Blue Sky Returns!!

From snow drifts to mudslides and back to the 70s in just a matter of days. There's no shortage of interesting weather here in Minnesota and especially in April. Today will be a pretty nice day with bright blue sky and temperatures in 50s and 60s, which will be pretyt close to average. Enjoy!


Weather Outlook Friday

Here's a look at Friday, which will be distractingly nice across much of the state. Blue sky returns with highs in the 50s and 60s, will likely entice many to flee the office early. I suspect the smell of BBQ grills will filter through most neighborhoods by dinnertime tonight.


Even Warmer Saturday

High temps on Saturday will be even warmer across much of the state with readings warming into the 50s and 70s, which will be nearly +10F to +15F above average. It appears that a few showers may impact the northern part of the state, but most will stay dry!


Weather Outlook Ahead

Here's the weather outlook through the end of the month and into the first few days of May. Temps ahead look to be fairly mild, especially this Saturday with readings topping out near 70F at MSP. Keep in mind that our average high is around 60F now, but will be 65F by the end of the month. There doesn't appear to be any major cool downs over the next couple of weeks.


Mild Weekend Ahead

The temperature anomaly as we head into the weekend looks favorable for some pretty mild temps. In fact, Saturday could be one of the warmest days of the year so far! The warmest temp at MSP so far this year is 70F set on April 8th.


"As oceans rapidly warm because of climate change, an urgent need to improve hurricane forecasts"

"Better hurricane forecasts require near-real-time, deep-ocean monitoring.  In the past two hurricane seasons, record-breaking floods have engulfed our coastal zones in the Carolinas and Texas as storms have drawn more water and grown larger from rapidly warming oceans. As the climate system continues to warm, we will need better prediction systems so we can prepare vulnerable coastal areas for bigger, wetter and faster-strengthening hurricanes. Hurricane season is just six weeks away. Recent studies confirm that warming of the world’s oceans is taking place faster than previously estimated — as much as 40 percent faster than the United Nations estimated in 2015. Research confirms that roughly 93 percent of the warming from man-made greenhouse gases is going into the world’s oceans. About two-thirds is absorbed in the ocean’s top 700 meters, noted Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth. This is the layer from which hurricanes draw much of their energy."

See more from Washington Post HERE:


"Lyrid meteor shower: All you need to know"

A few folks have been reporting shooting stars or meteors over the last few nights and that's because the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is only a few days away from peaking on Apirl 23rd!!

"The annual Lyrid meteor shower is active each year from about April 16 to 25. In 2019, the peak of this shower – which tends to come in a burst and usually lasts for less than a day – is expected to fall on the morning of April 23, under the light of a bright waning gibbous moon. Should you skip the shower? Well, maybe. But we’re already hearing from skywatchers who don’t plan to skip it, especially after the months-long meteor drought that always comes between early January and the Lyrid shower each year. There are no major meteor shower during those months, as you can see by looking at EarthSky’s meteor shower guide. So, many meteor-watchers are itching to get going, and it’s unlikely moonlight will dampen their enthusiasm. No matter where you are on Earth, the greatest number of meteors tend to fall during the few hours before dawn. Keep reading to find some tips for watching the 2019 Lyrids in moonlight."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:


"EarthSky’s 2019 meteor shower guide"

You might be interested to know that there are several metero showers during the year, but there are certainly a few more notible ones like the Perseids in mid August. Take a look at the list of meteor showers that EarthSky has compiled as they have everything you need to know about each one for the rest of 2019!!

See more from EarthSky HERE:


Easter Sunday Showers?

The weather outlook for Sunday is suggesting a slight chance for a few light showers across the southern half of the state on Sunday. It certainly won't be a washout, but it's not going to be as bright or as warm as it will be on Saturday.

Easter Sunday Showers
While rainfall amounts look fairly light across the southern half of the state, a few rain showers on Sunday could lead to a few more indoor easter egg hunts this year. Stay tuned.


April Precipitation

It's been a pretty wet start to the month of April thus far, in fact, most locations in the southern half of the state are at least 1" above average. MSP has accumulated 3.32" of liquid, which is near 2" above average! Also note that MSP has seen 9.8" of snow this month, which is tied for the 10th snowiest April on record!


Snow Depth

Here's the latest snow depth across the region, which really doesn't show much left after our big snow storm from late last week. There is still 14" on the ground in Marquette, MI but there is officially no snow on the ground in the Twin Cities after last weeks 9.8".


10th Snowiest April on Record at MSP So Far...

Our April 10-12 snow event accumulated 9.8" of snow at the MSP Airport, which not only made it the 5th largest April snow event on record, but it also pushed us into the 10th snowiest April on record spot! Note that MSP only averages 2.4" of snow in April, so we are wewll above average!


April 2019 Snowfall So Far...

Thanks to our latest April snow storm, areas of heavy snow fell across the region. Note that some of the heaviest fell across parts of South Dakota, Central MN (including the Twin Cities) and into northern Wisconsin. Quite a few locations have seen double digits tallies, which is well above average!

Snowfall Season To Date
WOW - What a snow season it has been! Despite a fairly lackluster start to the winter season, we sure made up for it in a hurry during the 2nd half of winter and so far this spring. With that said, MSP has now seen 77.1" of snow, which makes it the 11th snowiest season on record!
Signs of Spring!!

Here's a neat map from Journey North, which shows the migration of one of our most beloved summer feathered friends, the hummingbird! It's amazing to think that they migrate across the Gulf of Mexico to make it all the way home. According to the map below, they are getting close!! you can see fairly widespread reports across the southern half of the US, but they're still a bit spotty closer to the Great Lakes and the Upper Midwest.

See more from Journey North HERE:

More Signs of Spring from the MNDNR
This time of the year can be a little dank and dreary at times, but we're not too far away from several signs of life returning to a backyard near you! There's a phenology reporting locating in Maplewood, just north of St. Paul and they record things like the first red-winged blackbird to the first dandelion and even when the lilacs bloom. This phenology location recorded the first "conk-la-ree" from a red-winged blackbird on March 20th this year, which was a few days later than average. By the way, the average bloom date of lilacs in the Twin Cities is typically around May 10th. Last year, lilacs didn't bloom until mid May.
"The songs of the first red-winged blackbirds of the season were heard in north Maplewood on Wednesday, March 20, six days later than the median date of March 14, and on the first day of Spring! Phenology which is derived from the Greek word phaino meaning to show or appear, is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events that are influenced by environmental changes, especially seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation driven by weather and climate. The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN)  collects phenological data from across the United States. Also track the progress of The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds  as they migrate north. Here is some recent spring phenology for a site in Maplewood just north of St. Paul."

"Phenology Report: April 16, 2019"
Here's the latest Phenology from John Latimer who hails out of Grand Rapids, MN. He shares his latest findings on what is springing up across parts of central/northern MN. 

"Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Every Tuesday morning, our resident Phenologist John Latimer gathers his phenological data and reports his findings in the weekly Phenology Report. In this week's report, John compares what he's seeing this year to past year's data collection. Among the wildlife activity he's documented so far this year, John has witnessed buffleheads, hooded mergansers, and flickers."

Listen to the full report from KAXE HERE:


"Thunderstorms kicked a wall of pollen into the air. A drone captured these images of the yellow haze."

"Congratulations! You now own a yellow car! If Mother Nature has been making your life a nose-running misery for the past few weeks, you’re not alone. Forget the amber waves of grain. We’re talking amber waves of pollen. That’s exactly what Jeremy Gilchrist captured Monday on drone footage above Durham, N.C. “I noticed the green haze just after lunch so I decided to put the drone up,” Gilchrist told the Capital Weather Gang. “I also used it to chase the storms when they arrived later.” The images shot shortly after noon, including the one above, look like they were taken through a yellow filter — but they weren’t. Instead, a golden haze has descended on the city. From above, it looks like a yellow smoke from distant fires smoldering at ground level. This pollen cloud is real, and it’s spectacular — unless, of course, you’re someone who likes to breathe."

See more from Washington Post HERE:


Pollen Levels on the Rise!

Have you been sneezing a little more than usual? It could be because pollen levels have been running fairly high. In fact, Friday through Monday could be a fairly sneezy stretch for folks as spring really makes a comeback to a backyard near you.

Ice Out Dates

Ice out season continues in MN and according to the MN DNR, there are a few lakes that are officially ice out across the southern half of the state including a few in the Twin Cities. In fact, Lake Calhoun went out on April 10th, which is only one day later than the average ice out on April 9th. We are still waiting for Lake Minnetonka to be ice free, which typically goes ice free on April 13th.

Average Ice Out Dates

Here's a look at average ice out dates across Minnesota. Note that most lakes around the metro go out in April, so within the next week or 2, you should see open water. However, folks closer to the international border may not see open water until the end of April or early part of May. Spring is on the way!!


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!

 Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from April 25th - May 1st looks warmer than average across much of the nation. Note that Alaska will finally be seeing below average temps after such an extended period of well above average temps.
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.

"April 15, 2019 - Spring leaf out continues to spread north. In the west, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in parts of California and Nevada, and 2-3 weeks late in much of Oregon and Washington. In the east, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in the upper Southeast, and 1-2 weeks late across the Great Plains, southern Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Spring leaf out is one week late in Chicago, IL and Cleveland, OH. Spring bloom has arrived on time to 2 weeks early in much of the South. Parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Southern Great Plains are 1-2 weeks late. Spring bloom is on time in Washington, D.C., and one week late in the Portland, OR and Seattle, WA areas."

Good Friday. Better Saturday. Showery Easter
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

From snow drifts to mudslides, we've had it all this month and it's not surprising for April. In fact, we typically average about 2.5 inches of snow and 3 thunderstorm days at the MSP Airport. Well, we've managed to pick up 9.8 inches of snow, making it the 10th snowiest April on record and we've already had thunder reported 2 days in the metro this month. Our April showers have brought snow plowers and sand bags. Go figure.

Spring fever sets in today and becomes a full blown illness as temps warm into lower 70s across the southern half of the state tomorrow. In fact, Saturday could be our warmest day of the year so far and only the second time we've hit 70 or better in a single month since last October!

One of the downsides to all of this spectacular weather? Spring allergies... AHH CHOO! According to, pollen levels will be running at high levels through the weekend.

Outdoor Easter egg hunts could be a little damp on Sunday afternoon across the southern part of the state, but at least it’s not snow. Happy Spring!

Extended Forecast

FRIDAY: Warm sun returns. Winds: WSW 5-10. High: 62.

FRIDAY NIGHTMostly clear and quiet. Winds: NNW 5. Low: 42.

SATURDAY: Warmest day of 2019 so far? Winds: SW 7-12. High: 71.

SUNDAY: A few Easter showers, mainly in southern MN. Winds: NNE 8-13. Wake-up: 49. High: 63.

MONDAY: Periods of mild sun. Not bad. Winds: ENE 5-10. Wake-up: 43. High: 62.

TUESDAY: Clouds thicken. PM showers develop. Winds: ESE 7-12. Wake-up: 40. High:58.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly cloudy. Another steady rain. Winds: NNE 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 60.

THURSDAY: Drier skies, warmer temps. Winds: WSW 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 66.

This Day in Weather History
April 19th

1928: Chilly air moves across the region with a record low of 19 at the Twin Cities.

1893: A heavy snowstorm at Bird Island would last until the 21st. 17 inches of snow would fall, with drifts 3 to 4 feet high.

1820: The first tornado ever reported in Minnesota hits the camp that would soon become Ft. Snelling. It damages the roof of a barracks, with no one injured.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 19th

Average High: 60F (Record: 87F set in 1985)
Average Low: 39F (Record: 19F set in 1928)

Record Rainfall: 1.28" set in 1871
Record Snowfall: 1.2" set in 1982

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 19th

Sunrise: 6:22am
Sunset: 8:03pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 41 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 57 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours and 56 minutes

Moon Phase for April 19th at Midnight
0.8 Day After Full "Pink" 

"6:12 a.m. CDT - The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and — among coastal tribes — the Full Fish Moon, when the shad come upstream to spawn. In 2019, this is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full moon of the spring season. The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed two days after the full moon on Sunday (April 21). This is an unusually late Easter, four days shy of the latest date that Easter can fall." 

See more from Space HERE:


What's in the Night Sky?

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

"On April 19, 2019, the moon turns full in front of the constellation Virgo the Maiden at 11:12 UTC. That is 7:12 a.m. EDT, 6:12 a.m. CDT, etc, and thus tonight’s moon might look more full for you than tomorrow night’s if you live in Earth’s Western Hemisphere. More about that shortly. In the meantime, for all of us around the world, as darkness falls on April 18, you’ll find an almost-full waxing gibbous moon close to Spica, the constellation Virgo’s one and only 1st-magnitude star. Now back to that full moon time. From some places worldwide, the moon turns full before dawn on April 19. If you live in Alaska, the western portions of Canada or the United States, Mexico or Central America, this full moon instant actually happens before (or at) dawn April 19. At North American and U.S. time zones, the moon turns full during the morning hours on April 19, at 8:12 a.m. ADT, 7:12 a.m. EDT, 6:12 a.m. CDT, 5:12 a.m. MDT, 4:12 a.m. PDT, 3:12 a.m. Alaskan Time and 1:12 a.m. Hawaiian Time. By definition, the moon is full at the instant that it’s exactly 180 degrees away from the sun in ecliptic longitude. Or another way of putting it, the sun-moon elongation equals 180 degrees at full moon. Click here to find the sun-moon elongation at this moment, keeping in mind that a positive number refers to a waxing moon and a negative number to a waning moon. Technicalities aside, however, the moon appears full to the eye for a few days. That’s because at the vicinity of full moon, the moon remains more or less opposite the sun for a day or two. From around the world, expect to see a full-looking moon lighting up the nighttime from dusk until dawn tonight (April 18) and tomorrow night (April 19)."

"Bad Tornado Season? Forecast Predicts More Twisters for Texas, 3 More States"
"Blame it on The Wizard of Oz or a frazzled Helen Hunt in Twister, but tornadoes top my list of mortal fears. As an adult, I watched a perfectly funneled tornado form over the open Colorado plains outside of Denver International Airport and promised myself I would never live in Tornado Alley. Well, Tornado Alley isn't where you might think anymore (it's moving east, but we'll get there), and I live in Austin, Texas. When I saw the new AccuWeather US tornado forecast report, I knew it was newsworthy. Here's the deal. As part of their yearly weather forecasting reports, AccuWeather released their weather observations for 2019 based on the previous year. The weather outlook predicts that there'll be 1,075 tornadoes in 2019, which is up from the 2018 prediction of 987. The report breaks down weather events by season, and the weather radar service predicts there will be 525 tornadoes from March through May, which as AccuWeather pointed out, is the normal average for those months of the year using computer models. Even better, in 2018, there were only 345 recorded tornadoes from March to May."

Average Tornadoes By State in April 
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in April really starts to go up across the southern US. Note that several states typically see nearly a dozen tornadoes, while Texas takes the cake with nearly 30. Meanwhile, Minnesota only typically sees 1 tornado during the month of April and the most active month is typically June, when Minnesota typically sees 15.
2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
Here's a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through April 16th suggests that there have been a total of 270, which is still below the 2005-2015 short term average of 363.
Severe Weather Outlook Friday
According to NOAA's SPC, there is an ENHANCED risk of severe weather in orange on Friday, which means that there is a pretty good chance of severe storms. Large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be the primarty threat in this region. 

Weather Outlook Friday
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton on Friday, which shows temps across the Plains and the Western half of the country warming to above average levels, while folks from the Great Lakes to the Lower Mississippi Valley will be running below average. If you're looking for heat, head down to Phoenix, AZ where the mercury could flirt with the century mark for the frist time this season!

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather weather outlook as we head into the weekend, which shows our lastest storm system continuing to move east with areas of showers and storms, some of which could be strong to severe with locally heavy rain. There will also be some rain and mountain snow across parts of the Northwest. 

7 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy rain across parts of the Southern Plains and east of the Mississippi River Valley. 

"Global Warming Is Already Costing the Insurance Industry Historic Amounts"
"And that's only expected to rise, says a major reinsurance company. Climate change is becoming increasingly costly, according to a new study from Swiss Re, a reinsurance company based out of Switzerland. The combined insured natural catastrophe losses for the two year period between 2017-2018 was $219 billion, the highest ever over a two-year period. The company credits man-made activities like urbanization and climate change with the higher price tag. The world's second-largest reinsurer, Swiss Re insures insurance companies around the world with offices in 25 countries. Through regular reports released under the name sigma, the company offers a lens into the changing trends of the insurance world. The report highlights what the insurance industry calls "secondary perils," of which there are two divisions— small-to-mid-sized events (like river floods or wildfire otubreaks), and secondary effects of major disasters (like hurricane-induced precipitation, or fires following an earthquake). According to Swiss Re, secondary perils don't get the attention they should from the insurance industry."

"AccuWeather's 2019 Hurricane Forecast Predicts as Many as 14 Tropical Storms This Year"
"Start making your safety plan, stat. AccuWeather released its 2019 Atlantic hurricane forecast for the upcoming season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. Based on the predictions, the United States coastlines could get slammed with as many as 14 tropical storms this year, about two to four of which are expected to become large-scale hurricanes. The widely anticipated arrival of warmer weather means longer days, more much-needed outdoor time, and...hurricanes. Yep, the official start of Atlantic hurricane season kicks off June 1, and if this year's predictions are correct, we have a handful of tropical storms on the radar. As evidenced by Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence, 2018 saw its fair share of severe weather, racking in 15 storms and eight hurricanes. To that note, according to AccuWeather forecasters, 2019 will pan out to be a "near- to slightly above-normal season," with potential for 12-14 tropical storms. Their preliminary report adds that, of that number, at least five to seven storms could have hurricane potential, and an additional two to four could develop into major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5)."

"The Top 7 Most Unreasonable Expectations About Weather Forecasts"
"If you read my essays in Forbes regularly, thank you. You probably have noticed that I've had a lot on my mind lately. Weather has been quite active in recent weeks and affected high-profile events like the Boston Marathon and Masters golf tournament. Over the course of the past weekend along, I saw breathtakingly ridiculous things said about forecasts or messaging of critical weather information. I started to reflect on my 25 years as a research meteorologist and atmospheric sciences professor. During my career, here are the 7 most unreasonable expectations that I often hear about weather forecasts. 1. Stop breaking into my TV show. This one is at the forefront of my mind because a meteorologist in Atlanta received death threats for interrupting the Masters golf tournament to warn about tornadoes. Noted ESPN journalist Mike Wilbon also tweeted his displeasure for the CBS affiliate in Washington D.C. interrupting a replay of one of Tiger Woods' moments. However, the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang summed it up perfectly,"

"The Decades-Long War on Smog"
"What history tells us about addressing today’s pressing air pollution problems. One sunny summer day in 1943, a blue-brown haze descended upon the city of Los Angeles. It smelled like bleach, made people’s eyes sting and drove almost everyone indoors. It was so bad that some residents thought they were under a chemical warfare attack. This was Los Angeles’ first episode of “photochemical” smog. In one of the great success stories of scientific activism, researchers determined the source of L.A. smog, persuaded industry that their science was right, and worked tirelessly until civic leaders took necessary regulatory action to prevent it."

"Heaviest U.S. Rains Will Happen More Often Even if Warming Targets Are Met"
"Extreme rainfall projections inform plans to increase infrastructure resilience. Record-breaking rainfall and flooding may happen more frequently across the United States even if the Paris climate targets are met, new research suggests. Extreme rainfall events that currently might have only a 1-in-500 chance of happening in any given year—dubbed “500-year” events—may be up to 50 percent more likely under 2 degrees Celsius of climate warming. And the risk of 1,000-year events may increase by twofold to fivefold. The study, published earlier this month in Geophysical Research Letters, found that the risks will likely increase the most on the East Coast, in the southern Great Plains and in the southern Rocky Mountains."

"Climate Change Made Hurricane Maria’s Heavy Rains Nearly 5 Times More Likely to Occur"
"Hurricane Maria dropped more rain on Puerto Rico than any storm to hit the island since 1956—a feat that was made more likely by nearly a factor of five due to human-caused climate change, new research says. Maria smashed into Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, as a high-end Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds. Maria’s winds, extreme rains, and storm surge did catastrophic damage estimated at $92 billion, and was America’s deadliest disaster of the past fifty years, with the official estimate of the direct-plus-indirect death toll at 2975. Hurricane Maria’s torrential rains triggered massive flash flooding and landslides, with over 80% of the island receiving at least ten inches of rain in 48 hours. Widespread near-record and record river flooding was observed across the island, and streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey showed that 53 out of 65 river gauges in Puerto Rico met or exceeded flood stage. Among these rivers, 30 exceeded major flood stage, while 13 reached or exceeded their all-time record level."
Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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