April Snow Showers...
Yes, Tuesday was one of those days... Here we are in early April and we're still talking about significant cold and snow. Make it stop, please!
Cold Night Ahead
After a VERY chilly start to the day Wednesday, it looks like we will be down in the single digits once again early Thursday morning. In fact, we could actually see record levels of cold early Thursday morning in the Twin Cities, Eau Claire, St. Cloud, Mankato and Redwood Falls. Some may even dip into the sub-zero range with wind chills certainly sub-zero for most! BRR!!
Periods of Record Cold & More Snow
"Temperatures will continue to average 20 to 30 degrees below normal through the weekend. Some record temperatures will likely be broken. Another storm system will bring the potential for several inches of snow Sunday into Monday."
Here's the weather outlook from midday Wednesday to midday Friday, a slight chance of snow scooting through northern Minnesota on Thursday, while another, larger band of snow may develop across the central part of the country late week.
Looks More Like January!
BRR! Take a look at the temps from early Tuesday morning across Canada. Note that much of the pink colors indicated sub-zero readings with some -20s showing up just north of Minnesota in Ontario!
Minnesota Twins Home Opener Tursday, April 5th - Coldest On Record?
A sure sign of spring is when the boys of summer return to a ballpark near you. I am happy to report that your Minnesota Twins will be back in action at Target Field this Thursday, April 5th, but the sold out crowd could be in for a rude awakening with temps in the 20s! Brr!! This has the potential to become the coldest Home Opener in recorded history. Note that the coldest was on April 14th, 1962 when the mercury only reached 34F. The current forecast for Thursday is only 35F... Stay tuned.
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 March 31st, 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.
Here's the latest modeled snow depth across the state from April 3rd, which shows quite a bit of snow still on the ground across much of the state. Our latest event unfolded across the region on Monday and Tuesday and dropped quite a bit of snow across the southern half of the state.
Extended Temperature Forecast
The extended forecast through the middle part of April suggests very chilly temps as we head through the first half of the month. Highs may only warm into the 20s a few days, which is more typical of February. Keep in mind that the average high for the early part of April is in the low to mid 50s, so we are going to be WELL below average. However, it appears that temps will get back to near average (hopefully) by the middle part of the month. Hopefully the 2nd half of the month will feel more like spring. By the way, the last time the Twin Cities had a high in the 60s was on November 27th, 2017.
Cold Start to April
The early part of April has featured some 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.
Great Lakes Ice Coverage
According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 13.9% covered in ice as of April 2nd. Interestingly only 3.2% 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 3rd, NOAA's GLERL, said that 23.7% of Lake Superior was covered. Interestingly, at last time last year only 1.7% 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 3rd suggests that 29.0% 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, 10.1% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 3rd, the Twin Cities officially had 3" of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport, and at this time last year, there was no snow on the ground. Note also that last year at this time, the Sierra Nevada Range in California had a significantly greater snow pack than what is there now.
Snow Depth 2017
At this time last year, 13.3% of the nation was covered in snow.
2018 Tornadoes So Far...
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 124 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (April 2nd), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 516 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 March 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 California, the Central Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Great Basin, and the Southwest, Thu-Sun, Apr 5-Apr 8.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southern Appalachians, the Southeast, and the Southern Plains, Fri-Sat, Apr 6-Apr 7.
3.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Appalachians, the Tennessee Valley, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southern Appalachians, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Mon, Apr 9.
4.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Southern Plains, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Northern Plains, and the Ohio Valley.
5.) Flooding likely across portions of the Ohio Valley.
6.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Central Plains, the Mid-Atlantic, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Appalachians, the Northern Plains, the Tennessee Valley, the Great Lakes, the Northern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Northeast, the Southern Appalachians, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Thu-Sun, Apr 5-Apr 8.
7.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for a large portion of the eastern two-thirds of the CONUS excluding the southern tier of states, Tue-Thu, Apr 10-Apr 12.
8.) Moderate risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the north-central CONUS, Tue-Wed, Apr 10-Apr 11.
9.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of California and the Pacific Northwest, Tue-Thu, Apr 10-Apr 12.
10.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Appalachians, the Tennessee Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southern Appalachians, and the Southeast, Tue, Apr 10.
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.
Major River Flooding
According to NOAA, there were 105 river gauges in flood stage as of Monday, 6 of which where at Major flood stage! Interestingly, 2 of those are in North Dakota near Devils Lake.
MAJOR Flooding Along Trinity River at Liberty, TX
Take a look at the river gauge along the Trinity River at Liberty, TX. Thanks to all the recent heavy rain from last week, the river went into MAJOR flood stage over the weekend and could stay there through midweek.
Temperature Anomaly on Tuesday
The temperature anomaly across North America from Tuesday, showed above average temperatures across much of the Southern US Meanwhile, cooler than average temperatures across much of Canada and now across much of the northern tief of the nation. This colder air is expected to remain across much of the Central US throught the first full week of April.
The 850mb temperature anomaly from Wednesday to Friday night shows well below normal temps across much of the Central US with another round of cold air expected in the Upper Midwest later this week. Meanwhile, warmer than average temps will be found in the West & Southwest.
Weather Outlook Ahead
Weather conditions will remain quite active through the first week of April. Note the large storm system moving through the Eastern US with areas of heavy rain and strong to severe thunderstorms. This classic spring storm will also continue to pump out heavy snow on the northern side of the storm. Meanwhile, another surge of heavy Pacific moisture will begin moving into the Western US with areas of heavy rain along the Coast and high elevation snow.
Severe Threats Ahead
The storm system that will be moving through the Eastern US during middle part of the week will also be responsible continued severe weather across the East Coast on Wednesday. NOAA’s SPC has a SLIGHT risk in yellow from the Delmarva Peninsula to eastern North Carolina, while the MARGINAL risk area for the potential of strong to severe storms from New Jersey to eastern Georgia.
Severe Threat Wednesday
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation moving into the Southern US once again this week. Areas of heavy precipitation will also be possible across parts of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast. Another round of heavy precipitation will move into the Pacific Northwest with areas of snow in the high elevations.
Snowfall Potential Ahead
The GFS snowfall potential into the first full week of April suggests areas of heavy snow across parts of the northern tier of the nation. Some spots could see 6” to 12”+ over the week ahead.
Feels More Like February. No Signs of Spring
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
Ok, March is over. Let's stop the madness... Now, please! Staring at snarled MN DOT traffic maps yesterday brought me back to all the white-knuckle drives we had to endure in January and February. We shouldn't have to still be doing this in April, should we? Somebody dial up spring and fast!
I hate sounding like a Debby Downer or a Negative Nancy, but the next 7 to 10 days don't look much better. Continued cold and bouts of snow could take us into mid month before the pattern changes. Good grief.
Sure, it could be worse. Back in 2013, the Twin Cities had its 3rd snowiest April on record with 17.9 inches, and another 0.5 inches fell that May. Yea, that was a long winter. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.
Thursday's Twins Home Opener will likely be one of the coldest on record with temps in the mid/upper 30s. Dress for 20s if you're headed to the game and don't be surprised if you see a few flurries by the 7th inning stretch. Insert eye roll emoji.
Another spring storm arrives late weekend with a rain/snow mix Sunday into Monday.
WEDNESDAY: Feels like February. Winds: WNW 5. High: 28.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quite chilly. Winds: WSW 5. Low: 16.
THURSDAY: Cold Twins Opener. PM snow showers Winds: WNW 10-20. High: 37.
FRIDAY: Brisk wind. Lingering flakes? WNW 10-15. Wake-up: 16. High: 26.
SATURDAY: Chilly sunshine. Where's spring? Winds: W 5. Wake-up: 12. High: 34.
SUNDAY: Breezy. Rain/snow mix develops. Winds: ENE 10-20. Wake-up: 19. High: 38.
MONDAY: Snow tapers early. Slushy accumulations. Winds: NNW 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 37.
TUESDAY: Mix of sun and clouds. Still chilly. Winds: WNW 5. Wake-up: 17. High: 38
This Day in Weather History
1928: Severe thunderstorms rumble through east central Minnesota. 100,000 dollars damage done at Anoka.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 52F (Record: 81F set in 1921)
Average Low: 32F (Record: 5F set in 1995)
Record Rainfall: 0.77" set in 1932
Record Snowfall: 7.2" set in 1957
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~12 hours & 57 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 6 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 4 Hour 12 Minutes
Moon Phase for April 4th at Midnight
3.0 Days Before Last Quarter Moon
Temp Outlook For Wednesday
Temps on Tuesday will be a VERY chilly once again. Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities is 52F for the 4th day of the month, so we will be nearly -20F to -25F below that mark.
8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the early and even middle part of April could be quite chilly across much of the central and northern part of the nation. Meanwhile, the Southwestern US will be warmer than average.
"Six NASA Astronauts Describe the Moment in Space When "Everything Changed"
"There’s no squinting in space. Things appear small, sure. From your vantage point, 254 miles above Earth, even the colossal Kapok trees of the Amazon are reduced to a verdant swirl in a cat-eye marble. But in space, as six NASAastronauts tell Inverse, what you see isn’t necessarily what you envision. Up there, where perspective is immeasurably wide, it’s impossible to miss the forest for the trees. The astronauts — Chris Hadfield, Jerry Linenger, Nicole Stott, Mae Jemison, Leland Melvin, and Mike Massimino — have all had the rare opportunity to view our home planet from space. In doing so, all of them went through a change, not only in how they saw the planet but in their relationship to it. Some refer to that change as the “Overview Effect,” a term coined in 1987 by celebrated space writer Frank White to describe the mental shift astronauts experience when they consider the Earth as part of a larger whole. The new National Geographic series One Strange Rock, executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root of Nutopia, aims to recreate the Overview Effect for everybody else by showing, as best it can, the views that prompted those shifts."
"If You See Green Storm Clouds, Prepare for the Worst"
"You see those green, billowing storm clouds over there? Those are bad. Not because you’ll get whisked away to some annoying musical world—no, because those clouds mean that storm is particularly nasty and dangerous. It might even mean a tornado is approaching. Green clouds have long been considered a signal of a coming tornado or hail storm by the people living in Tornado Alley, a large are of the U.S. that spans northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and beyond. Traditional folk wisdom says that the ominous color of the clouds comes from all the frogs and grasshoppers the tornadoes sucked up into the sky. How ribbiting! (Crickets chirp.) But don’t worry, frog and grasshopper lovers, that’s obviously not what’s going on with these scary water vapor behemoths."
"Snapshots of the Sun"
"Solar photography has come a long way since the first daguerreotype of the Sun in 1845, writes Lauren Fuge. Humans have worshipped the Sun throughout all of recorded history and began to study it systematically as early as the 8th century BC, when the Babylonians took note of solar eclipses. But it’s difficult to observe a blazing fireball in the sky. Today, advanced imaging techniques and dedicated spacecraft have made it possible to get up close and personal with our celestial neighbour — and it all began on a spring day in 1845."
"Most Expensive Weather Disaster of 2018: a $3.9 Billion Drought in Argentina and Uruguay"
"A severe lack of rainfall during over southern South America during the summer of 2017 - 2018 has led to the worst drought in decades over portions of Argentina and Uruguay. According to insurance broker Aon Benfield, total losses are near $3.9 billion, making the drought the most expensive weather-related disaster on the planet so far in 2018--and the most expensive disaster in the history of both Argentina and Uruguay. Hardest-hit was Argentina, where the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange predicted that the drought would likely cause an economic loss of $3.4 billion. Argentina’s 2018 soybean harvest is expected to be near the record-low harvest of the drought year of 2009; both severe droughts occurred during weak La Niña events. According to EM-DAT, the international disaster database, the $3.4 billion cost of this year’s drought exceeds a $3 billion flood (2018 dollars) from October 1985 as Argentina’s most expensive disaster on record."
"A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ripped a temporary hole in Earth's upper atmosphere"
"On August 24, 2017, the charged particles of Earth's ionosphere were doing what they typically do: hanging out between 37 and 620 miles above the Earth's surface, basking in incoming ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Suddenly, and rather rudely from the ionosphere's perspective, many of these particles were blown apart as a massive shockwave swept through this layer of the atmosphere. The massive, circular shockwave — which was four times the size of the state of California — accompanied the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Taiwanese Earth observation satellite into orbit about 450 miles above the planet. "
"World’s largest solar energy project will be 100 times bigger than any other on the planet"
200 gigawatts of solar power. $200 billion. 100,000 jobs. Those are the numbers attached to the SoftBank Solar Project, which is set to become the biggest solar farm in the world thanks to a deal signed by Saudi Arabia and Japanese conglomerate company SoftBank‘s Vision Fund. The move could help Saudi Arabia, the largest oilexporter in the world, progress from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Saudis and SoftBank, signing a memorandum of understanding, are moving forward on a massive solar development that could see hundreds of gigawatts installed by 2030. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the plan earlier this week; the crown prince said, “It’s a huge step in human history. It’s bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that.”