Record MSP April Snowfall!
April 2018 has been pretty impressive so far in terms of snow and cold. I feel like we had a repeat of January, don't you? Well, if you haven't heard, this has been the snowiest April in recorded history with a whopping 26.1" of snow, beating the previous snowiest April of 21.8" set in 1983. By the way, the average April snow is only 2.4".
The snow depth across the state of Minnesota is still pretty impressive considering that it is the 2nd to last week of April. However, even with all the snow we've had this month, the strong April sunshine is really doing a number on that snow pack. With temperatures expected to remains closer to if not even above average over the next several days, the snow will melt VERY fast!
2017 Ice Out Dates
Take a look at ice out dates across the state from last year. Note the darker red markers, which indicated that ice out occurred on many lakes in central and southern MN before March 18th! As of April 15th, we have no ice outs anywhere across the state this year.
Before you go testing the ice on area lakes and ponds, remember that "ICE IS NEVER 100% SAFE!" So when is ice safe? Here is an excerpt from the MN DNR regarding ice safety:
"There really is no sure answer. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, water chemistry and currents, the distribution of the load on the ice, and local climatic conditions."
Here are some general ice thickness guidelines from the MN DNR:
For new, clear ice ONLY:
Under 4" - STAY OFF
4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5" - 7" - Snowmobile or ATV
8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
12" - 15" - Medium truck
Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.
White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.
Extended Temperature Forecast
The extended forecast through May 4th & 5th warmer temps FINALLY moving in as we head through the last full week of April and into early May. Highs look to be more consistently in the 50s and 60s and possibly in the 70s as we head into May. Cross you fingers! The images below suggest the GFS (American model) and ECMWF (European model) temperature outlook. Keep in mind that the average high at the end of April in the Twin Cities is in the mid 60s.
Cold Start to April
The first half of April has featured some VERY chilly air across much of the Central US and as you can see in the image below many locations are running a good -10F to -15F (or colder) below average. Meanwhile, temps in the Southwestern US are running nearly +5F to +10F above average. When in comes to the Twin Cities, we are running -15.6F below average through the first 19 days
Great Lakes Ice Coverage
According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 5.1% covered in ice as of April 19th. Interestingly only 0.2% of the Great Lakes were covered at this time last year.
Lake Superior Ice Coverage
Here's a look at the ice coverage across Lake Superior and as of April 20th, NOAA's GLERL, said that 5.5% of Lake Superior was covered. Interestingly, at last time last year only 0.1% of the lake was covered in ice! Quite a difference from this year to last.
Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for April 20th suggests that 16.2% of the country is covered in snow, mainly across the northern tier of the nation and across the Intermountain West. At this time last year only 6.0% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 20th, the Twin Cities officially had 3" of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport in the morning, and at this time last year, there was no snow on the ground.
At this time last year, 6.0% of the nation was covered in snow.
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 257 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (April 19th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 631 tornadoes at this time in 2008; that year ended with 2,194 tornadoes, which is nearly 800 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average.
Average Tornadoes in April By State
Here's the average number of tornadoes during the month of April by state. Texas sees the most with 29, but interestingly, Minnesota averages 1 tornado in April.
3-7 Day Hazard Forecast
1.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Southeast, and the Southern Plains, Sun, Apr 22.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Southeast, the Southern Appalachians, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Central Appalachians, Mon-Tue, Apr 23-Apr 24.
3.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Northern Plains.
4.) Flooding likely across portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley and the Northern Plains.
5.) High winds across portions of the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic, Mon-Tue, Apr 23-Apr 24.
6.) Heavy precipitation across portions of the Alaska Panhandle and mainland Alaska, Sun-Tue, Apr 22-Apr 24.
7.) High winds across portions of the Alaska Panhandle and mainland Alaska, Sun, Apr 22.
8.) High winds across portions of mainland Alaska and the Aleutians, Mon-Wed, Apr 23-Apr 25.
9.) High significant wave heights for coastal portions of mainland Alaska and the Aleutians, Mon-Wed, Apr 23-Apr 25.
10.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and the Southern Plains, Sun, Apr 29.
11.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Southern Rockies, California, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest.
Temperature Anomaly on Friday
The temperature anomaly across North America from Friday, showed WELL below average temperatures across a large chunk of the Central and Eastern US.
The 850mb temperature anomaly from Saturday to Tuesday shows well below average temperatures across much of the Eastern two-thirds of the nation starting to fade a little as we head into the next few days. Meanwhile, warmer than average temperatures look to continue in the Southwestern US.
Weather Outlook Ahead
A storm system will move acorss the central and southern US and we head through the weekend with areas of heavy rain and strong to severe storms. Areas of heavy snow will wrap up early Saturday across the Central Rockies, but strong to severe storms may continue across the Southern US through the weekend.
Severe Threats Ahead
As the storm system slides east through the weekend, a few strong to severe storms can't be ruled out across the Southern US. Here are the SPC threats for Saturday and Sunday
Severe Threat Saturday
Severe Threat Sunday
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation continuing across the Southern and Southeastern US as we head through the weekend and last full week of April. Some spots could see 2" to 4" especially in the Southeast/Mid-Atlantic States.
Snowfall Potential Ahead
The GFS snowfall potential as we head into the last full week of April suggests more snow across the high elevations in the Central and Northern Rockies. However, note that there doesn't appear to be any major snow storms brewing across the Upper Midwest. Let's hope we're all done with the snow!
Lightswitch spring - First 60s of 2018 ahead!
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas
Palms to the sky today my friends! I think we've finally reached the end of the never-ending long, dark and cold winter. Hallelujah!
Hard to believe that one week ago, we were dealing with blizzard warnings and thundersnow. This April has been an anomaly, no question. Not only has it been the snowiest April on record for the Twin Cities, but it has also been the coldest start to any April on record. Ugh!
According to MLB, there have 25 weather-related postponements this month, which ties the record set in 2007 (records date back to 1986). 4 of first 10 Twins home games actually had to be postponed due to snow. Again, this has been a very rare April and I think we're all ready to get on with spring.
I am happy to report that our first 60 degree highs of 2018 are in the forecast this weekend, which would be the first since around Thanksgiving, nearly 5 months ago! I predict that many will feel feverish today with raging spring fever setting in Monday as we make a run 70 across parts of the state.
Cue the choir, we've earned it!
SATURDAY: Feverish. More melting. Winds: SSE 5. High: 58.
SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Above freezing! Winds: S 5. Low: 38.
SUNDAY: Raging spring fever. First 60s of 2018! Winds: SSW 5-10. High: 65.
MONDAY: A run at 70F? Now we're talking! Winds: SW S-10. Wake-up: 43. High: 68.
TUESDAY: April showers. Breezy afternoon winds. Winds: NNW 10-20. Wake-up: 46. High: 40.
WEDNESDAY: Sun returns. Not bad. Winds: NW 5-10.. Wake-up: 38. High: 58.
THURSDAY: PM shower? Chillier wind develops. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 38. High: 60.
FRIDAY: Still looks like spring! Winds: NW 5-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 63.
This Day in Weather History
1910: A snowstorm hits northeastern Minnesota. Duluth picks up 6.5 inches.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 61F (Record: 95F set in 1980)
Average Low: 40F (Record: 22F set in 1966)
Record Rainfall: 0.74" set in 1912
Record Snowfall: 6.6" set in 2002
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 48 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 55 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 5 Hour 1 Minute
Moon Phase for April 21st at Midnight
0.6 Days Before First Quarter Moon
Temp Outlook For Saturday
Remember last weekend? Yea, it seems like a bad dream right about now doesn't it? The Twin Cities picked up 11.1" of snow on Saturday and was under a blizzard warning for the first time since April 1983! Good grief! Well, I'm happy to report that we'll be far removed from that kind of weather this weekend as highs warm into the 50s and 60s across the state. Saturday will still be a bit cooler than average, but at least we're heading in the right direction.
According to NOAA's CPC, April 27th - May 3rd will be warmer than average across the Plains to the West Coast, while cooler than average temps may still be found across the Mid-Atlantic States. It sure is good to see that the widespread cooler than average temps aren't in the forecast anymore isn't it?
"March 2018: Earth's 5th Warmest March on Record"
"March 2018 was the planet's fifth warmest March since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday. NASA rated March 2018 as the sixth warmest March on record, with the only warmer March months being 2016, 2017, 2010, 2002, and 2015. The difference in rankings between NASA and NOAA is mostly due to how they handle data-sparse regions such as the Arctic, where few surface weather stations exist. The rankings for March were cooler than we've seen in recent years thanks to the presence of colder weather than average over much of Europe, plus the presence of cool ocean temperatures over the Eastern Pacific from a weak La Niña event. Global ocean temperatures during March 2018 were the fifth warmest on record, and global land temperatures were the seventh warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in March 2018 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the sixth or ninth warmest in the 40-year record, according to the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH) and RSS, respectively."
"The Great Barrier Reef may never recover from the devastating 2016 heat wave"
"Australia's Great Barrier Reef will never be the same following the devastating marine heat wave that hit it between 2015 and 2016, according to a new study published Wednesday. The new research found that the northern third of the reef — which as a whole, is the largest living structure on the planet — experienced a "catastrophic die-off" of fast-growing coral species, like staghorn and tabular corals. These reefs have now shifted to a new state, with a different balance of coral species than were present prior to the marine heat wave. Scientists have tied that marine heat wave itself, and the increasing prevalence and severity of them, to human-caused global warming."