5/22/15: Memorial Day Weekend and Beyond

A clear sky this morning across North Dakota but off to the south there are some high cloudiness that is associated with the next storm system that will impact the region of the Memorial Day Weekend.

Morning Satellite
Morning Satellite

That high cloudiness is associated with some rain with some embedded thunderstorms that will be working to the north of the next 24 hours.  Unlike the storms from the previous two weekends, this rain will slowly dissipate as it approaches North Dakota.  Although far southern portions of North Dakota may record some very light rain on Saturday, most of the state will stay dry on Saturday.  Although it may stay dry, the cloudiness associated with the rain in South Dakota will reduce the temperature potential.  As a general rule a cloudy day will be near 10° cooler than a sunny day, and with high temperatures the past couple of days around 70°, that would mean 60°, or more likely a bit warmer than that will be the high temperature on Saturday in the locations with cloud cover.

Future Radar for Friday into Friday Night
Future Radar for Friday into Friday Night

The thickest cloud cover will likely be over southern North Dakota where highs may be only 60° to 65°, but 70° readings will still be a strong possibility in the northern portion of the state where the cloud cover will be the thinnest.  Overall, 60s may be the general high temperature over much of Memorial Day Weekend in many locations because of the cloud cover and some occasional rain.

Another wave of rain will work north from the same parent storm on Sunday.  Like the Saturday event, the far southern portions of North Dakota (I94 and south) will have the highest potential for recording rain.  But even in locations without any rain, the cloud cover will keep temperatures down with high again mainly in the 60s.

Potential Radar Sunday, May 24, 1 PM
Potential Radar Sunday, May 24, 1 PM

On Memorial Day, yet another wave will push north, also bringing with it a threat of rain, and once again, with the highest impacts across southern North Dakota.  The clouds will hold temperatures in check in similar fashion to Saturday and Sunday.   All three “waves” will produce minimal amounts of moisture, but added up the average weekend rain looks to be under 0.25 inches in far northern North Dakota, but even in southern North Dakota the amounts look under 0.50 inches, although, there will be localized higher amounts in thunderstorms and heavier rain showers.

Even these lighter amounts will keep already wet areas wet, but considering that most of the state will not get much rain on Saturday, that will leave today and tomorrow for some additional drying.  So the weekend in a sentence, cool with periodic light rain.

Next week beyond Memorial Day continues with a pattern of hit and miss precipitation events generally driven by weak instability associated with afternoon heating with the stronger late May sun angle.  No big storms, widespread events foreseen through the end of the month, but more small scale, localized events.  With many days cloudy or partly cloudy in the next week plus, likely it would be of no surprise that temperatures will average near or below average most days over the rest of the month of May.  Departure from average from Saturday, May 23, through Sunday, May 31 appears to be in the 1 to 3 degree below average range.

Daryl Ritchison