Warm front pushes into Minnesota today!
Light snowy coating with warm front today
Sun returns late PM
Taste of Spring by Tuesday & again next weekend!
53+ degrees forecast high on the metro Tuesday
April 5th date when our average high reaches 52 degrees
2" to 8" of snow now on the ground in southern Minnesota
(most will be gone by Friday PM)
31" current snow depth near two Harbors, MN!
129 tornadoes last weekend
274 tornadoes so far this year in USA
(well ahead of last year's pace of 164 through March)
4th warmest winter on record for the Twin Cities
"Easiest" winter in 23 years looking at combined temp & snowfall data
Warm Front Ahead!
Hope you enjoyed the cold start of 16 in the metro and -15 in Ely and Cook, this may be the coldest morning we'll see in Minnesota the rest of this season!
Today may have the look and feel of winter for a while as a warm front pushes in on increasingly blustery winds, but warm air is gushing toward Minnesota for Tuesday. As the warm air pushes in, the "warm advection" will trigger a band of clouds and light snow. A snowy coating will look like winter through Midday today...but will give way to warmer temps by late afternoon as the narrow frontal zone pushes through.
Instant Spring: 50s Tuesday?
Unseasonably mild spring like air gushes into Minnesota Tuesday. The combination of an April like air mass and southerly winds should overcome our snow cover and boost temps to the 50s in southern Minnesota, and probably the metro.
A cold front will slide through Wednesday and temper the warm up with temps peaking near 40 Wednesday and Thursday. But southerly winds will return, and with little or no snow cover in southern Minnesota by Friday PM temps will again soar next weekend.
Look for highs in the 50s again by Saturday.
Yes, there are signs that next week we could see some 60 degree temps in southern Minnesota...and a stray 70 is not out of the question somewhere in southern Minnesota next week!
We'll likely see the first daffodil shoots poking out of the ground in southern Minnesota next week!
Not so fast up north!
It finally looks like winter in "Minnesnowda" today, even if it's only for a few days.
The past two weeks have brought as much as 2 feet of snow to parts of northern Minnesota, a first for this winter.
Gordon Hommes, an NWS weather observer near Two Harbors tells me he's got a full 31" of snow on the ground! That's great news for North Shore Rivers like the Knife River this spring. All that snow will melt, and the runoff will recharge the rivers up north in the next month.
Here are some snowfall totals in Minnesota the past two weeks, since March 19th.
Twin Cities Airport 6.8"
North Metro 14-16"
St. Cloud 11.1"
International Falls 19.6"
Most of Minnesota has seen more snowfall in the past two weeks than we have all "winter" long!
"Easiest Winter" in 25 years for Minnesota?
This was the 4th warmest meteorological winter (Dec-Feb) on record for the Twin Cities.
With 22.1" of snowfall this season, it's also the least snowy winter since 1986-'87 when we got just 17.4" of snowfall, the 3rd lowest winter snowfall on record.
If you combine temp and snowfall this winter, this winter was very similar to the winter of 1986-'87, which was the 7th warmest on record and the 3rd "least snowy!"
You can go all the way back to the winter of 1930-'31 to find a winter with both lower snowfall and milder temps than this year, but you would be remiss to ignore the winter of 1986-'87... 23 years ago, which was very close to what we've seen & felt in Minnesota this winter.
2012: Year of the tornado again?
There were 129 reported tornadoes in last weekend's devastating tornado outbreak.
That puts the yearly preliminary total at 274 so far according to SPC, the second most active start to a tornado season on record.
That's already well ahead of last year's pace, which turned out to be the 2nd most active tornado year on record with 1,897 tornadoes!
This looks like another active tornado season, but with a fading La Nina there is hope that the storm spawning jet stream will not remain as strong as last spring.
Minnesota had 30 tornadoes last year. Our new 30 year average is 37. Two years ago we set a record and led the nation with 113 tornadoes in Minnesota.
Enjoy the warm up this week!
50s in southern Minnesota and probably the metro Tuesday!
8 days at or above 50 degrees in the next 2 weeks?
2.96" GFS forecast precip next 16 days....all rain?
38 degrees average high for MSP Airport next weekend
60 degrees possible in southern MN Saturday?
67 degrees GFS forecast high for March 16th (a week from Friday)
+20 degrees vs. average next two weeks?
Warm spring outlook for Minnesota from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
Major League Warm Front!
Warm air is gushing into Minnesota on gusty south winds as we speak.
Temps pushed 70 degrees in western Nebraska Monday, with 60s in the Dakotas. Bank thermometers flashed 65 in Rapid City Monday afternoon!
The early (meteorological) spring warmth peak Tuesday over Minnesota. Temps should push 50+ degrees in most of southern Minnesota, with widespread 40s in the north.
A cool front brings us closer to reality Wednesday & Thursday...but not for long.
Southerly winds will blow again by Friday, and temps will begin to soar a good 15 degrees above seasonal values again.
Southerly winds, sunshine and warm temps are gong to do number on snow cover this week. One surprising factor in how quickly we lose snow cover is overnight temperatures.
Warm days in the 40s and 50s and stronger March sun eat a lot of snow during the day. But when overnight lows can stay near and above freezing, the sheer number of hours of snowmelt starts to add up.
There's an "official" 2" of snow on the ground at MSP Airport Monday. But here at the weather lab in the west metro it's more like 4" to 5" "in the woods." The north metro is still sporting 6"+ in some areas.
It may take a few days but it looks like most of the snow in metro and southern Minnesota will be history by Friday afternoon.
Saturday Temp Surge?
With most of the snow gone, strong sun and warm south winds may turbo boost temps Saturday.
50 looks like a lock again by Saturday afternoon, and I wouldn't be shocked to see some 60 degrees temps south of (and maybe in) the metro Saturday.
Sunday: "April Showers" in March?
The latest GFS is spinning up an unseasonably mild low pressure system from the Gulf of Mexico and sending it north toward Minnesota Sunday.
Most years we'd be sounding early alarm bells about another possible "Tournament weekend Snowpacolypse"...but not this year. The models are solidly indicating it will be warm enough for all rain so far with this one....not even close.
Normally we'd be looking for temps at around 5,000 feet up (850mb) to be near 0C and tracing the infamous "rain/snow line." Sunday's 850mb temps look to run between +5C and +8C, and that means all rain.
NOAA's CPC: Warm March & warm spring?
The newest outlooks from NOAA's CPC favor much above temps for Minnesota the rest of March...and probably a warmer than average spring through May!
Looking at the maps I tend to agree. I think we'll see an abundance of "green shoots" in March this year. Is it possible to see ice free lakes in southern Minnesota and lawns greening up by the end of March? Daffodils in March? I wouldn't rule it out this crazy weather year.
Speaking of ice free lakes...here's a great post from the MN Climate Working Group on just how lake ice melts this time of year.
How Lake Ice Melts
"1.In the late fall, the lake loses heat to the atmosphere, and then on a day or night when the wind is not blowing, ice forms. The ice gets thicker as long as the lake can continue to lose heat.
2.In most Januaries and Februaries, snow both reflects sunlight and insulates the lake. With a thick snow layer, the lake neither gains nor loses heat. The bottom sediment is actually heating the lake water slightly over the winter, from stored summer heat.
3.Around March, as the air warms and the sun gets more intense, the snow melts, allowing light to penetrate the ice. Because the ice acts like the glass in a greenhouse, the water beneath it begins to warm, and the ice begins to melt FROM THE BOTTOM.
4.When the ice thickness erodes to between 4 and 12 inches, it transforms into long vertical crystals called "candles." These conduct light even better, so the ice starts to look black, because it is not reflecting much sunlight.
5.Warming continues because the light energy is being transferred to the water below the ice. Meltwater fills in between the crystals, which begin breaking apart. The surface appears grayish as the ice reflects a bit more light than before.
6.The wind comes up, and breaks the surface apart. The candles will often be blown to one side of the lake, making a tinkling sound as they knock against one another, and piling up on the shore. In hours, a sparkling blue lake, once again!"
Wet & thundery too?
There are also signs our wet pattern may continue for the next few weeks. This could mean some early bouts of spring thunderstorms...and possibly even some (gulp) severe weather... in March!