All Weather News

Staggering Rain Amounts in MN and a Wildfire Update

15 Jun 2012, 7:22 am

Staggering Amounts Of Rain. The map above shows Doppler radar rainfall estimates from the Twin Cities (KMPX) Doppler; as much as 10″ between Northfield and Cannon Falls. To put that into perspective, that’s more than 2 month’s worth of rain, falling in 8 hours. Some of these returns may have been tainted by hail in the storm, but I’m fairly confident at least 7-8″ of rain fell over the far southern suburbs of the Twin Cities, resulting in serious flash flooding.

Thursday Damage Reports. Here’s a useful link that displays (on a navigable Google map) the very latest damage reports, including hail, high winds, even a report of a funnel cloud near Faribault Thursday evening; map courtesy of NOAA.

* the very latest damage (and rainfall) reports from NOAA are here. Data available for the USA.

Freak Dallas Hailstorm. Officials estimate as much as $400 million in damage from Wednesday’s raging hailstorm. Details below. Photo above courtesy of

A Wild Sky. Thanks to Lori Hecamovich who snapped these photos near Rochester Thursday evening as torrential rains approached. She described the rain as the heaviest she had ever witnessed….ever.

Nickel-Size Hail. Thanks to WeatherNation TV meteorologist Addison Green for sending in a photo, showing hail-size from Thursday morning’s storms – hail the size of dimes and nickels in Uptown!

Friday Severe Threat. Things settle downa  bit today, but storms may exceed severe limits from the Black Hills of South Dakota southward to Denver, according to SPC.

A “Best Buy” Tornado Sale. Something good came of the 1981 Har Mar Tornado that swept through the heart of the Twin Cities, a “best buy” sale that had such good results that it resulted in the birth of the company we now know as Best Buy. YouTube video of the original 1981 tornado is here; Rick Kupchella’s Bring Me The News has more details: “The tornado damaged a Roseville “Sound of Music” store, which led to a State Fair “best buy” tornado sale. That sale launched a low-price, no-frills retail environment.”

Anniversary Of “Tornado Sale” That Changed Everything. Talk about an amazing “creation story”. The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal has more details on a 1981 tornado that gave rise to a tech empire; here’s an excerpt: “Best Buy didn’t exactly rise from the ashes, but its name and marketing strategy were spun out of a tornado 30 years ago Tuesday. Best Buy founder Richard Schulze called his company Sound of Music when a tornado whipped through Roseville on June 14, 1981, destroying the store and littering the area with merchandise. (See the photos to the right). Employees recovered the scattered inventory and stacked it on tables in the store’s parking lot. Sound of Music slashed prices and advertised a “Tornado Sale.” The sale also was promoted as a “Best Buy,” and people stood in long lines to buy the discounted goods.”

New Mexico “Little Bear” Blaze. You can see the fire retardant dropped on the “Little Bear” fire near Ruidoso, New Mexico, courtesy of Kari Green at the U.S. Forest Service.

Did you know:

Most fire retardant dropped from planes is a diammonium phosphate with a guar gum thickener. It acts as both a flame retardant and fertilizer after the fire to promote plant growth.High park fire: Over 1,200 personnel, 46,820 acres burned, 10% contained.
Whitewater- Baldy fire: 446 personnel, 289,478 acres burned, 56% contained
Little Bear fire: 37, 912 acres burned, 40% contained.

* information courtesy of Inciweb and Wikipedia.


Monsoon Awareness Week. Not something we need to worry about in Minnesota (or do we?) Sizzling heat over the desert southwest pulls Pacific moisture inland, resulting in torrential rains and winds capable of whipping up blizzard-like duststorms. More from the Las Vegas office of the NWS, via Facebook: “June 10th through the 15th is Monsoon Safety Awareness Week in Arizona and New Mexico. Today’s topic is Winds & Dust Storms.”

Freakish Hailstorm Pummels Dallas (Video). Some amazing details (and video) from Yahoo News; here’s an excerpt: “The images look like snow, but Dallas residents will tell you it was no winter wonderland. “Oh my gosh, this is the biggest hailstorm I have ever witnessed in my life,” shouted Hannah Jones while videotaping chunks of hail pelting her pool and backyard. Supercell storms packing  heavy rain and droves of damaging hail swept across parts of North Texas Wednesday evening. Some stones were as big as baseballs.

Sitting Ducks. Don’t you just love the people who stop under a highway overpass during a hailstorm, to protect their precious vehicles, leading to a back-up of vehicles behind them? Everyone else is a sitting duck. It’s an “every man for himself” mentality. I understand the desire to keep your car or truck ding-free, but by doing so you threaten everyone else on the highway behind you. Not good. Here’s an explanation of the hailstorm that hit Dallas Wednesday evening, from the Norman Office of the NWS, via Facebook: “This pic is from the DFW area yesterday, where a hailstorm caused a lot of damage. This is why we urge you to not park under highway overpasses in storms. The vehicles you see here are trapped out in the hail with nowhere to go. It’s a very good thing there wasn’t a tornado with this storm!

Local Storm Chaser Risks Life For “Perfect Shot”. I enjoyed this article, courtesy of Houston Public Radio. If you’re a storm chaser or interested in severe weather, it’s worth your time to dig in. Here’s an excerpt: “If you’re unlucky enough to get caught in a weak tornado, it would sound something like this …”I’m escaping the tornado. Its right next to me … oh god, here we go. This is the tornado. Oh god, oh help me …” That’s storm chaser Hank Schyma, scrambling desperately in his 4Runner to escape a mile wide F1 tornado in Cooperton, Oklahoma earlier this year. The tornado literally chased him down the road. It’s hard to imagine Schyma in that situation as he sits in the safety of his home in Midtown surrounded by cameras and maps, the tools of his storm chasing. But here’s how it happened: “The tornado just did this freak figure eight maneuver and it was like your worst nightmare. I kept moving out of its way and it kept changing direction, it would not stop chasing me. The whole things on video.”

Photo credit above: Hank Schyma

Weather Poetry. Keith Olbermann (yes, that Keith Olbermann) sent in this photo from Manhattan, writing: “And some of the sunset playing off the clouds over midtown.” Photo courtesy of Twitpic. Thanks Keith.

“Ask Paul.” Weather-related Q&A:


I was wondering if maps showing yearly precipitation for Minnesota or the Metro Area are available somewhere. I have attached a sample of what I’m looking for but it is for average annual precip – I would like a map of actual yearly data.”

Mark Larson

2011 Precipitation. Thanks to Pete Boulay for tracking down this URL that has actual precipitation amounts (in map form) for Minnesota, dating back to 1990. I don’t have a map for 2012, to date, but I’l lkeep looking. Data courtesy of the Minnesota Climatology Working Group. Mark, I hope this helps you in your quest.

Tropical Storm Carlotta Aims At Mexico Pacific Coast. Details from Reuters: “Tropical storm Carlotta strengthened off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Thursday and was expected to become a hurricane on Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Carlotta, the third named storm of the Pacific hurricane season, is set to graze the coastline south of tourist city Acapulco and pass north of Mexico’s largest oil refinery. State oil company Pemex said it was monitoring the storm and the 330,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery was operating normally on Thursday. Carlotta’s path is far from the Baja California resort of Los Cabos where world leaders are set convene next week for the Group of 20 leaders of top economies on June 18-19.” Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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