Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Welcome to March! (and Day 1 of Meteorological Spring)

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Bears Updated: February 28, 2010 - 10:05 PM

Redneck Fishing. Is your ice house off the lake? Might be a good idea to get serious about getting it off - soon would be good.

Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

Today: Plenty of sun, feels like March out there! Winds: NW 5-10. High: 36

Tonight: Mostly clear and chilly. Low: 12

Tuesday: Blue sky, unusually light winds. High: 34

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, serious PM dripping. Low: 11. High: 35

Thursday: Lingering sun, a bit milder. Low: 13. High: 37

Friday: Sunny start, then increasing clouds. Low: 15. High: 38

Saturday: Cloudy, a little very light rain/snow - probably wet roads. Low: 20. High: 36

Sunday: Steadier, heavier rain developing. Low: 25. High: 35

Monday (March 8): A cold rain changes back to snow - slushy accumulation possible. High: 34 (falling)


Welcome to a well-earned, hard-fought March! We made it - today is not only March 1, but the kick off of "Meteorological Spring"! Say what? O.K. Here's the deal: apparently Mother Nature does not consult the calendar. If you look at what is (historically) the coldest 90 days of winter - and who among us hasn't - winter really begins close to December 1, not the 21st. And it ends closer to March 1, not the 21st of March. Yes, as far as the atmosphere is concerned spring arrives today -  the coldest days (and nights) of winter are definitely behind us now. We may still have a couple of subzero lows, although so far this winter we've enjoyed HALF as many subzero nights (15) vs. a typical winter (30). Odds are we'll see at least another 10-15" of snow, but there's a big difference between March snow and January snow. January snows tend to linger, seemingly indefinitely. When it snows in March (when the sun angle is as high in the sky as it is in early/mid October) any accumulation tends to melt rapidly, usually within a few days. March snow is - temporary. I know it's awfully hard to believe gazing out at the seemingly immovable glacier in your yard - but most of the snow you're staring out at now will be gone by the end of the month (when the average high will be close to 50 degrees).

* MSP has seen a TRACE of precipitation since February 15. For the month: 13.9" (about 2" more than average for the Twin Cities). I'm waiting for official confirmation from the MN State Climatology Office, but I'm pretty sure that February was SIGNIFICANTLY sunnier than average, based on the weather-winning-streak of sunny day we've enjoyed since mid February.

* February temperatures averaged half a degree F. cooler than normal, based on NWS data.

* March Smog? With high pressure stalled almost directly overhead and unusually light winds (and a strong inversion) man-made pollutants may collect near the ground this week - I half expect the MPCA to issue another air pollution advisory for the Twin Cities for the coming days.

* Weather in Vancouver officially receives the mud-medal, for what may be the lousiest, warmest, rainiest, foggiest weather in recent memory. It was too warm to use snow-making machines (temperatures have to be consistently below freezing for compressed air and water to turn into a snowy spray). Snow had to be trucked (and helicoptered) in from hundreds of miles away from Vancouver. Daytime highs consistently in the 40s contributed to some of the worst snow/ice conditions ever seen during a Winter Olympic event, and the outlook for Sochi, Russia four years from now for the 2014 Winter Olympics is questionable at best. Saturday's high in Sochi was 57, a morning low of 44. Ouch. Here is an interesting story on marginal Winter Olympic city venues - cities can make a lot of promises to IOC Olympic officials; the one thing they have no control over is the weather. Unlike Salt Lake City or Turin, Italy, weather in Vancouver (and Sochi) is extremely marginal for a successful event. Everything would have to go like clockwork from a meteorological standpoint. Sadly, it didn't. That said, it was still a pretty amazing spectacle - I was still hoping for a Grand Snowball Finale, a spirited snowball fight between all the nations of the world with fireworks going off overhead. Dream on...

Weather Smackdown! What the heck is a "snowicane?" Apparently the private weather service, Accu Weather, used the term to describe the most recent super-storm that dumped 1-3 feet of snow on much of New England (and the Big Apple). Of course the storm wasn't a hurricane - it was a particularly intense extra-tropical low pressure system. Hurricanes form when ocean water is warmer than 82 F and winds aloft are exceptionally light. In the case of last week's mega-storm jet stream winds aloft were howling at 100-150 mph. Anyway - the NWS got into the act, accusing Accu Weather of hyping the storm for ratings/viewers/attention. Weather hype? Perish the thought! The article at msnbc.com is here.

March Weather Factoids. Here is a day-by-day weather almanac for the Twin Cities, courtesy of the National Weather Service (which I will try to include on the first day of every new month). The average high by March 31 is 49 F. - which is hard to wrap my brain around. That means an awful lot of melting snow in the coming weeks. Hope to get a few more rides in on your sled, or some cross-country skiing? Do it this upcoming weekend, when snow conditions are still reasonably good statewide. Saturday looks like the better day to play in the snow, by Sunday there may be rain to contend with, the snow may be slushier and mushier. To click over to the March Almanac click here.

Hold the Presses - a Real Storm? I've always wanted to say that - even though it obviously makes absolutely no sense online. Here is the (GFS) prediction for 6 pm Sunday evening, an impressive storm centered over Kansas, counterclockwise winds circulating around this "low" pumping moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico. The only problem: temperatures aloft may be too warm for snow, at least over the southeastern two thirds of Minnesota. Yes, it looks like a cold rain much of Sunday and Monday morning for the Twin Cities, even St. Cloud and Brainerd. Far western and northern MN may see mostly-snow, but even there it's not a sure thing. It never is, by the way. It's still a week away, but rain may end as a couple inches of slushy snow next Monday, especially central and northern Minnesota. Stay tuned - the storm is still almost a week away - a lot can (and will) change between now and then.

Obligatory cute animal segment. Man, I'm starting to feel like a TV News Director (Lord help me). Cue the water skiing squirrels. It turns out that polar bears may be more resilient than anyone thought - there is a growing body of scientific evidence that these cute (but ferocious) creatures may have successfully survived previous bouts of wild climate change. The story is here.

 

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