Searching for Spring
I feel a little like those cheesy internet ads these days.
"Try this one weird trick for warmer weather!"
Yes, like many Minnesotans I'm a searcher these days. I'm scanning the weather maps for any fleeting sign of milder temps, and there is hope.
It was (still is?) a "real winter" this year. Not our coldest, but with temps +1.0F vs. average for meteorological winter in Minnesota that's close enough for "cold weather" respect in most of the world.
Not a harsh winter? Tell that to the folks in Rochester and Albert Lea who woke up to a fresh 7" to 8" of snow today...on March 11th.
76.9" of snow at International Falls this winter? Almost bring backs memories of the "Die Hard" winters of the 1970s.
My weather ramblings today include counting inches from another (Monday morning) snow shot for southeast Minnesota that grazed the SE metro, and looking ahead to a hopeful forecast that may bring some much needed 40s to Minnesota late this week.
Another Snow Shot:
This time southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin hit the snow jackpot.
If you are planning travel south on I-35, Highway 52 or east on I-94 expect to run into remnant snows today.
Overnight a potent little storm dumped a band of up to 6"+ from Albert Lea through Rochester, Winona, Red Wing to Menomonie & Eau Claire & Black River Falls.
Here are some selected preliminary snowfall totals:
Minnesota Lake 6"
Albert Lea 8"
Looks like the La Crosse NWS pretty much nailed the forecast call, with the exception that the system just grazed the southeast Metro with 1" to 3" of snow...and not the downtown areas.
Stark reminder that March is our 3rd snowiest of the year in Minnesota.
It snowed even harder in northwest Iowa this weekend. Check out the map from the Des Moines NWS.
More snow to melt...and run into the Mississippi watershed this spring.
Snow gradually fades today from Eau Claire to Rochester as the system slides east into Wisconsin.
Skies should brighten a bit in the metro this afternoon, while northwest half of Minnesota should enjoy some cool March sunshine.
March so far: Cool & wet
March in Minnesota is running cool & wet.
Some numbers for MSP Airport:
-1.7F March temps vs. average so far
1.37" March precip so far (263% of average)
9.3" March snowfall so far
10.3" Average total March snowfall (3rd snowiest month of the year at MSP)
44.8" Season snowfall so far (-1.0" vs. average to date)
Rays of hope: Milder days ahead?
This time of year we can all use some good weather news. Here are some positive trends.
-We did not need to shovel Saturday's rain of .61" in the metro!
-Mild weekend temps & rain reduced snow cover at MSP by 5" (11" Friday to 6" Sunday)
-There is no major snow in the forecast for MSP
-Temps will moderate by Thursday, and should reach 40F by Friday & Saturday
-The average high reaches 40F at MSP Wednesday of this week
-Astronomical Spring begins next Wednesday! (March 20th at 6:02 am)
The weather pattern will mellow by Thursday & Friday of this week. The GFS is cranking out some low 40s starting on Friday. Lets hope it verifies.
I don't see any 70s ahead like last March...but noticeably milder days are on the way later this week. This time of year it's common for the models to suddenly shift into a much warmer patter on a dime.
Hang in there folks!
Posted at 5:25 PM on March 11, 2013
by Paul Huttner
Silver Linings Weatherbook
We're searching for "silver linings" these days in Minnesota.
Thankfully, there are a few in the forecast, and even in the stubborn snow cover outside the window.
You're not alone if this March seems like unusually cruel and inhumane punishment so far.
Did last year's warmest March on record spoil us? It was a freak event,and we're running 17 degrees cooler so far this March when compared to last year.
In this Updraft we'll look at how we compare so far this March, what recent snows and rain means for spring flood risk, and track a late week warming trend.
(Insert gratuitous therapeutic summer scene here)
On pace for coolest march in 5 years?
Face it. We got spoiled last year.
66F high temp at MSP 1 year ago on March 11th
The buds on the weather lab lilacs were ready to burst last year at this time.
This year they're wrapped up tight against our wintery March breezes.
+15.5 vs. average last March at MSP (warmest March on record)
-1.7F vs. average so far this month at MSP
If we stay on this pace, it's been 5 years since we saw a March colder than this year. March 2008 finished -2.3F vs. average.
March 2012 +15.5F
March 2011 -1.2F
March 2010 +10F
March 2009 +1.6F
March 2008 -2.3F
After a winter that started mild, this March feels more like an endurance test at times.
Dodging two snowy weather bullets:
The Twin Cities bagged .61" rainfall Saturday, but missed out on two separate 6"+ snow systems this weekend.
Check out the narrow escape courtesy of the Twin Cities NWS.
Bright side: Trending sunnier & milder late this week
Many Minnesotans would like it if we could fast forward 3 days.
Our weather pattern looks noticeably sunnier and milder by Thursday.
As winds shift and blow from the south, temps will respond later this week. The latest indications are we should see temps near 40F by Thursday & Friday.
The models diverge a bit after that...with the GFS holding milder temps in place, and the Euro trying to keep us a bit cooler as we head into next week. We'll need to let them work it out in the next few days.
Flood risk elevated...but still "normal" in most areas
6 weeks ago the notion of flooding on Minnesota Rivers would have seemed laughable.
But our February snow blitz has changed things.
Hydrologists at the North Central River Forecast Center have updated the flood risk from below...to near "normal" in the past few weeks on area rivers.
Spring Outlook for River Conditions - Updated March 7, 2013
Parts of the Upper Minnesota and Mississippi River basins continue to have a Normal risk for flooding. In addition parts of Southern and Eastern Minnesota as West Central Wisconsin are at risk for flooding due to Concrete Frost.
With the snowfall in February, conditions have changed from below normal with the January outlooks to a Normal Risk of Flooding with the February Outlooks for locations including
•Montevideo on the Minnesota River
•Granite Falls on the Minnesota River
•Redwood Falls o the Redwood River
•New Ulm on the cottonwood River
•Long Prairie on the Long Prairie River
•St Cloud on the Sauk River
•St Cloud in the Mississippi River
While severe to extreme drought conditions still exist still across the region, precipitation from December 2012 through the first part of March has been near normal to even above normal in some areas. Hence some regions do have a decent snow pack with water equivalents of 3 to 5 inches. The graphic below shows the amount of water in the snow pack on March 6, 2013.
The infamous "concrete frost" may still cause rapid snowmelt and spring rains to rush into rivers in southern Minnesota this spring....similar to the deluge along Highway 169 between Mankato and the metro Saturday.
The Minnesota River at Henderson jumped 4 feet since Saturday!
It's still way below flood stage, but it's a good example of what heavy rainfall on top of "concrete frost" can do to cause rivers to spike.
The bigger flood picture this spring depends largely on future temperatures, rain and snow between now and May.
May....what a concept.
Saturday learning opportunity:
Looking for something "sciencey" to do this Saturday? Here's a great option.
The 2013 Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology will feature a morning symposium that provides an overview of anthropogenic biomes of the world and Minnesota. A panel of presenters will then explore novel approaches to conservation planning, implementation, and management that are emerging to address conservation in cropland, rangeland, residential and wildland anthromes. The symposium will set the stage for others to discuss their latest work in conservation science, policy, and practice.
Conservation in the Anthropocene: Emerging Approaches for Effective Conservation in Minnesota
March 16, 2013 (9 am-5 pm) Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul, MN