Posted at 9:09 AM on May 2, 2011
by Mark Seeley
I heard from several observers this morning that Sunday, May 1st was their coldest in history. The National Weather Service put out a notice that Grand Forks tied their record for coldest daytime temperature on May 1st with a reading of only 34 degrees F. Similarly, Fosston, Thief River Falls, and Wadena reported record values of 30 degrees F yesterday, while McIntosh, MN reported a high of only 26 degrees F. These readings rival those of the previous coldest May 1st, that of 1909. Back then Park Rapids and Fort Ripley reported daytime highs of only 30 degrees F, while Stephens Mine (St Louis County) reported only 28 degrees F.
With such a start to May, 60 degrees F will feel like a spa later this week.(2 Comments)
Posted at 4:20 PM on May 2, 2011
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Winter/spring 2011
The forecast is looking better by the day for cloud weary Minnesotans.
Let's start with Tuesday. The headline "sun returns" normally wouldn't be a big deal in early May. But after the past few days, it means a lot. The sun is out in much of western and northern Minnesota late Monday.
High pressure will build in and give us 2 badly needed mostly sunny days Tuesday & Wednesday. The next (weak) weather system will bring a chance of (light) showers late Wednesday night into early Thursday.
Let's break down the forecast this week.
Tuesday: Sun returns! Not as cold with lighter winds. A nice (early-mid) spring day. High near 58. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny & milder! High near 63. Wind SE-S 10-18 mph. Chance of showers Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Thursday: AM showers, becoming partly cloudy PM. High near 63. Wind west 5-12 mph.
Friday: Mostly sunny early. High near 67. Rain possible Friday night.
Saturday: Mixed clouds & sun. High near 68.
Mother's Day: Mild with a chance of showers. High near 69.
Pattern change ahead??
I know, the models have advertised more spring like patterns before and not delivered. This one looks a little more plausible.
The GFS has been persistent in developing what meteorologist call and "Omega Block" (looks like the Greek letter Omega on the maps) starting on about May 12th, and persisting through around May 18th.
Omega Blocks are big upper air ridges that develop between two deep low pressure trofs on either side. If you're under the ridge, you usually get a prolonged period of sunny, dry, fairly mild weather in spring. Right now Minnesota is forecast (by the GFS) to be right under the high pressure ridge starting late next week.
Omega blocks often develop in transitional seasons...spring & fall. They can be a mechanism for breaking down persistent upper air patterns, and a transition to the jet stream finally (mercifully) lifting back north into Canada where it belongs this time of year.
If the pattern verifies late next week, we could see a prolonged period of sunny, dry and milder (70s?) weather lasting at least a week. That would be just what the doctor ordered to jump start our delayed spring this year.
If you're feeling a little blue, it's probably because the skies are gray.
The weather stats at MSP for April show it was an unusually gray month.
April 2011 saw only 2 totally sunny days in the metro and most of Minnesota. 28 days were either cloudy or partly cloudy. 20 of 30 days in April featured measureable (miserable?) precip too.
Here's the breakdown from Twin Cities NWS monthly climate (F-6) data.
During a typical (average) April we see about 58% of possible sunshine. This year, April sunshine at MSP Airport was about 27.4%! That's around half of the sun we would expect to see on average!
No wonder so may of us are feeling a little blue.
Shortage of 70s:
We've only reached 70 once (April 10th 76 degrees) in the metro so far in 2011! Last year we hit 70 a total of 7 times by this date. Ouch.
I remember always mowing my lawn at least once in April in Minnesota. This year, the mower is still patiently sitting under the tarp in on May 2nd.
Hang in there...brighter days are ahead!