Storm Clouds Over Lake Carlos
"Expect storms, possibly severe, to sweep through Minnesota tonight." That was the forecast for the evening of July 5 when, on our way from central Ohio to attend a family wedding in Manitoba, Canada, we stopped to camp overnight at Lake Carlos State Park in west-central Minnesota. From our wooded campsite on the north end of the lake, we could hear thunderstorms in the distance, but they seemed to be missing the park. Under thick clouds, dark settled in early. We had given up on watching the sunset, then just before 7:00 PM we saw sunlight through trees to the northwest. We jumped in the car and headed around the lake, hoping to find an opening on the eastern shore. A public fishing access ramp provided a clear view of the sun setting beneath turbulent clouds trailing a rain squall to the southwest.
Of course the sun ultimately provides the energy that drives heavy weather—and the hydrologic cycle more generally. The storm on July 5 was not one of the "1,000-year storms" that hit southern Minnesota in 2004, 2007, and 2010, but according to a recent story by Minnesota Public Radio, climate change will mean more big storms for the state (Climate Change in Minnesota: More heat, more big storms | Minnesota Public Radio News).
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