5am Earth bound CME struck Earth according to spaceweather.com
No word on intensity of Earth impacts yet
Auroras (Northern Lights) in Europe, still possible tonight in Minnesota
Snowy AM dusting & windy today!
Warm front late Friday
60 degrees possible again by Saturday?
Rain showers Sunday?
70 degrees possible late next week?
Severe outbreak possible in Minnesota around March 21st?
Solar storm in progress: Possible auroras tonight?
According to spaceweather.com the CME struck Earth around 5am Minnesota time.
There are reports of aruoras in Europe.
Timo Veijalainen Mar. 7, 2012 Sodankylä, Finland
"Last night auroras were displaying above arctic circle. There were lots of clouds during the night, but driving to east was answer to our problem. Near midnight auroras started to dance. It didnt last long, but luckily i got few images."
The next 12+ hours should tell the tale about any possible impacts. If northern lights explode, they might still favor Scandinavia and Russia which lie on the "nighttime" side of the earth.
If an aurora storm develops it may last long enough for us to see it in Minnesota tonight. The good news is skies should be mostly clear in most of Minnesota tonight. If the show goes off, we may just see it!
Blustery March Thursday!
Hang onto your hats and small pets today! A gusty west wind will peak this afternoon and tonight at speed between 20 and 40 mph in parts of Minnesota.
It will feel more like winter than spring today as temps hold in the 20s north and 30s south.
In case you're wondering, there's still plenty of snow cover up north. Check out the photo from weather observer Gordon Hommes taken last weekend after another 10" snow blitz near Two Harbors, MN.
"Hi Paul, Here are some photos from the lake-effect snowstorm that affected parts of the North Shore this weekend. These were taken Sunday morning at my house inland from Two Harbors. By that time we had received 10.5 inches of light, fluffy snow, and the snow depth was up to 31 inches.
Two Harbors 7NW"
Yep, that's 31" of snow on the ground! This is great news for North Shore rivers like the Knife River which has been running low. The extra snow melt should get rivers running nicely along the North Shore in the next two weeks.
60 by Saturday?
The next surge of warm air is already aiming at Minnesota for this weekend. A warm southwest wind should boost temps again by Saturday. With less snow cover and plenty of sun, temps should again make a run at 60 in the metro and southern Minnesota Saturday!
There are signs that a low pressure system will spin up from the south by Sunday. This should trigger some rain...yes rain showers Sunday in Minnesota.
60s and even 70s next week?
The overall upper air pattern remains favorable for early season warmth next week. 50s and 60s should rule the early week, and southern Minnesota and even the metro may bask in 60s to even 70 degrees by next Thursday & Friday!
First possible severe outbreak in sight?
One low pressure system may bring some showers to Minnesota next weekend for St. Patty's Day.
It's early to say for sure, but the GFS is hinting for several runs now that a stronger, May-like storm may wind up and aim for Minnesota around March 21st.
If a strong system like the one advertised in this morning's GFS run tracks through western Minnesota, there could be thunderstorms, and potentially some severe weather warnings on or around March 21st.
It's pretty remarkable and somewhat alarming to see our weather pattern jump from March to May in just a few days. But it seems anything goes in Minnesota weather lately.
"Expect the unprecedented."
Solar Storm Update:
Well if you think forecasting weather on Earth is tough, try predicting space weather and auroras!
Here's an update from NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center: (How do I get a job there?)
2012-03-08 22:11 UTC Geomagnetic Storm in Progress, Solar Radiation Storm Continues
"The coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with the R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout event from 0024 UTC March 7 (7:24 p.m. EST March 6) arrived at ACE at 1045 UTC today (5:45 a.m. EST March 8). So far the orientation of the magnetic field has been opposite of what is needed to cause the strongest storming. As the event progresses, that field will continue to change. Based on overall strength, the predictions for periods reaching the G3 level look justified. Additionally, the Solar Radiation Storm levels remain above the S3 (Strong) threshold at this time, but are starting to show the first signs of decay. Region 1429 remains potent and subsequent activity is certainly possible. Updates here as conditions warrant."
Bottom Line? There is still the possibility of auroras tonight over Minnesota skies. But you're going to have to battle clouds again early tonight.
There are no guarantees, but the best bet is to look north in a dark sky away from city lights if possible. If it happens it could last a few minutes, or a few hours. It all depends on the nature and duration of the storm.
Here's a video update from NOAA: Joe Kunches with NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center further explains this week's Solar Storm.
So what is spaceweather all about anyway? It's truly amazing how far we've come in monitoring and understanding solar storms in the past decade.
Robert Rutledge, a forecaster at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, discusses how NOAA monitors space weather events, models their impact on Earth, and works with commercial sectors to protect lives and property.
More from NOAA:
Strong Solar Storm Impacting Earth
A solar flare erupted from the sun on March 6, 2012. NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center continues to monitor and forecast this solar event along with potential impacts to satellites, power grids and communication and navigation systems.
"Power Grid: Weak power grid fluctuations are possible.
HF Communication: Unusable at higher latitudes in the Polar regions. Commercial airlines are avoiding Polar routes.
Satellite: Minor impact on satellite operations possible.
Aurora (Northern Lights): The Aurora Forecast from NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center depicts how far away viewers on the ground could see the Aurora."
And from NOAA's Space Weather Center Facebook page:
"A lot of details to say, there is a strong field in the cloud that has passed, but it has been opposite of what would be needed to cause strong storming. Stay tuned, this CME is not done and we may yet get the magnetic field needed to cause higher levels of geomagnetic storming."
Warming trend kicks in Friday & Saturday!
It will start to feel a bit more like spring by Friday afternoon. By Saturday, you may be shedding layers and jumping on the bike!
Winds shift into the south Friday, and a full blown onslaught of mild air pushes in again by Saturday.
Temps will push 40 in southern Minnesota Friday afternoon...and may hit 60 on Saturday. Looking at the 850mb temps (5,000 feet up) Saturday leads me to believe we have a real shot at 60 again for the metro fr the second time this week!
A system pulling up from the south should spread rain showers into Minnesota Sunday. Best timing right now looks like late afternoon and evening.
Warmest March 6th in 12 years:
If you thought Tuesday was warm in Minnesota...you're right. Check out the details from my MPR colleague and UM Climate Guru Dr. Mark Seeley in his excellent weekly Weather Talk blog post.
Topic: Warm March 6th
"March 6th was the warmest statewide in 12 years. Many observers reported
daytime temperatures 20 to 30 degrees above normal. Several locations
reached the 50s and 60s F. Among the warmest spots in the state were:
68 F at Minneota; 67 F at Preston; 66 F at Winona; 65 F at Albert Lea;
64 F at Auston, Caledonia, and La Crescent; 63 F at Rochester, Amboy,
Winnebago, and Fairmont; 62 F at Pipestone; and 60 F at MSP.
Kabetogama set a new record high with 51 degrees F, while La Crescent also
set a record high with 64 degrees F. It was probably the 2nd warmest
March 6th in history behind 2000 when a number of observers report 70 degrees
F and higher.
In addition the warm, moist southerly winds brought record setting dewpoints
for the Twin Cities, reaching 42 degrees F on March 6th and 45 degrees F
on March 7th, before cooler and drier air settled in. The warm air mass
brought plenty of fog to places as well."
Adios La Nina:
From CPC's Montly ENSO Discussion released Thursday:
"A majority of models predict ENSO-neutral conditions to return during March-May 2012 and to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2012 (Fig. 6). The rapid weakening of the negative surface and subsurface temperature anomalies during February 2012, combined with the historical tendency for La Niña to dissipate during the Northern Hemisphere spring, lends support to the return of ENSO-neutral conditions in the coming months. Therefore, La Niña is expected to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions by the end of April 2012."