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Canadian Wildfire Smoke Returns Thursday

An Air Quality Alert has been issued from Midnight Thursday through 11 PM Friday for all of Minnesota due to another round of heavy ground-level wildfire smoke quickly moving into the state for the second half of the week. Across most of eastern Minnesota, the air quality is expected to reach the Unhealthy for All (red) category, with the rest of the state seeing at least the air quality index in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (orange) category. In some areas (especially in northern Minnesota Thursday morning), there's the potential this could enter the Very Unhealthy (purple) category. You can read more about this Air Quality Alert from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Forecast near-surface smoke from 1 AM Thursday to 1 PM Friday.

We will watch the smoke start to intrude the state early Thursday morning, spreading south and southeast on strong northwesterly winds throughout the day. The highest concentration of smoke is expected in northern/eastern Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. The smoke is expected to stick around the region on Friday.

So on Thursday, we will watch hazy skies here in the metro with that wildfire smoke moving into the Upper Midwest. It'll be a cooler day behind the cold front that passed through late Wednesday, with morning temperatures in the low 60s and highs in the upper 70s.

Cooler conditions are expected across the state Thursday, with highs mainly in the 70s. Of course, we'll be watching those hazy, smoky skies courtesy of Canada.

Strong northwesterly winds are expected throughout the day across the state, with gusts up to around 30 mph in the metro and potentially up to around 40 mph in parts of the Arrowhead.


Stretch Of 90s From Saturday Into Early Next Week

Friday: The coolest day of the extended weekend forecast, with highs "only" around average in the low 80s. Smoky/hazy sunny skies are expected.

Saturday: Another mainly sunny day, but temperatures take a huge step upward into the mid-90s as we watch a strong ridge over the central United States. Heat index values will be in the upper 90s. The record high Saturday for MSP is 97F in 1976.

Sunday: Hot, sunny weather continues with highs in the mid-90s and heat index values in the upper 90s. The record high Sunday for MSP is 97F in 1972.

Heat continues into early next week across the region. The record high Monday for MSP is 98F in 1947, and Tuesday's record high is 97F in 1971.

Here's the listing of the warmest days so far this year at MSP. Through Tuesday, we had hit 90F+ 23 times, with three days seeing a high of at least 95F.


Heat Dome Still Brewing For Next Week
By Paul Douglas

Assume nothing. My oldest son and his wife lived in Seattle for a few years, and I remember moving them into a new apartment, which was sweltering. I fidgeted with the thermostat, and then confronted the manager at the front desk about the building's A/C not working. "Sir, this apartment doesn't have air conditioning." Wut? Turns out many people living in the Pacific Northwest don't have A/C. They haven't needed it until relatively recently.

The same heat dome responsible for 110F temperatures in Oregon and Washington state will treat us to a streak of 90s from this weekend through the middle of next week. Models still differ on exactly how hot (shocking news) but there's little doubt we will approach record highs by Monday and Tuesday with a string of mid-90s, and a heat index over 105F. Hot enough. The worst heat will probably sail south/west of MSP, but 4-5 days of sizzling 90s seems likely.

We should cool back into the 80s for most of the Minnesota State Fair. I pray the weather cooperates.


Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, windy & cool. Wake up 58. High 76. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind NW 15-30 mph.

FRIDAY: Sunny and warmer. Wake up 60. High 86. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind S 10-20 mph.

SATURDAY: Minnesota Hotdish. Sweaty sunshine. Wake up 70. High 92. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind S 10-20 mph.

SUNDAY: Sunny and hot. Feels like 100+. Wake up 72. High 94. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SE 8-13 mph.

MONDAY: Sunny, hot and muggy. Wake up 74. High 95. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SE 10-20 mph.

TUESDAY: Hazy sun, still stinking hot. Wake up 72. High 96. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Tropical, nighttime thunder? Wake up 69. High 91. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NE 8-13 mph.


Minneapolis Weather Almanac And Sun Data
August 17th

*Length Of Day: 13 hours, 59 minutes, and 17 seconds
*Daylight LOST Since Yesterday: 2 minutes and 48 seconds

*When Do We Drop Below 13 Hours Of Sunlight? September 7th (12 hours, 57 minutes, 11 seconds)
*When Are Sunrises After 6:30 AM? August 28th (6:30 AM)
*When Are Sunsets At/Before 8:00 PM? August 27th (7:59 PM)

This Day in Weather History
August 17th

1946: A tornado kills 11 people in the Mankato area around 6:52PM. A 27-ton road grader is hurled about 100 feet. Another tornado an hour later destroys downtown Wells.


National Weather Forecast

We'll be watching storm activity across portions of the eastern and southwestern United States on Thursday. Meanwhile, hot conditions start to move from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Rockies, and they will start to return to the southern United States after a very short break in the heat.

The heaviest rain through the second half of the week will be in the eastern United States - particularly from the Mid-Atlantic to Florida where some 3"+ tallies are expected.


Power lines likely caused Maui's first reported fire, video and data show

More from the Washington Post: "At 10:47 p.m. last Monday, a security camera at the Maui Bird Conservation Center captured a bright flash in the woods, illuminating the trees swaying in the wind. "I think that is when a tree is falling on a power line," says Jennifer Pribble, a senior research coordinator at the center, in a video posted on Instagram. "The power goes out, our generator kicks in, the camera comes back online, and then the forest is on fire." At that exact moment, 10 sensors in Makawao, a small, rural town in the East Maui region of Upcountry — where the Conservation Center is located — recorded a significant incident in Hawaiian Electric's grid, according to data from Whisker Labs, a company that uses an advanced sensor network to monitor grids across the United States. The bright light in the video was probably an "arc flash," something that happens when a power line "faults" — meaning it has come in contact with vegetation or another line, or gets knocked down, releasing power, usually through sparks, according to a Whisker Labs official and other experts."

Solar Cycle 25 is more active and powerful than predicted

More from EarthSky: "We're currently four years into Solar Cycle 25, but this one has already proven surprising. The maximum activity of the 25th cycle was predicted to occur in 2025. But solar activity has already exceeded the expected maximum. This means we've been seeing more geomagnetic storms, more auroral displays (and at lower latitudes than usual) and, potentially, more hazardous conditions for satellites in low-Earth orbit."

Behind the Scenes in the Senate, This Scientist Never Gave Up on Passing the Inflation Reduction Act. Now He's Come Home to Minnesota

More from Inside Climate News: "The "Never Give Up Caucus" got its name at a time when many people who cared about climate change were ready to give up. In December of 2021, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) had announced that he would oppose the Build Back Better climate legislation. The bill looked dead. But in meetings of Senate staff members, Pete Wyckoff struck the tone of a coach preparing his team for a fourth-quarter comeback. "Things would fall apart," said Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota). "And then Pete would be right there the next day saying, 'Okay, I think there's a way that maybe we can start to rebuild this bridge.'" Wyckoff worked on her staff as the top adviser on energy issues. She called him "Dr. Pete" because of his background as a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of Minnesota-Morris, and because it helped to distinguish him from the other two Petes in the office."


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- D.J. Kayser