Ice Jam Along Sauk River in Waite Park Saturday Night

WOW - scary night for folks along the Sauk River near St. Cloud. An ice jam caused a significant rise in river levels, which ultimately led to an evacuation for folks eating dinner at Anton's in Waite Park.

"Roughly 44 people were rescued from Anton's Restaurant Saturday night. Co-owner Betzy Gaetz says about 7:30 p.m. the water started coming in without warning and by 8:00 p.m. there was about a foot of water inside. There was a private party in the upstairs section. One party goer tells KNSI they were given the choice to stay initially, and then management made the decision to get everyone out. Waite Park, St. Joseph and St. Cloud fire teams used their ice and water rescue equipment to remove people from the restaurant. Rescuers brought boats up to the door and ferried people out of the building. Waite Park Fire Chief Jim Aleshire says he believes an ice jam on the Sauk River is to blame. He says the ice jam was broken up by 10 minutes after 9, and the water had already receded a bit. Gaetz says the restaurant will be closed for at least a week, if not longer. She says the last time the restaurant flooded was ten years ago and they were closed for ten days."

See more from KNSI HERE:

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Current Flood Warnings

The National Weather Service has issued a number of flood warnings for rivers across the southern half of the state. Keep in mind that some locations aren't quiet yet at flood stage, but river levels are forecast to rise significantly over the next several days/weeks as the signifcant snow pack continues to melt and as the runoff enters the water systems.

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Flood Warnings Closer to Home
 
River levels across the Twin Cities metro are rising quickly and will likely be in the major flood stage as we head through the week.
 

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River Forecasts - Through April 6th
 
Here are the river forecasts through April 6th, which suggest that many gauges will be dealing with moderate and major flooding over the next couple of weeks.
 

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Mississippi River at St. Paul
 
Here is the latest river gauge (and forecast) for the Mississippi River at St. Paul. Note that as of Sunday, river levels were at moderate flood statge and rising quickly! Major flood stage is expected by Monday with levels cresting to more than 20ft mid/late week and into the weekend ahead!
 
 
Mississippi River at St. Paul - Top 8 Crest on Record This Year?
 
Take a look at some of the highest crests ever recorded along the Mississippi River at St. Paul. Note that the highest crest was back in 1965, when the river gauge recorded a height of 26.01 ft. The most recent high crest was back in 2014 when the river gauge recorded 20.13 ft. The latest river forecasts for this gauge suggests that we could top 18ft. (major flooding) by the middle part of next week, which could put this in the top 8 crests on record! Also, if we get any heavy rains withing the next couple of weeks, this could certainly push river levels even higher!
 
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"Spring Outlook: Historic, widespread flooding to continue through May"

"Above-average spring rain and snow will worsen flood conditions. Nearly two-thirds of the Lower 48 states face an elevated risk for flooding through May, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, according to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook issued today. The majority of the country is favored to experience above-average precipitation this spring, increasing the flood risk.

Portions of the United States – especially in the upper Mississippi and Missouri River basins including Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa – have already experienced record flooding this year. This early flooding was caused by rapid snow melt combined with heavy spring rain and late season snowfall in areas where soil moisture is high. In some areas, ice jams are exacerbating the flooding. Offices across the National Weather Service have been working with local communities, providing decision-support services and special briefings to emergency managers and other leaders in local, state and federal government to ensure the highest level of readiness before the flooding began.

Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding, especially in the central and southern U.S. As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread."

See more from NOAA HERE:

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Weather Outlook Monday

Temps on Monday will be a little cooler across the region with highs only warming into the 30s and 40s. Note that these readings will be nearly -5F below average.

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Temp Outlook Ahead (Twin Cities)

According to the GEFS and ECMWF Ensemble models, temps will be a little cooler at the beginning of the week. However, it looks like Wednesday could be pretty warm with highs potentially in the 60s. Models aren't quite sure what they want to do for next weekend, but according to the ECMWF, Saturday could be quite chilly with temps only warming into the 30s. 

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2019 Ice Out Dates

According to the MN DNR, we have yet to see any lakes free of winter ice. Interestingly last year, the ice was already of some of the metro lakes, including Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, which went out on March 7th and was the earliest ice outs recorded for those 2 lakes!

See more from the MN DNR HERE:

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Ice Safey Reminder

As we head into the next several weeks, ice stability is going to deteriorate rapidly! Warmer temps will weaken ice on area lakes/ponds, so please be careful! The MN DNR has ice safety reminders that you can review and remember that ice is never 100% safe!
 
 

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Winter Severity Index - 2018/2019 was a "Moderate" Winter
 
The updated numbers are in (through March 13th) and according to the MN DNR, this has been a "moderate" winter so far, but it's important to note that we are only 3 points away from this being a "severe" winter. Are you interested in how winters are calculated? Well, the MN DNR has some info below:
 
"The Twin Cities Snow and Cold Index (SCI) is an attempt to weigh the relative severity of winter when compared with winters of the past. The SCI assigns single points for daily counts of maximum temperatures 10 degrees F or colder, and daily minimums of 0 degrees F or colder. If the minimum temperature drops to -20 degrees or colder greater, eight points are attributed to that day. Snowfall totals of one inch or greater in a day receive one point. Four-inch snowfalls generate four points for the day, an eight-inch snowfall receives a whopping 16 points. To quantify the duration of winter, one point is tallied for every day with a snow depth of 12 inches or greater.
 
"All current measurements are at the Twin Cities International Airport. As of March 13, 2019 the SCI for the 2018-19 winter is at 146 points: 63 points for cold, 83 points for snow. This is enough for 2018-19 to be categorized as a "moderate" winter. This winter is only 3 points away from being a "severe winter." The SCI for the winter of 2017-18 finished with 111 points, enough for 2017-18 to be categorized as a "moderate" winter and higher than the long term medium of 89 points. The total SCI points for the 2017-2018 winter were 43 for cold and 68 for snow: 111 points. The SCI for the winter of 2013-14 in Twin Cities was 207 points, or in the high end of the "severe winter" category.  This was the 9th most severe winter on record based on SCI points. The lowest SCI score was the winter of 2011-2012 with 16 points. The most severe winter is 1916-1917 with 305 SCI points."
 
 

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March - 3rd Snowiest Month on Average

Just a reminder that March is our 3rd snowiest month of the year averaging 10.3" !! So far this month, we've had 10.5", so we are officially above average! Note that the snowiest March in recorded history was 40.0" set in 1951. Looking ahead, I don't think we have to worry about any more snow records as temps look to gradually warm into the 40s, 50s and possibly even 60s through the 2nd half of the month!


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March Precipitation So Far...
 
March came in like a lion with areas of heavy snow and rain. Through the first half of the month, the Twin Cities has picked up nearly 2" of liquid, while folks in the southwestern part of the state have seen nearly 3" to 4" of liquid! With that said, most locations across the state are dealing with above average precipitation through the first 3 weeks of March.
 
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Wet Start to 2019 So Far...
 
Not only has it been a wet start to March, but it's been a wet start to 2019 as well. Note that some locations in the southern half of the state have seen more than 5" of liquid, including the Twin Cities! With that said, most locations are nearly 1" to 2" above average for the year thus far, with some in southern MN more than 3" above average. Sioux Falls, SD on the other hand is nearly 3.5" above average!
 
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Seasonal Snowfall

Well, thanks to a very active February and early half of March, our seasonal snowfall tallies are sitting at some pretty impressive tallies. Keep in mind that prior to February 5th, the Twin Cities was nearly 18" below average snowfall this season. The weather pattern quickly turned and within a 34 day period, the Twin Cities saw nearly 50" of snow! 39" of record snow fell at the MSP Airport in February, and we've already had 10.4" of snow through the first half of March. Here's an interesting stat, from February 5th to March 10th, the Twin Cities had 49.3" of snow, which is the 20th snowiest 34 day stretch in MSP history! At any rate, most reporting station around the region are in double digits reading above average snowfall for the season so far! The Twin Cities is nearly 20" above average, while Eau Claire, WI is nearly 46" above average - unreal! Note that the Twin Cities has seen 67.3" of snow so far this season, which the 22nd snowiest season on record.

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22nd Snowiest Season on Record at MSP
 
67.3" of snow has fallen this season at the MSP Airport, which is the 22nd snowiest season on record! Note that the snowiest season was during the 1983-1984 when 98.6" of snow fell!
 
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Latest Snow Depth
 
Here's the latest snow depth from across the region. Keep in mind that on Sunday, March 10th, the Twin Cities still had 19" of snow on the ground and nearly 2 weeks later, that number has dwindled to just a trace! However, folks in parts of northern Minnesota still have nearly 1 to 1.5 feet of snow on the ground! There is still going to be a lot of snow melt, which will help to create more river flooding across the state.
 
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Quiet Start to Week

Here's the weather outlook through the first half of the week, which actually looks pretty quiet. An area of high pressure will slide through the region, which will help to keep skies clear both Monday and Tuesday. Significant warming will take place on Wednesday with highs in the 60s for the first time since October 22nd


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Temperature Anomalies

Here's a look at the temperature anomaly aross North America on Sunday, which showed mostly warmer than average conditions across the the Lower 48. However, note how warm it was in Alaska!

 

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Temperature Outlook
 
Here's the temperature anomaly as we head through the first half of the week. Note that temps may be a little cooler to start on Monday, but we're going to have some significant warming by Wednesday. In fact, temps will likely get into the 60s across much of the southern half of the state and there's a potential that a few low 70s could pop up as well!
 

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Temperature Outlook
 
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from April 1st - 7th suggests cooler than average temps lingering across parts of the Central US. However, it'll be warmer than average along the East Coast and the West Coast.
 
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Spring Leaf Anomaly
 
Here's an interesting map for folks that are looking forward to spring. It's the NPN Spring Leaf Anomaly map, which shows that spring has indeed sprung across the southern tier of the nation. The red colors indicate that spring leaves are actually emerging earlier than average in those areas, while blue colors indicate that we're a little behind average in other spots.

"March 18, 2019 - Spring leaf out is spreading north through Southwest, Southeast, and mid-Atlantic states. Spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in parts of the Southeast and California and 2-3 weeks late in parts of Washington and Oregon and the Southern Great Plains. Spring is one week late in St. Louis and four days late in Washington DC. Spring bloom has arrived on time to 2 weeks early in much of the South. Jackson, MS is 10 days early. Parts of Arizona and California are 1-2 weeks late."

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First 60F of Spring Possible on Wednesday
By Paul Douglas
 
I have it on good authority that when the mercury reaches 60 degrees, some residents of Miami Beach don their furs. Folks in Scottsdale turn on heated car seats. 60F in L.A. requires a sturdy windbreaker.
 
When the temperature hits 60F in Minnesota - in March - the party moves outside. Grilling, while decked out in shorts and sunglasses? Yes please. Such will be the case Wednesday, as the mercury tops 60 for the first time since October 22, 2018.
 
MSP International has lost 19 inches of snow cover in a little less than 2 weeks, but there are piles of snow in the suburbs that may still be there in May.
 
Expect blue sky today, with a mercifully-dry week. After peaking above 60F Wednesday, temperatures hold near 50F for Thursday's Twins Home Opener, still a far cry better than a first-pitch temperature of 38F last year.
 
ECMWF keeps the heaviest rain/snow just south of Minnesota Friday and Saturday, followed by chilly air next weekend.
 
More nights below 32F and storms detouring south may help us avoid a worst-case flood scenario in April and May.
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Extended Forecast

MONDAY: Cool sunshine. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 44.

MONDAY NIGHT: Clear and quiet. Winds: NNE 5. Low: 28.

TUESDAY: Sunny and milder. Winds: S 10-15. High: 56.

WEDNESDAY: Fading sunshine. Feeling feverish. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 62.

THURSDAY: Cloudy and cooler. Stray sprinkle? Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 45. High: 52.

FRIDAY: Light mix possible in far southern MN. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 35. High: 42.

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler. Winds. N 10-20. Wake-up: 28. High: 40.

SUNDAY: More sunshine. Feeling better. Winds: W 7-12. High: 45.
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This Day in Weather History
March 25th

2007: Record warmth stretches from southern Minnesota to western Wisconsin with 72 at Owatonna, 77 at Menomonie, WI, and 80 at Eau Claire, WI.

1981: An F2 tornado hits Morrison county and does $25,000 worth of damage.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
March 25th

Average High: 46F (Record: 78F set in 1939)
Average Low: 28F (Record: -5F set in 1940)

Record Rainfall: 0.51" set in 1995
Record Snowfall: 3.6" set in 1996
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
March 25th

Sunrise: 7:07am
Sunset: 7:31pm

Hours of Daylight: ~12 hours & 25 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 8 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~3 hours and 41 minutes
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Moon Phase for March 25th at Midnight
1.9 Days Before Last Moon

See more from Space HERE:

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What's in the Night Sky?

According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"These next several mornings – March 26-29, 2019 – look for the waning moon passing by Jupiter and then Saturn in the early morning sky. You’ll look south from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, and north from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere. If you do go outside and look before sunup, you can’t miss Jupiter and the moon. Jupiter, the king planet in our solar system, ranks as the 4th-brightest celestial object in all the heavens, after the sun, moon and planet Venus.outshines. It outshines Saturn by 13 times. Still, Saturn isn’t too shabby either, when it comes to brightness. It shines as brightly as a 1st-magnitude star, that is, as brightly as the brightest stars visible in Earth’s sky. You’ll also want to look for Saturn along the ecliptic, or path traveled by the sun and moon across our sky. Meanwhile, there’s also an even-brighter planet visible before sunup, too, not shown on the chart at top. Look at the chart and photo below, and watch for Venus in the east before sunup. Venus shines some 5 times more brightly than Jupiter and 65 times more brightly than Saturn."

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National High Temps Monday
 
High temps across the country on Sunday will be a little cooler across the Upper Midwest with temps running nearly -5F to -10F below average. However, temps through the Intermountain West will be running nearly +10F above average.
 
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National Weather Outlook
 
The weather outlook as we head into the last full week of March suggests somewhat active weather across parts of the Eastern US and Western US, but the Upper Midwest looks to be pretty quiet.
 
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7 Day Precipitation Forecast
 
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy precipitation across the northern half of California, while areas of the Central US could also see pockets of heavier precipitation as we head through the week ahead.
 

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"Climate change is taking a toll on the $20 billion winter sports industry — and swanky ski homes could lose value"
 

"Skiers in the western U.S. are enjoying one of the best seasons in years. But experts warn that years like this are quickly becoming the exception, not the rule. Snow sport seasons are getting shorter, due to warmer temperatures. That is already having a distinguishable financial impact on residential and resort properties that profit from snow. Vail Resorts, the largest player in the U.S. ski field, reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings in its latest report but had to lower its full-year guidance because of a weak start to the season. The company's CEO, Robert Katz, attributed that "to guest concerns after two prior years of poor pre-holiday conditions."The amount of snow in the west has seen an average drop of 41 percent since the early 1980s, according to research just published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. As a result, the snow season shrunk by 34 days."

See more from CNBC HERE:


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"THIS SPRING'S PREDICTED FLOOD RISKS: AN ESSENTIAL READING LIST"

"A report from NOAA warns that two-thirds of the lower 48 states are expected to face increased precipitation and flood risk through May. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its Spring Outlook on Thursday, warning that two-thirds of the lower 48 states are expected to face increased precipitation and flood risk through May. This report comes as some areas of the Midwest are already experiencing historic and catastrophic levels of flooding due to a combination of factors, including late season snowfall, heavy rain, rapid snowmelt, high soil moisture, and ice jams. In the upper Mississippi and Red River of the North basins, spring precipitation is already up to 200 percent higher than normal, NOAA says. In Nebraska, the state at the center of the floods, it will take years to rebuild lost infrastructure and restore the state's valuable soil, Earther reports. Additional spring rain will prolong these conditions, NOAA says, making flooding threats worse and more widespread."

See more from Pacific Standard HERE:


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"Florence, Michael Retired As Hurricane Names"

"We won't have Florence and Michael​ to kick us around anymore. The now infamous hurricane names have been retired. MIAMI, FL — We won't have Florence and Michael to kick us around anymore. The National Hurricane Center in Miami announced that the now infamous hurricane names have been retired. But, it's not too soon to start bracing for Francine and Milton, which are the replacement names set to debut in the 2024 list of storm names. "Florence and Michael won't have another chance to wreak havoc in the Atlantic Basin," said officials at the National Hurricane Center in announcing the action by the World Meteorological Organization's Region IV Hurricane Committee of which NOAA is a member. Storm names are retired if they were so deadly or destructive that the future use of the name would be insensitive — otherwise names are reused on a six-year cycle. Last year Irma, Harvey, Maria and Nate were removed from the Atlantic list, according to NOAA. Florence and Michael were the only two this year."

See more from Patch HERE:


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"Giant inland sea created by the disastrous Mozambique cyclone"

"Cyclone Idai left death, destruction, and a sprawling inland sea in its wake. The powerful tropical cyclone — which struck Mozambique last Thursday as the equivalent of a Category 2 or 3 hurricane with winds of around 100 mph — has left at least 150 dead and 600,000 in need of help in the flooded nation said the EU, though the Associated Press reports over 300 fatalities as of March 21 when accounting for deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe. The cyclone's widespread flooding — in part overshadowed by simultaneous and historic flooding in the Midwest — has left behind an inundated area some 200 square miles in size (518 square kilometers), with the inland sea reaching up to 15 miles wide, according to satellite images from the European Space Agency (ESA). "

See more from Mashable HERE:


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"Heat Waves, Heavy Rain, Flooding: Report Details Dangers of Climate Change in Great Lakes Region"

"From lake-effect snowstorms to cool summertime breezes, the presence of Lake Michigan is constantly felt by Chicagoans while confronting the city’s fluctuating weather conditions. The same goes for the 34 million people who live in the basin defined by the Great Lakes, which account for a fifth of the world’s supply of surface freshwater. Spanning 750 miles from west to east, the Great Lakes are always influencing weather throughout the region. In the summer, for example, their humidity offers cloud cover and precipitation both over the lakes and inland, providing ideal growing conditions for orchards in Michigan’s fruit belt. But a new, first-of-its-kind report shows how climate change is threatening the lakes themselves, and how their transformation figures to impact weather, public health, infrastructure, wildlife and the regional economy."

See more from WTTW HERE:


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60s expected Wednesday - biggest storms detour south of Minnesota