A Break in the Action
By Todd Nelson
One step forward, two steps back. For every step we take toward Spring, we seemingly fall right back into Winter's arms. The long drawn out precipitation event that we had on Friday has come to an end. Our weekend weather looks fairly quiet, but it won't be the type of inviting outside weather that we endured last year. March 16th, 2012 hosted a high temperature of 79F, this year we'll be lucky to hit 30F! Just to rub it in, a friend of mine from Kansas City, MO texted me yesterday afternoon and said that it was 80F there. He had the windows open and was firing up the BBQ... I remember those days.
We ring in Spring on Wednesday as the sun's most direct rays pass over the Equator. Although the calendar will say Spring, Mother Nature will tease us with more winter-like temperatures through late next week. Prior to that, some of us could be shoveling again by Monday as another winter storm wraps up over the Upper Mississippi Valley. At this point, it appears that the heaviest snow will fall across northern Minnesota, but we all know how little snow it takes to make a commute bad. With that said, Monday could be a VERY slow beep and creep.
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY: Feeling cooler. Passing flake. High: 28. Winds: NW 10.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quite chilly. Low: 9
SUNDAY: Getting breezy by afternoon, snow develops overnight. High : 28
MONDAY: Rought AM commute. Snow lingers. Low: 22. High: 30.
TUESDAY: Feels like winter again. Low: 6. High: 22.
WEDNESDAY : Still chilly. Sun plays peek-a-boo. Low: 4. High: 24.
THURSDAY: Clouds thicken through the day. Low: 8. High: 28.
FRIDAY: Cool breeze. A few flakes? Low: 15. High: 29
Signs of Spring...
Thanks to my good friend and old college roommate, Matt Dux, for the picture below out of Kansas City, MO. To be honest, I think he was rubbing it in, but he texted me this picture just to let me know that it was in the 80s there yesterday. He also mentioned that the trees and bushes were well on their way to budding out!
Tale of Two Seasons
The national temperature map across the country on Friday looked pretty wild. While it was still cool across the far north, much of the nation was warm to hot. Also note how far north the warm air was across the mid-section of the nation.
Friday High Temperatures From Normal
This was how much above or below normal high temperatures were expected to be on Friday.
March Snow Cover 2012 vs 2013
Here's a satellite shot from above the Great Lakes Region showing the difference between the snow cover this year vs. last on March 14th. Note how much whiter it is this year!
Next Big Snow Maker?
Another big storm looks to be developing across the Upper Mississippi Valley by late weekend early next week. The overall trend on this storm has been a little farther north than previous runs. That would keep the heaviest snow across parts of North Dakota and far northern Minnesota. This is still a developing storm, so things will likely change... Stay tuned!
Thanks to my good friend and colleague, Bryan Karrick, for the picture below... must be nice! Hoping he'll bring some of that nice Hawaiian weather back with him when he returns to Minnesota! Keep the pictures coming Bryan!
From Minnesota to Hawaii, Then Hawaii to Minnesota...
Thanks to my good friend, Sarah Frakes, for the picture below who help start a Minnesota based company last year called Traveling Tap. The group they had on Friday was a bachelorette party, the bachelorette was apparently from Hawaii and was LOVING Friday's falling snow! How about that!
Spring Really Is Just Around the Corner
This Wednesday, the sun's most direct rays will pass over the Equator signifying the Vernal Equinox or the first day of Spring for the Northern Hemisphere. Day and night hours across the globe are nearly equal.
"On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night".
However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn't entirely true. In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight
The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth's axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth's axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun, like the illustration shows."
Another Sure Sign of Spring
Now here's a sure sign of Spring... green grass! Thanks to Wade Weidner for the picture below from the Target Center, home of the Minnesota Twins, whos first home game is April 1st, weather permitting of course!
Forecast Still Looks Cool and Somewhat Snowy
The images below are the temperatures a few thousand feet off the ground. This is a fairly good indication of what temperatures are like across the country. Note that even with this recent mild spell for many in the southern half of the country, extended forecasts look a bit chilly by next weekend.
Saturday, March 16th
Saturday temperatures will be cooling for those in the northeast quadrant of the nation, while temperatures in the southwest quadrant of the nation will still be quite warm, perhaps a little 'hot' side for some?
Sunday, March 24th
Look at how different it could be nationwide next weekend. A modified chunk of cool Canadian air looks to invade the eastern half of the country, while the hot weather in the Southwest looks to be squelched a bit.
Stormy Next Week?
There will be at least a couple of storm systems that we'll have to watch next week. It appears the first system will rear its head in the High Plains/Upper Mississippi Valley by late Sunday. By Tuesday, it'll be exiting the Great Lakes Region, but not before dumping some decent snow tallies for folks across the far north.
5 Day Snowfall Forecast
The extended forecast (GFS American Model) suggests that there will be decent snowfall potential for some across the far north over the next 5 days.
Another Late Week System
Extended models are also picking up on something by late next week. Mainly for those across the Deep South. However, this is the storm that will help to draw those cooler temperatures in to the Gulf Coast States.
Long Range Precipitation Forecast
NOAA's HPC 7 day precipitation forecast suggests that these storm system will have the capability of bringing several inches of precipitation to some in the eastern part of the country!
Thanks to my good friend for this amazing shot of Comet Pan-STARRS! Bill has a great eye for pictures! You can see more of his work at mnwxchaser.com HERE:
Here's another incredible shot from NASA...
"Explanation: After appearing in a popular photo opportunity with a young crescent Moon near sunset, naked-eye Comet PanSTARRS continues to rise in northern hemisphere skies. But this remarkable interplanetary perspective from March 13, finds the comet posing with our fair planet itself - as seen from the STEREO Behind spacecraft. Following in Earth's orbit, the spacecraft is nearly opposite the Sun and looks back toward the comet and Earth, with the Sun just off the left side of the frame. At the left an enormous coronal mass ejection (CME) is erupting from a solar active region. Of course, CME, comet, and planet Earth are all at different distances from the spacecraft. (The comet is closest.) The processed digital image is the difference between two consecutive frames from the spacecraft's SECCHI Heliospheric Imager, causing the strong shadowing effect for objects that move between frames. Objects that are too bright create the sharp vertical lines. The processing reveals complicated feather-like structures in Comet PanSTARRS's extensive dust tail."
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your weekend!
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