM 6 0.27 0700 AM 44.00N 91.44W
OSSEO 0.23 0700 AM 44.58N 91.22W
GALESVILLE 2WSW 0.23 0700 AM 44.07N 91.39W
WHITEHALL 2W 0.19 0700 AM 44.37N 91.36W
GENOA 0.95 0700 AM 43.57N 91.23W
DESOTO 1SE 0.53 0700 AM 43.41N 91.19W
VIROQUA 0.43 0700 AM 43.55N 90.90W
WESTBY 3ENE 0.35 0700 AM 43.68N 90.81W
READSTOWN 0.15 0700 AM 43.45N 90.76W
LA FARGE 0.11 0700 AM 43.57N 90.64W
HILLSBORO 0.07 0700 AM 43.65N 90.33W
ONTARIO 0.03 0700 AM 43.72N 90.59W
ONTARIO 3E 0.02 0700 AM 43.72N 90.60W
It looks like we may add on another half inch to an inch in some places between today and early Saturday when the storm system responsible for making things wet and unsettled finally moves out of the region. High temperatures in the meantime will remain quite warm with 60s to near 70 expected through next Monday or so.