Posted at 8:36 AM on March 4, 2010
by Paul Huttner
It was mighty quiet for severe storm spotters last month.
Just one tornado was reported in the U.S. in February, making it the lowest number of February tornadoes since NWS began keeping records in 1950. According to records from NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) the 3-year average for tornadoes in the USA is 78. Just two years ago, a whopping 147 tornadoes were reported in February 2008.
At 4:45pm on February 27th a lone EFO tornado touched down for 3 minutes 15 miles northeast of Taft, California. It caused no damage or injuries.
A predominantly cool weather pattern that extended into the Deep South caused the tornado drought last month. Snow cover extended all the way to the Florida Panhandle, and the cool air mass does not generally support thunderstorm development.
Twin Cities air quality takes a hit:
Our mild light wind weather pattern comes with a price this time of year; stagnant air. According to numbers from the MPCA, our Air Quality Index (AQI) has increased to 76 in the Twin Cities on Thursday morning. This is up from and AQI of 45 Monday.
While these numbers are not as bad as some of the air quality readings that occurred in February, it has prompted air quality advisories for the region.
Weather winning streak continues:
We contiune to run about 4 degrees above average for March so far in the Twin Cities and much of the region. Other than a weak weather disturbance that could bring some spotty rain or snow showers Saturday, it looks like our March weather winning streak continues.
The upper air pattern favors a jet stream in central Canada for the next 10 to 14 days. This should keep any cold polar air bottled up in northern Canada, and allow for mild high pressure to dominate the Upper Midwest well into mid March.
Posted at 4:28 PM on March 4, 2010
by Paul Huttner
We're leading charmed weather lives so far this month.
Abundant sunshine, mild temperatures and light winds make it feel like early spring in these parts. Usually in a pattern like this in early March, we'd be waiting for the other shoe to drop with a resounding thud. Looking at the medium range forecast maps these days, it looks like the other show is sitting quietly on the top shelf.
The overall weather pattern appears to be locked in a quiet mild symphony for the Upper Midwest through much of March. There is a hint at an "Ides of March" rain or snow event around the 15th. Other than that, hazy sunshine and above average temps appear to be the rule.
There are some hints that enough snow may melt in eastern Minnesota by mid month, that we could begin to see an even warmer push of air that could send temperatures int the upper 40s next week and into the 50s in about two weeks. If we can escape significant snow around the 15th, we could see a mostly snow free landscape by late month.
60s in Nebraska today:
Check out the surface temps over Nebraska and South Dakota today. Temperatures are well into the 50s and pushing 60 in some areas. The snow free landscape is soaking up spring sunshine and boosting temperatures there. Our future perhaps here in just a few short weeks.
Our mild and windless weather pattern comes with a price these days.
It could be worse:
Check out this amazing satellite image of an intense dust plume in the Middle East.
At least we don't have this to deal with in Minnesota. When you can see a dust storm from space, you know it's pretty intense.