Posted at 8:53 AM on March 29, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Rain increases from west to east in Minnesota today
.10" to .25" likely in most areas by early Friday
Warming trend kicks in Friday PM
80 by Sunday?
Rain marches east:
A low pressure system is on the move today.
Showers and a few embedded claps of thunder are moving from in from the west. Residents from Thief River Falls to Bemidji awoke to rain and some thunder today.
Look for showers to spread east into western Minnesota today, and arrive in the metro by late PM or evening.
Rainfall totals should generally be light...most areas under .25" but some lucky spots could pick up a bit more. We need every drop.
-Latest Twin Cities radar loop
Drought hangs tough:
The newest U.S.Drought Monitor released today shows drought hangs tough in Minnesota this week.
There was a very slight reduction in the total drought area in Minnesota in tha past week...from 95.99% last week to 89.91% this week.
We need a good 2" to 5" of rain in the next month to begin to climb out of this drought. Right now I don't see that happening, so we'll have to take what we can get going into the 2012 growing season.
Minnehaha Creek quiet these days:
Last year on March 29th Minnehaha Creek was roaring to life with a swift flow of 150 cubic feet per second (CFS) coming out of the Gray's Bay Dam on Lake Minnetonka.
This year the Gray's Bay Dam remains closed. Today the creek flow rate is a relative trickle at 4.7 CFS at Hiawatha Ave. in Minneapolis.
The lack of March snow melt combined with the driest fall on record have combined to keep lake and river levels low around the metro and much of Minnesota this spring.
North Shore rivers roar:
One area of Minnesota where rivers are doing better this spring is along the North Shore.
Check out the USGS stream flow on the Knife River near Two Harbors.
You can see the effect of late season snowfall and an early warm up which brought the Knife back to life.
Note how the level of the Knife started out well above the 37 year average, then drops below average and is falling at a time of year when river levels are usually rising. That's the effect of our early March warm spell.
Here's what it looked like in the upper Knife watershed about 7 miles northwest of Two Harbors a month ago! Gordon Hommes, a weather observer near Two Harbors sent me some photos showing a hefty 31" snow depth! Now most of that water is rushing down the Knife River toward Lake Superior.
Keep an eye out for showers by this evening!