Would you believe back to back days of fabulous spring like weather?
Today is the day to get out for an outdoor lunch or walk. Look for traffic jams with walkers, runners & roller bladers around area parks this evening.
Temps will push into the 60s today (Metro near 67) under bright sunny skies. Enjoy!!
Jekyll & Hyde weather week:
If this week's weather is like a roller coaster, we're at the top of the hill. Get ready to put your arms up in the air and scream as we take a dive down the hill Tuesday.
Three glorious days in a row seems too much to ask this spring, and it looks like a change in weather mood will move in Tuesday.
The next low pressure system will spin up over the Upper Midwest Tuesday & Wednesday.
The result is rain for the southern half of Minnesota, and some of it could add up to between .50" and 1"+ including areas in and near the Twin Cities.
It looks like the system may have a sharp northern edge cut off, meaning little or no rainfall to the north around Brainerd and other spots in central Minnesota.
There is some indication the atmosphere could be marginally cold enough for a few wet snowflakes to mix in late Tuesday night & Wednesday morning, but at this point I don't see much chance of anything more than a brief accumulation on grassy areas, especially north of the metro.
Weather improves again late week:
The fast moving jet stream flowing over the Upper Midwest will send another brief break in the weather toward Minnesota Thursday & Friday. Look for sunshine to return and increasingly mild weather with highs back into the (upper?) 60s Friday.
Right now, Monday, Thursday & Friday look like the best days this week for baseball practice or other outdoor activities.
Rain returns Friday night & Saturday?
The next low pressure storm (after Tuesday's system) appears headed this way Friday night into Saturday. We could see a bout of thunder late Friday night or early Saturday morning as this system approaches.
Weekned: Windy & cooler
It's early, but at this point the weekend looks windy & cooler. One of these weekends we'll time things to get two sunny mild days in a row...but probably not next weekend.
St. Louis EF-4 tornado damage surveys in:
NWS St. Louis has the latest on the devestating EF-4 tornado that blasted St. Louis Airport Friday evening.
"During the evening of Friday April 22, an intense supercell thunderstorm produced a long-track tornado which tore a path of destruction from west to east across the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. The tornado reached a maximum intensity of EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale as it tracked through the community of Bridgeton, just west of Lambert St. Louis International Airport. The total path length was 22 miles, with a width of up to 0.4 miles."
Drought, tornadoes, floods, & spring snowfall: Blame it on La Nina?
Meteorologists sometimes like to explain several events with one "big picture" answer.
This may be one of those years where we can do that.
What do massive Texas brush fires, Oklahoma drought, Iowa & Missouri tornadoes and Minnesota floods and spring snowfall have in common? The answer just may be La Nina.
All of these things have a tendency to occur in La Nina years.
The explanation from NOAA:
"Since a strong jet stream is an important ingredient for severe weather, the position of the jet stream determines the regions more likely to experience tornadoes.
Contrasting El Niño and La Niña winters, the jet stream over the United States is considerably different. During El Niño the jet stream is oriented from west to east over the northern Gulf of Mexico and northern Florida. Thus this region is most susceptible to severe weather. During La Niña the jet stream extends from the central Rockies east- northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes. Thus severe weather is likely to be further north and west during La Niña than El Niño."
More La Nina answers from NOAA here.
Ice out update: Gull Lake mostly ice free
I had a chance to visit my place on Gull Lake over the weekend, and it looks like Gull is mostly ice free. I would estimate there about 30% ice cover as of Easter Sunday, with about 70% of the lake open water.
Here are some photos.
Get the latest ice out updates here.
Judging from the traffic coming home along I-94 late Easter Sunday, many folks took the Easter weekend to open up the cabin for the first time!
Winter Severity Index 2010-'11: Moderately severe?
You probably don't need me to tell you we just lived through a moderately severe winter in Minnesota.
Believe it or not, the Minnesota DNR keeps tabs on just how "severe" the winter is when it comes to deer survival. Here are the categories for last winter up north, courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune.
Minnesota winter severity: Moderately severe
"The final Winter Severity Index numbers are in for stations across Northeastern Minnesota, and in many places, it was a "moderately severe" winter by Department of Natural Resources standards. The agency uses the readings primarily to calculate the effects of winter on deer survival.
One point is added to the WSI each day the temperature falls below zero, and another is added for each day the snow depth is greater than 15 inches.
The highest reading, 193, was at Poplar Lake along the Gunflint Trail. That was the only station that fell into the "severe winter" category, although Snowbank Lake near Ely was close at 177. Here are some other final readings: Grand Rapids, 98; International Falls, 150; Isabella, 159; Eveleth, 150; Cloquet, 112; Brimson, 149; Tower, 164.
Here's how the DNR classifies winters based on the WSI:
Mild winter -- WSI less than 100
Average winter -- WSI of 120
Moderate winter -- WSI 121-140
Moderately severe winter -- WSI 141-180
Severe winter -- WSI more than 180"
Enjoy the sunshine today!
Here comes the rain again.....
Our next weathermaker is pumping rainfall north into Minnesota. This one looks potent, and most of Minnesota south east of a Worthington to Duluth line will see a good soaking in the next 36 hours.
Let's break down the system at hand.
Low pressure is deepening and moving north. The track of the surface low through eastern Iowa, almost due north assures plenty of gulf moisture will be dragged north with the system, then wrung out over Minnesota.
Speed: Slow motion rain machine:
The system's slow motion will mean a long duration event. Most of the rain will fall Tuesday as the storm stalls over Wisconsin... but rain (and snow?) may linger in some areas Wednesday and even early Thursday before the system finally pulls east.
Cold air and slow movement will make this system an efficient rain producer. Look for the potential for an all day steady rain in much of southern Minnesota Tuesday into Tuesday night. There may be some embedded heavy rain pockets, and a clap of thunder is a possibility.
Rainfall totals should be heavy in southern Minnesota, then taper off as you move northwest. A cutting northeast wind and temps in the 40s will make it feel more like March at times.
Here are some projected rainfall totals by Wednesday evening.
Detroit Lakes to Bemidji: Light rainfall generally under .25". Little or rain north.
Twin Cities to Duluth: Generally .50" to 1" with some heavier totals in the south & east metro possible.
South & east of the metro including the I-90 corridor; Fairmont, Albert Lea, Rochester, Mankato, Owatonna Red Wing & Eau Claire:
Rainfall totals here could exceed 1" to 2"+ by late Wednesday.
Bottom line: This will be a steady soaking rain for most areas of southern Minnesota.
May begins on Sunday, so you wouldn't think we'd have to be talking about snow potential this week. Then again, this is Minnesota. We've been spoiled the past few years it seems.
It appears the atmosphere will be marginally cold enough for some wet snowflakes to mix in early Wednesday, especially north and east of the metro. Some slushy accumulations are possible, especially from Hinckley to Rice Lake and Hayward and maybe even near Duluth early Wednesday.
Better by Friday: Friday looks like the next best day after Monday's beautiful weather. Temperatures should surge onto the (upper?) 60s again. The respite may be brief with another storm rolling in Friday night & Saturday.
Twins match 2010 rainout totals in April?
We all watched happily in amazement as the Twins dodged a series of weather bullets last season at Target Field. It looks like the weather law of averages is catching up this year.
Last season featured just two games all season postponed due to weather at Target Field. It looks like we'll match (and maybe exceed) that total in April in 2011.
Friday night's Twins-Indians was game postponed. Right now I'd say there's a 90%+ chance tomorrow's Twins-Rays game is a washout. And Wednesday night looks iffy too. Thursday may be playable depending on how fast the system moves east.
That could be 3 games in April postponed due to weather at TF in 2011. Add a 4th from Yankee Stadium on April 6th and the Twins have some making up to do. Look for some doubleheaders later this year.
Did the Cardinals use a "severe weather strategy" to beat the Reds?
Thanks to my partner in weather crime (and Twins meteorologist) Craig Edwards for passing this along today.
It seems Tony LaRussa may have used incoming severe weather to pull a fast one on the Cincinnati Reds Friday night.
Check out the story from stltoday.com.
"A weather-delayed game the Cardinals ultimately won 4-2 at Busch Stadium negotiated its first turn almost 30 minutes before first pitch when the Cardinals notified the Cincinnati Reds that the game would start as scheduled despite an ominous weather forecast.
In a piece of managerial legerdemain, La Russa held back his scheduled starting pitcher Kyle McClellan; Baker allowed Edinson Volquez to warm as originally planned.
From there, the event evolved into a mix of meteorological intrigue, missed opportunities and a final four-out stand that left McClellan the winning pitcher, Mitch Boggs a successful closer and the Cardinals alone in first place for the first time since last Aug. 13.
La Russa told Miguel Batista that he would be making an unscheduled start shortly before the Cardinals notified Baker of their decision to start the game on time. Baker said afterward he was informed by the Cardinals that a window of 45-60 minutes remained after first pitch, a version also supported by the umpiring crew.
"They told us we had a window of an hour. That window turned into two minutes," said crew chief John Hirschbeck.
In this case, the window slammed on Baker's hands.
Because the home team, not the umpiring crew, controls a game's first pitch, McClellan replacement Miguel Batista served his first offering at 7:16 p.m., barely two minutes before a squall shut down proceedings after only six pitches.
Downpours, high wind and a tornado warning for downtown St. Louis froze the game for 2 hours, 10 minutes. Less than two years removed from elbow ligament replacement, Volquez never took the mound. Baker instead summoned lefthander Matt Maloney (0-1) to make his 10th major-league start in less than ideal circumstances.
"We had a few minutes [notice]," Baker said. "But that wasn't an issue. It didn't matter what Tony did. I wasn't going to have to follow what he did."
Asked whether the club contemplated delaying first pitch until dangerous weather passed, La Russa said, "The forecasts were flying fast and furious. They're just guessing. You don't know what's going to happen. But right after we announced it was starting on time -- around 7:05 -- somebody said it was raining at [Interstate] 270 and they thought it'd be here in 15 minutes. By then, it's pretty tough to back off.
"Sure enough, five minutes into the game it's raining."
When the game resumed McClellan was ready to take his turn, albeit in what surely will hold up as the season's longest relief appearance.
Asked after the game whether he believed the Cardinals operated under a different weather advisory than what he received, Baker said, "I'd say there's a pretty good chance. But, hey, it almost worked out for us."
Believe me, there will be days when the Twins will win a game because they have quality weather help in the dugout. Who knew the teams MVP could be an accurate weather forecast?