Friday fire danger, heat and thunder

Instant July

Seasons in Minnesota are relative. The flip of an atmospheric switch brings frost, or summer heat this time of year.

Temperatures soared to 93 degrees in Hallock in the far northwest corner of Minnesota Thursday afternoon. Bank thermometers searched long lost number combinations as they flashed 90+ degrees in Fargo, Grand Forks and Thief River Falls. It was warmer in the Red River Valley than it was in Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.

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Oklahoma Mesonet

Dr Mark Seeley passes along this tidbit on the remarkable heat and dryness in northwest Minnesota Thursday afternoon.

Dear Paul and Tom,

Just a quick note to say they fell a little short of the state record high temperature today at Hallock and Roseau, both touching 93°F....amazing though.  The state record high is 97°F at Angus, Argyle, and Crookston (all in the Red River Valley) back in 1926......

I was also fascinated by the low relative humidity today in NW Minnesota. Some of those numbers were:

  • 7 percent at Hallock

  • 12 percent at Roseau

  • 13 percent at Moorhead

  • 14 percent at Crookston

That will dry you out in a hurry.....


Fire weather

The extreme dryness and heat means high fire danger Friday.

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Meteorologists call the axis of warmest air the "thermal ridge." The thermal ridge slides east over Minnesota Friday, and temperatures push into the upper 80s to near 90 degrees once again. Summer red is the color of choice on the maps Friday.

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Southwest winds blow in the milder air Friday. A cool front slides southward across Minnesota Friday evening. Moisture and dynamics are limited with the front, but there is enough instability to trigger a few scattered showers and T-Storms late Friday afternoon and evening before cooler and drier air slides south Saturday.

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Storm coverage looks spotty Friday evening, but a few of the storms could produce downpours and gusty winds, maybe even some hail. NOAA's NAM 4 km model has a higher resolution look at the waves of scattered T-showers developing in the frontal zone Friday evening.

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NOAA via College of Dupage

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center does not place Minnesota in a severe risk zone Friday. Still, a few of the storms could be vigorous if not severe Friday evening.

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The weekend looks good, plenty of sun and highs near 70 in the metro.

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Twin Cities NWS

Tracking the plume

Minnesotan and former Weather Channel meteorologist Daniel Dix posted this informative tweet today on the growing smoke plume aloft over the Upper Midwest.

Fort McMurray fire costliest in Canadian history?

There are many angles to beastly Canadian fires. The insurance industry is already adding up the dollars on what is likely to be the costliest natural disaster in Canada's history. Reuters has the story.

A wildfire in the Alberta city of Fort McMurray is set to become the costliest ever Canadian natural disaster for insurers, with 1,600 buildings destroyed and another 19,000 under threat, analysts and industry sources say.

The bill for insurers is expected to be several times more than the C$700 million ($544 million) paid out for a wildfire in Slave Lake, Alberta, in 2011.

The fire in Slave Lake, a small town 250 km (155 miles)northwest of the city of Edmonton, led to the destruction of 374 homes, less than a quarter of the number of structures already destroyed at Fort McMurray, and damaged another 52. "If you're looking at four times that of Slave Lake you're getting to well over C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) so there is a possibility that this may become the biggest catastrophic claim in Canada," said DBRS analyst Stewart McIlwraith.

The unchecked fire, now in its fourth day Wednesday, has prompted the full evacuation of Fort McMurray's 88,000 residents. It has not, however, endangered the major oil producers in the area, the heart of the oil sands industry.

The fire is also likely to exceed the C$1.9 billion in losses caused by the Alberta floods of 2013, which set the record for the costliest Canadian disaster. Those losses were limited by the fact that many policies did not cover the type of flooding experienced.

Shares in Intact (IFC.TO), Canada's largest property and casualty insurer, closed nearly 4 percent lower. The company said it has the biggest exposure of any insurer to the region.

"It could be quite significant in terms of a loss for them," said Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan.

From the twitterverse #ymmfire

Evacuation getting intense. I feel for all evacuees in an unprecedented situation.

Fires visible from space



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