This Minnesota spring: 81 on Sunday, snow Wednesday

  • Article by: BILL MCAULIFFE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 1, 2013 - 8:40 AM

Summer ends a five-day visit, but it’s coming back.

Eighty-one degrees on Sunday, snow on Wednesday.

After an April that brought a foot-and-a-half of snow to the Twin Cities, should that May Day forecast really be a surprise?

The Twin Cities could see snow come down heavily enough Wednesday night to threaten records before it melts. It could be refreshed Thursday and Friday nights. The Wednesday afternoon and Thursday and Friday morning rush hours could be messy.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jake Beitlich said the wet snow falling on warm ground shouldn’t measure much more than 2 inches at most. But 3 inches is the most ever measured in the Twin Cities in one May storm or on one May Day — the last time being 1946.

The last May snow flurries in the Twin Cities were reported only eight years ago, but the last measurable May snow was 0.3 inch on May 5, 1991.

The good news is that the recent five days of summer shouldn’t be the last. High temperatures are expected to head back toward the upper 60s by Monday. That’s just about normal, and normal means mid-70s by the end of May.

For now, rain is expected to start mixing with snow about midmorning Wednesday, turning to all snow around 7 p.m.

Summer nearby

The snow, falling out of cold air, will actually cool the warmer air below as it falls, thus perpetuating the snow, Beitlich said. Air temperatures are expected to remain slightly above freezing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, but snow-making will occur.

The spring storm will also feature a dramatic temperature spread. The Twin Cities’ predicted high Wednesday is 42, but Chicago could see 84.

Proud time for pansies

The mood has changed dramatically at Mother Earth Gardens in the Minneapolis Longfellow neighborhood.

“Saturday they wanted tomatoes,” co-owner Karen O’Connor said Tuesday, recalling the not-too-distant weekend day that had a high of 75 degrees. “Today, they don’t want to plant anything. Not even a pansy.

“People seem very depressed and frustrated,” she said.

Workers at the gardening store were planning to move some plants indoors or at least under cover for the next few nights, but pansies would remain outside, O’Connor said.

The winterish weather is “a blip” that shouldn’t have any long-term impact on gardens, she added.

Irrepressible ice-out

Observers were close to calling Lake Minnetonka ice free Tuesday night, which would have been the latest since 1965. The lake should be fully open for the Lake Minnetonka crappie contest scheduled for Saturday, a warm-up for the state walleye opener May 11.

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