Visible Satellite on Saturday

Here's the visible satellite loop from early Saturday, which showed a fairly gray start to our weekend. It took some time, but the sun finally popped out! It actually turned out to be a pretty nice afternoon with sunshine, less wind and temperatures slightly above average. 

 
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Vernal Equinox 2017!

On Monday, March 20th at 5:29AM, the sun's most direct rays will be shining over the equator marking the beginning of spring in the northenr hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the southern hemisphere. Note that the entire globe sees around 12 hours of daylight with the greatest increase in daylight occurring near the north pole. Get this, Barrow, Alaska is gaining a little more than 9 minutes of daylight right now, while Fairbanks, Alaska is gaining nearly 7 minutes of daylight. Happy Spring!!

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Spring is Here! Start Your Seeds! Well, some of them...

Thanks my good friend Kaley Jacobson for the picture below who is about ready to start planting seeds for the 2017 summer garden! While it's a bit too early to start most seeds, some can be planted now!

Seed Planting Guide

If you're wondering when and what you can plant over the next few weeks, here a great seed planting guide from the University of Minnesota. Note that most seeds shouldn't be planted quite yet, but things like broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and peppers can be! And we're still a few weeks away from getting those tomato seeds going.

See the full list of vegetable dates and much from the UofM HERE:

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Minnesota Arboretum: Best Botanical Garden in the Country?

Well how about this... The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN is in the running for the best botanical garden in the country!! There's still time left to vote.

"Visitors to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum enjoy more than 1,200 acres of manicured gardens, woods and prairies, accessible via 12.5 miles of walkable trails and garden paths. The vast space, divided into 28 named gardens and 45 plant collections, showcases more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. Highlights include a Japanese Garden, Daylily and Chrysanthemum Walk, Kitchen Herb Garden, Maze Garden and Peony Walk." 

Check out the full list from USA TodayHERE:

(Photo courtesy of Don Olson, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Photographers Society)

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Spring Leaf Index

According to the National Phenology Network, spring has already sprung across a good chunk of the nation. In fact, much of the southern half the country is already reporting "the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow. The Spring Leaf Index is a synthetic measure of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions."

The image below is the spring leaf anomaly, which shows that spring is still running nearly nearly 2 weeks or more ahead of schedule!

See more from USA NPN Here: 

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"Assessing the Global Climate in February 2017"

The numbers are in from NOAA and the Globe had it's second warmest February, season and year to date on record! Here's an excerpt from NOAA: "The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for February 2017 was the second highest for the month of February in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880.  The December–February seasonal and year to date global temperatures were also second warmest on record."
 
 
"Selected Significant Climate Anomalies and Events for February 2017"
 
February 2017
 
The February temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.76°F above the 20th century average of 53.9°F. This was the second highest for February in the 1880–2017 record, behind 2016.

The February globally averaged land surface temperature was 3.20°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This value was also the second highest February land global temperature in the record, trailing behind 2016.

The February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.24°F above the 20th century monthly average of 60.6°F—the second highest global ocean temperature for February in the record, behind the record year 2016.

Winter Season: December 2016 to February 2017

The December–February average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.60°F above the 20th century average of 53.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the 1880–2017 record, trailing behind 2015/16.

The globally averaged land surface temperature for December–February was 2.74°F above the 20th century average of 37.8°F. This was the second highest for December–February in the record, behind 2015/16.

The December–February globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19°F above the 20th century average of 60.5°F – also the second highest for December–February in the record, behind the record set during 2015/16.

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"California Highway Patrol finds Jeep buried under 20 feet of snow"

Dude, where's my car? Oh there it is! How about this story from out of California? A snow-removal vehicale was clearing roads in the Donner Pass and slammed into a Jeep that was buried under nearly 20ft of snow! Here's an excerpt from 3NewsNow.com: California Highway Patrol officers made a surprising discovery in the Donner Pass last week. Officers found a Jeep Cherokee buried under about 20 feet of snow near the town of Truckee in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. A snow-removal vehicle was being used to clear the roads when it slammed into the abandoned Jeep. A stunning photo posted by the California Highway Patrol's Truckee division shows the vehicle's back end exposed amid a wall of snow.

See the full story from 3NewsNow.com HERE:

(Calif. Highway Patrol Truckee / Facebook)

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California Snow Comparison 2017 vs 2016

Take a look at the snow comparison from March 18th, 2016 vs March 18th, 2017. Note how much snow there is in the Sierra Nevadas this year! If you read the story above, the California Highway Patrol was reporting nearly 20ft in spots in the Donner Pass! WOW! 

California Reservoir Levels 2017 vs 2016

Reservior levels have certainly been coming up over the last several weeks/months, which is good news! Note that levels were quite a bit lower last year across much of the state, especially across southern California.

Rain in California Next Week

Here's the weather outlook from Tuesday to Thursday, which shows another round of precipitation working into the Western US with some fairly decent precipitation tallies. Note that rain will be found in the lower elevations, while areas of heavier snow may be found in the higher elevations. 
 
 
 Western Precipitation Potential
 
Here's a look at the precipitation potential through late next week, which shows another round of heavy precipitation moving through the Western US. Some spots could see as much as 3" to 6"+ of liquid.
 

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Wintry Saturday in Binghamton, NY

Parts of the Northeast have been getting some pretty wild weather as of late. Take a look at the very wintry webcam from the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, NY on Saturday afternoon. While snow was flying across parts of the Northeast this weekend, any snowfall accumulations will be fairly light and nowhere near what we had earlier last week!


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High Temperatures From Average Sunday

Here's a look at high temperatures from average on Sunday. Note that while temperatures remain a little cooler than average in the Eastern US, temperatures in the Central and Southwestern US will be well above average! Note that some locations across the Plains will be nearly 30F+ above average!

Record Warmth Continues...

With temperatures running nearly 30F+ above average across the Plains, record high temperatures may be possible there. Take a look at the 2 images below, which show the potential record highs (circled numbers) that could be set on Sunday and Monday respectively.

 


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Last Day of Winter 2017. A shot at 60 degrees?
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.

I don't know about you, but I am ready to wash my hands of what has been a pretty pitiful winter. Consistently warmer than average temperatures and a number of near misses has allowed the Twin Cities to rack up a 17 inch snowfall deficit this season. My kids are bummed and think it's my fault they didn't get to play in the snow enough this year. Sorry boys. I'll do better next year, I promise. Trust me, I'm a weatherman...

Speaking of warm, it'll feel like April on Sunday with breezy south winds and highs in the 50s. I wouldn't doubt it if a few locations in southwestern Minnesota hit 60 degrees! Not bad for the last full day of winter, I'll take it!

A storm system is still in the works later this week, but with temperatures flirting with 50 degrees, it appears that rain will be the predominate precipitation type as it blows through.

The extended forecast looks a little more active through the end of March, but with the way the things are going, I'm not sure snow is in our favor. Like I said, I already ditched the shovel.
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Extended Forecast:

SUNDAY: Mild and breezy. Few showers late. Winds: SSW 10-20. High: 57

SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Winds: NNW 10-15. Low: 36

MONDAY: Happy spring! More sun, still mild. Winds: N 5-10. High: 52

TUESDAY: Partly cloudy, cooler breeze. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 28. High: 42.

WEDNESDAY: Near average temps. Dry. Winds: SE 4-15. Wake-up: 20. High: 42.

THURSDAY: Cloudy. Steady rain develops. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 30. High: 45.

FRIDAY: Windy. Rain changes to snow late. Winds: NNW 15-25. Wake-up: 34. High: 52.

SATURDAY: Drying out. Gradual clearing. Winds: ENE 5-10. Wake-up: 34. High: 49.
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This Day in Weather History
March 19th

2012: This is the 4th day in a row that the Twin Cities reaches at least 79 degrees, and the 8th record high in a 10 day span.

1977: An energy emergency finally ends in Minnesota. It was caused by the extended cold.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
March 19th

Average High: 43F (Record: 79F set in 2012)
Average: Low: 25F (Record: -15F set in 1875)

*Record Snowfall: 8.8" set in 1943
 
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Sunrise Sunset Times For Minneapolis
March 19th

Sunrise: 7:17am
Sunset: 7:24pm

*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes & 9 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Winter Solstice (December 21st): ~3 hours & 21 minutes

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Moon Phase for March 19th at Midnight
0.4 Days Before Last Quarter

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Weather Outlook For Sunday

High temperatures across the region on Sunday will be very warm! In fact, temperatures across Minnesota will be running nearly 10F to 20F above average with highs in the 50s across much of the state and even a shot at 60F across parts of southwestern MN! There will definitely be a hint of April in the air on Sunday.

Weather Outlook For Sunday

Mild temperatures will come by way of stronger winds on Sunday. Unfortunately, a strong southerly wind will be sustained at 10-15mph with gust to 25mph-30mph at times. Hold onto your hat!

 
 Weather Outlook For Sunday

Sunday's warm and breezy weather will come ahead of a cool front that will push through the region late in the day. A few light rain showers could pop up across northern Minnesota as the front slides through.

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Late Week Storm System
 
Weather conditions through the rest of the weekend and early next week look fairly quiet, but a storm system is looming late next week. Here's a quick glimpse of what weather conditions could be like Thursday through Friday and note that the primary precipitation type appears to be rain!
 
 
Extended Temperature Outlook for Minneapolis

Here's the temperature outlook through March 27th, which shows warmer temperatures with us now over the next few days. There may be a bit of a cool down by the middle part of next week, but overall, temperatures look milder than we have been.


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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests equal chances of above and below normal temperatures from March 28th - April 1st with warmer than average temperatures settling in across Midwest once again.


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Temperature Outlook

Here's the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook, which takes us through of March. Note that warmer than average temperatures look to settle in from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast States. Lingering cooler than avg. temps hang on across the Northern New England States and in California.

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 National Weather Outlook

Here's the national weather outlook through early next, which shows wintry moisture moving through the Northeast on Sunday with some minor snow accumulations possible. The Western US will be a little more active over the next few days with several inches of liquid precipitation possible through next week.

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5 Day Precipitation Forecast

According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation forecast suggests widespread 3" to 6"+ precipitation amounts across parts of the Western US with some of the heaviest tallies in the higher elevations. There also appears to be some 1"+ tallies across the Central US.


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Snowfall Potential

Here's the snowfall potential over the next several days, which shows some accumulations across parts of the Northeast and in the Western mountains, but there doesn't appear to be any major snow event unfolding across the Lower 48. The heaviest appears to be farther north in Canada.

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NOAA 2017 Spring Flood Outlook

On Thursday, March 16th, NOAA released their 2017 Spring Flood Risk and it showed major flood concerns across parts of North Dakota. Here's an excerpt from NOAA: "Northern North Dakota – the Souris River, Devils Lake and the northernmost reaches of the Red River – has the greatest risk of major flooding this spring, while moderate flooding is possible over southern Idaho in the Snake River basin, according to NOAA’s Spring Outlook released today. California, which saw extensive flooding in February, is susceptible to additional flooding from possible storms through the remainder of the wet season and later, from snowmelt."

See more from NOAA HERE:


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Flood Concerns Continue in the Northwest

A number of flood concerns have been posted across the Northwest do to the combination of snow melt and rainfall. A number of rivers, streams and creeks will be elevated over the next several days due to the weather conditions there.

River Flooding Concerns

According to NOAA's NWS, there are currently 20 river guages that are currently in flood stage and the extended forecast suggesting that 26 river guages will be in flood stage through the end of next week.

NOAA: Current River Gauges in Flood Stage
NOAA: Forecast For River Gauges that will be in Flood Stage Through Friday, March 24th
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"What happens when 2 photographers get engaged under the northern lights? This!"
 
"What's the secret to an engagement photo that makes women swoon and men curse the fact that they'll never be able be able to top it? Dale Sharpe, 34, and Karlie Russell, 29, make it look easy — but it took a lot more than meets the eye to get this stunning shot."
 
 

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"Mount Etna: BBC crew caught up in volcano blast"

"A BBC team and a number of tourists have suffered minor injuries after being caught up in an incident on the erupting volcano Mount Etna in Sicily. "Many injured - some head injuries, burns, cuts and bruises," tweeted BBC science reporter Rebecca Morelle. Lava flow mixed with steam had caused a huge explosion, which pelted the group with boiling rocks and steam, she said. About eight people had been injured, with some evacuated from the mountain by rescue teams, she added."

See the video from BBC HERE:

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"Climate shaped the human nose, researchers say"
 
"Variations in nose shape developed as a result of natural selection in response to different climates, new study suggests. Researchers say their findings back up the theory that wider nostrils developed in populations living in warm, humid conditions, while populations living in high latitudes, such as northern Europe, developed narrower nostrils as an adaptation to the chilly, dry conditions. “People have thought for a long time the difference in nose shape among humans across the world may have arisen as a result of natural selection because of climate,” said Arslan Zaidi, co-author of the study from Pennsylvania State University. But while previous studies were based on measurements from human skulls, he says, the new study looked at nose shape itself."
 
 
(The study indicates that nostril width is linked to temperature and absolute humidity. Photograph: Jay L. Clendenin/Getty Images)
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"How Climate Change Threatens Your Breakfast"

"Maple syrup season came early this year, with warm days prompting sap to run as early as January in some parts of the country. As the climate warms, this scenario is predicted to play out more often. Indeed, in New York and New England, the sap run season starts about eight days earlier than it did 50 years ago. The unpredictable weather typical of early spring can also cut sugaring season short. And as it turns out, other side effects of climate change, such as more pests or drought, could stress sugar maples too much—and when that happens, they produce defensive chemicals in bitter, unpalatable quantities."

See more from ScienceFriday.com HERE:

(Image credit: ScienceFriday via Shutterstock)


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"The More Climate Skeptics There Are, the Fewer Climate Entrepreneurs"
 
"According to an October 2016 Pew poll, only about half of Americans believe that climate change is due to human activity. The U.S. remains home to a considerable number of “climate skeptics,” who clearly impact the politics around the issue, as they are unlikely to support costly actions such as carbon taxes intended to mitigate the challenge of climate change. Higher carbon taxes would have a direct effect on encouraging households and firms to consume less fossil fuels and would accelerate directed research in green technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels, and other forms of renewable power. But how does the presence of climate skeptics affect the market for climate-related innovation? Economic theory suggests it can have a significant negative impact. In other words, climate skeptics don’t just stymie progress on climate policy. They ensure that would-be climate entrepreneurs have less incentive to invent."
 
 
(Image Credit: HBR.org)
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Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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Mild Weekend on Tap. Rain/Snow Mix By Friday?

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Happy Spring! Quiet start, steady rain late week