60 degrees at MSP Airport Tuesday!
+24 degrees vs. average
+2.2 degrees vs. average so far in March
10th straight month warmer than average in Minnesota?
Cold front today brings falling temps
Rain and snow showers today behind the front
60s return this weekend?
Warm spring ahead?
Cold Front today!
Our April flirtation is history, at least for a couple of days.
A cold front is sliding southeast today, and temps are dropping behind the front. Look for scattered rain and snow showers as temps fall today back into the 30s in most areas by later today.
Signs of a warm (and wet) spring?
Many signs point to a warm and potentially wet spring for Minnesota. That could be just what the doctor ordered for easing the drought which developed rapidly last fall.
Here are a few of the meteorological tea leaves that point to a mild, potentially wet spring.
1) Mild March looks almost certain now.
There's every reason to believe the mild forecasts will pan out for March at this point. Looking at the maps, it's as if something is "broken" compared to what we would usually expect in March in Minnesota. The jet stream is well north into Canada, when it is usually howling overhead this time of year delivering one snow storm after another.
Tuesday's and today's above average warmth means we're already running a good +2 degrees vs. average in the metro so far in March.
The overall weather pattern for the next 16 days looks unseasonably mild. The GFS for example is cranking out temps roughly +15 degrees vs. average overall the next two weeks. Medium range forecast models may have difficulty with pinpointing individual storms a week or two out, but they're usually much better with overall temperatures trends.
It looks like March will be the 10th straight month above average in Minnesota, dating back to last June.
2) The relative lack of snow cover now in southern Minnesota, and the shrinking snow pack up north increase the odds of a warm month.
We melted 2"+ of snow Tuesday in Minnesota. All signs say the melt will resume/continue by this weekend.
Without snow, nearly all of the sun's energy goes into warming the air instead of meting snow. Any southerly winds can readily blow in warmer air from Iowa and southern Minnesota now.
That means temps can run a good 10-15 degrees warmer over bare ground than on dwindling snow covered areas.
3) Climate "drivers" favor a milder spring.
Assuming a mild March, we're 1/3 of the way toward a mild "meteorological spring."
Several factors point to odds of a milder spring than last year in Minnesota.
-Fading La Nina: Last spring featured a strong La Nina which can favor cooler spring in Minnesota. This year La Nina is fading/gone.
More red and less blue means warming Pacific ocean temps
-AO still positive: The positive phase of the Arctic Oscillation gave us a mild winter. It appears it may linger overall this spring.
-NOAA outlooks favor a warm spring for Minnesota and the eastern USA.
A warm dry spring in Minnesota would be bad news for Minnesota's drought. At least in March, jet stream pattern seem to favor higher than average rainfall, and that could mean several rainy/thundery episodes this month and potentially this spring.
The GFS is still hinting now (for several runs) at rainfall exceeding 2" for much of southern Minnesota in the next 16 days.
That would be a good start to washing snow cover and rainfall runoff into our woefully low lakes and rivers this spring.
Let's see what unfolds this spring, but tat this point...it looks like an early and warm spring in Minnesota this year!
GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: "A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning's X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME's forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras."
That's the headline on spaceweather.com for overnight into Thursday morning.
A major solar storm, pehaps the biggest in 5 years, will strike earth just after midnight Minnesota time. (+/- 7 hours)
The storm may trigger a dazzling display of northern lights!
It's also strong enough that it may disrupt power systems, GPS and other devices.
Here's a movie from the SOHO observatory of the incoming Coronal Mass Ejection (CME)
Here's the culprit, sunspot #1429:
And a close up!
More from NOAA:
Strong Solar Storm Impacting Earth
Solar Radiation and Geomagnetic Storm
Space Weather Prediction Center
"Strong (R3) Radio, (S3) Solar Radiation, and (G3) Geomagnetic storm levels will impact the Earth over the next few days.
Global Positioning System (GPS): Primarily to users with high-accuracy requirements (surveying, precision navigation, etc).
HF Communication: HF unusable at the highest latitudes (Polar Regions).
Aurora (Northern Lights): will be commonly visible in Alaska and the northernmost states of the Lower 48."
We're going to have to play hide and seek with some passing clouds tonight...but there are some breaks in the cloud deck and an overall clearing trend towards sunrise.
If you see breaks in the clouds overnight, make sure and look north for the possible aurora!
Best viewing is always away from city lights and any bright "light pollution" sources. On the south end of a park or lake is usually a good spot to look.
I'll be the guy standing in the park looking at the northern sky.
Hope you see it!