What A Difference 2 Weeks Makes...
 
Hard to believe that only 2 weekends ago, we were dealing with heavy snow! Take a look at the difference below! Sure is nice to see my lawn again!! Since the snow storm, the Twin Cities racked up 60F and 70F highs of 2018! If you haven't heard, we may actually be on track to hit our first 80F high of the year on Monday! Stay tuned...
 
 
Snow Depth April 15th vs April 28th
 
This is the snow depth from 2 weekends ago to this weekend. Note how much snow there was still on the ground across the entire state! Thanks to a couple of weeks of 'warmer' weather, the only snow on the ground is in the Arrowhead.
 
 
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Fire Risk Sunday
 
"Today will be well above normal in the temperature department, but it will also be windy. Due to the combination of strong winds and low humidity levels, fire weather conditions will be dangerous this afternoon, and early evening. Humidity levels are expected to rise tonight with an increasing chance of thunderstorms after midnight."
 
 
Red Flag Warning Sunday
 
CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS LIKELY THIS AFTERNOON ACROSS EASTERN MINNESOTA AND FAR WESTERN WISCONSIN...
 
Dangerous fire weather conditions are likely over much of eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin this afternoon. South winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph are expected as humidity levels drop to less than 25 percent. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for these areas. Western Minnesota will have stronger winds with gusts around 40 mph, but minimum RH may not drop as low as 25 percent. A Fire Weather Watch is in effect due to the possibility of lower humidity values materializing.

RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 7 PM CDT THIS EVENING FOR STRONG WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY...
 
The National Weather Service in Twin Cities/Chanhassen has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 7 PM CDT this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.
* AFFECTED AREA...Eastern Minnesota and far western Wisconsin.
* WIND...South 15 to 20 mph with gusts near 30 mph.
* HUMIDITY...Minimum RH of 18 to 25 percent.
* IMPACTS...any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning is not recommended.

 
 
Fire Danger: High/Very High
 
According to the MN DNR, fire danger ranges from Very High to EXTREME across parts of the state prior to spring green-up. Thanks to dry, warm and somewhat breezy winds, fire weather concerns have been elevated over the past few days and will likely remain elevated in spots. Burning restrictions are in place for a few locations.
 
 
 
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Spring Leaf Index Anamoly
 
According to the USA NPN, spring is still creeping north. However, thanks to coler than normal weather during the first half of the month, spring leaves have arrived later than normal across parts of Nebraska to Iowa to the Ohio Valley. Hopefully warmer temps during the month of May will allow spring to arrive a little closer to average closer to home.
 
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Record MSP April Snowfall!

Just so you don't forget...  April 2018 has been the snowiest April on record for the Twin Cities with a whopping 26.1" of snow. The previous snowiest April was 21.8" set in 1983. By the way, the average April snow is only 2.4".

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2nd Coldest April on Record... So Far
 
Despited the 'warmer' temperatures as of late, this April (through the 27th) has been the 2nd coldest April on record for the Twin Cities with an average of 35.4F.
 
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2018 Ice Out Dates...

Strong late April sunshine and recent 'warmer' temps are helping to take out lake ice pretty fast. Lake Pepin was the first Minnesota lake to officially be ice free as of April 20th, which is nearly 3 weeks later than its average ice out date of March 31st. Since then a few more lake have officially gone ice free including Hiawatha, Taft and Spoon lakes around the Twin Cities! These lakes are also running nearly 3 weeks behind their 'average' ice out dates.

See more from MN DNR HERE:

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Ice Safety!!

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.

See more from MN DNR HERE:

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First 80F High of 2018 on Monday?
 
Well, well, well... take a look what may be right around the corner. Our first 80F highs of 2018 on Monday? The image below is from the Twin Cities National Weather Service, which shows highs in the 70s and 80s across much of the state. Add a dash of humidity (dewpoints in the low/mid 50s) and it might feel faintly like summer!
 
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Severe Threat PM Monday?
 
An approaching storm system will not only increase heat and humidity around the region, but it will also bring in a few thunderstorms late in the day Monday. According to NOAA's SPC, there is a MARGINAL threat of severe weather across parts of central and western Minnesota, mainly for the potential of large hail.
 
"Severe storms could develop across the Plains Monday afternoon and evening, and build eastward Monday night. Storms with large hail are possible, especially in the slight risk area."
 
 
Severe Threat Tuesday
 
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a MARGINAL risk of severe weather for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin on Tuesday. Large hail and wind look to be primary threats.
 
 
 
Weather Outlook
 
Here's the weather outlook from PM Sunday to PM Tuesday, which shows unsettled weather returning to the Upper Midwest. This storm will bring enough instability for the potential of thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be strong to severe. Stay tuned!
 
 
Precipitation Potential
 
Here's the latest GFS precipitation forecast through PM Tuesday, which suggests pockets of heavy rain with the upcoming rain and thunder potential. In fact, some spots could see in excess of 1" over the next few days.
 

Extended Temperature Forecast

The extended forecast through May 12th & 13th show warmer temps in place as we head into the early part of May. The images below suggest the GFS (American model) and ECMWF (European model) temperature outlook. Note that the GFS forecast keeps temps a little warmer, while the ECMWF keeps temps more consistently in the 60s.

 
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Cold Start to April

The first half of April has featured some VERY chilly air across much of the Central US and as you can see in the image below many locations are running a good -5F to -15F (or colder) below average. Meanwhile, temps in the Southwestern US are running nearly +5F to +10F above average. When in comes to the Twin Cities, we are running -12.3F below average through the first 27 days 

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Great Lakes Ice Coverage

According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 4.0% covered in ice as of April 27th. At this time last year, there was NO ice coverage on the Great Lakes.

Lake Superior Ice Coverage

Here's a look at the ice coverage across Lake Superior and as of April 28th, NOAA's GLERL, said that 4.2% of Lake Superior was covered. At last time last year, there was NO ice on Lake Superior.

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Snow Depth 2018

The snow depth map across the country for April 28th suggests that 4.8% 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 10.8% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 28th, the Twin Cities officially had NO snow on the ground at the MSP Airport.

Snow Depth 2017

At this time last year, 10.8% of the nation was covered in snow. 

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2018 Tornadoes So Far...

According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 270 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (April 27th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 1,022 tornadoes at this time in 2011; that year ended with 1,897 tornadoes, which is nearly 500 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average. 

Average Tornadoes in April 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.

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3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

1.) Severe weather across portions of the Plains and the Middle and Lower Mississippi Valley, Mon-Wed, Apr 30-May 2.
2.) Heavy rain across portions of the Central and Southern Plains, the Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Wed-Thu, May 2-May 3.
3.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southern Plains, Fri, May 4.
4.) Flooding possible across portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin.
5.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Southeast, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Northern Plains.
6.) Flooding likely across portions of the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, the Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Northern Plains.
7.) High winds across portions of the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Central Great Basin, the Southern Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest, Mon-Wed, Apr 30-May 2.
8.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Northeast, the Central and Southern Appalachians, the Mid-Atlantic, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Mon, Apr 30.
9.) Enhanced wildfire risk across portions of the the Southern Rockies, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest, Mon, Apr 30.
10.) Slight risk of much above normal temperatures for portions of California and the Southwest, Mon-Wed, May 7-May 9.
11.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southern Plains, Sat, May 5.
12.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of mainland Alaska, Sat-Sun, May 5-May 6.
13.) Severe Drought across parts of the Plains, the Central and Southern Rockies, the Central Great Basin, California, the Southeast, and the Southwest.

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Temperature Anomaly on Friday

The temperature anomaly across North America from Saturday, showed WELL below average temperatures across a large chunk of the western part of the US and Canada, while cooler than average temps were still in place across the Hudson Bay and down into the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley.

Temperature Trend

The 850mb temperature anomaly from Sunday to AM Wednesday shows warmer than average temperatures moving in across much of the Upper Midwest and lingering through the early week time frame. This warmth and even a bit of humidity will surge ahead of a storm system that will produce widely scattered showers and thunderstorms across much of the Central US over the next several days.

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 Weather Outlook Ahead

A developing storm system in the Western US will slowly move east over the coming days, which will increase the threat of widely scattered showers and thunderstorms in the Central US. Keep in mind that some of the storms could be strong to severe with areas of locally heavy rain. 

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Severe Threats Ahead

As the storm system slides east through the weekend and into next week, widely scattered thunderstorms will develop and some will be strong to severe across the Central US. Here are the SPC threats from Sunday to Wednesday

Severe Threat Sunday

Severe Threat Monday

Severe Threat Tuesday

Severe Threat Wednesday


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7 Day Precipitation Outlook

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation continuing across the Central US with widespread 2" to 4"+ tallies possible through the week ahead. 

Snowfall Potential Ahead

The GFS snowfall potential  as we head into the first week of May suggests snow still falling across across the high elevations in the Western US. However, other than a litle snow possible in the Northeast, there doesn't appear to be any major snow storms brewing across the Upper Midwest. Let's hope we're all done with the snow!

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Too Sunny and Too Dry. Fire Weather Watch
By Paul Douglas

Yesterday looked like a (bad) episode of "The Walking Dead"; dazed neighbors emerging from hibernation, walking zombie-like around their yards, inspecting lawns and gardens. One quipped "Hey Paul, where does the white go when snow melts?" Pondering an answer made my head hurt but blue sky and an August-like sun angle felt good. Spring has arrived; better late than never.

Sunday may tickle your weather taste buds with late afternoon temperatures hovering near 70F. A southerly fetch direct from the Gulf of Mexico will fuel showers and T-storms tonight and Monday morning. There's even a slight severe storm risk over far southwest Minnesota. If the sun breaks through tomorrow we may hit 80F with sticky dew points near 60F. Flip a switch: instant summer.

Grumbling thundershowers spill over into Tuesday; a northwest breeze drying us out temporarily on Wednesday. More rain brushes the area Thursday before we dry out late in the week.

NOAA has issued a Fire Weather Watch - any fires that do start may spread rapidly. Monday rain and a rapid green-up this week should lower our fire  risk.
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Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Lukewarm sunshine, breezy. Winds: S 15-30. High: 70.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Increasing clouds. Chance of thunder overnight. Winds: SSE 10-15. Low: 53.

MONDAY: Early thunder, then warm and sticky sun. Winds: S 15-25. High: 80.

TUESDAY: Some sun. Spotty thunderstorms around. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 60. High: 73.

WEDNESDAY: Slightly cool and drier with some sun. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 52. High: 64.

THURSDAY: Gray and cool with a period of rain. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 57.

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and pleasantly mild. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 44. High: 68.

SATURDAY: Intervals of sun. Passing shower? Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 63.
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This Day in Weather History
April 29th

1984: Late season heavy snow blankets the Twin Cities with 6.6 inches.

1940: Heavy rain falls in Duluth, with a daily total of 3.25 inches.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 29th

Average High: 64F (Record: 92F set in 1952)
Average Low: 43F (Record: 22F set in 1958)

Record Rainfall: 1.30" set in 1991
Record Snowfall: 6.6" set in 1984
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 29th

Sunrise: 6:05am
Sunset: 8:16pm

Hours of Daylight: ~14 hours & 11 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 46 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 5 Hour 24 Minutes
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Moon Phase for April 29th at Midnight
0.3 Days After Full "Pink" Moon

"One of the earliest-blooming, widespread flowers in North America is the grass pink or wild ground phlox. Other names for this full moon are the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and, to some coastal tribes, the Full Fish Moon, to mark when the shad come upstream to spawn. Fullness occurs at 7:58 p.m. CDT"

See more from Space.com HERE:

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 Temp Outlook For Sunday

Sunday will be a nice mild day across the region with a number of 60s and 70s showing up, however, winds will once again be quite gusty.  

 
Gusty Winds Sunday
 
South winds on Sunday will be quite gusty with winds at times in the 20mph to 30mph+ range...
 
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8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's CPC, May 6th - May 12th will be warmer than average across the Western US, while cooler than average temps will still be found across the Eastern half of the country.

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"How to stop a hurricane"

"Hurricane season comes every year, and with it damage, devastation and lives destroyed - is there some way we could stop it and harness the energy at the same time? Last year will go down in history as the year of the hurricane. In 2017, three storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean – Harvey, Irma and Maria – together took more than 300 lives and caused damage totalling $450bn (£319bn), making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane season ever. As climate change bites ever harder, the most powerful hurricanes are forecast to become more frequent, so years like this may become the norm in decades to come. This has focused minds on ways of stopping hurricanes in their tracks, or even preventing them from forming at all. One idea – known as the Salter Sink – has been patented by British marine engineer Prof Stephen Salter and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The plan is to float thousands of tyre-like rings in the tropical Atlantic, connected to giant tubes that suck warm surface waters down into deeper water, to be replaced by cold water from below."

See more from Science Focus HERE:

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"The story behind positive lightning and its negative side effects"
 
"Positive lightning is particularly dangerous. It originates at the top of a thunderstorm, where cloud tops are positively charged, and can strike as many as 25 miles away from its parent thunderstorm, where the ground is negatively charged. If you can hear thunder — even from a very distant storm — it’s still possible to be struck by positive lightning. Negative lightning, on the other hand, originates from the lower-level clouds in a thunderstorm, which are negatively charged, and the bolts often strike directly under the thunderstorm where the ground is positively charged. Negative lightning takes a much shorter path to the ground, compared with positive lightning and often strikes in or near the thunderstorm’s rain shaft."
 
 
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"Global temperatures have dropped since 2016. Here’s why that’s normal."

"It was only two years ago that a new record-warm global temperature was set, but things have already cooled off significantly. Temperature anomalies hit record peaks in 2016 but have been sliding since then. Global temperatures are still much warmer than normal, but according to NASA, the first quarter of 2018 (January-March) was the fourth warmest, behind 2015, 2016, 2017 and tied with 2010. This is normal, of course. The world has not seen the last of global warming. The long-term upward trend in temperatures is the result of  man-made fossil fuel emissions, but natural processes that affect global temperature — like El Niño — still play a role. Sometimes they make things warmer and sometimes they make things cooler. The current cooling episode is mostly the result of a reversal of waters in the Tropical Pacific, which can modulate global temperature. Since the Pacific Ocean is our largest global body of water, what it does makes a big difference on global climate. A similar reversal followed the super El Niño in the late ’90s — 1998 was the hottest year on record at the time in part because of the warm El Niño water pushing global temperatures over the brink. Earth went from having one of the strongest El Niño events on record (very warm waters in the central Tropical Pacific) to a few years of cooler waters, thanks to a La Niña period."

See more from Washington Post HERE:

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"A State in India Was Struck by Lightning More Than 36,000 Times in 13 Hours"

"The southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh had an electrifying night this week after officials reportedly recorded 36,749 lightning strikes in just 13 hours. The extreme electrical activity lashed the coastal state on Tuesday and claimed nine lives, including that of a nine-year-old girl, the BBC reports. Lightning strikes are not uncommon before the start of India’s monsoon season, which runs from June to September, Kishan Sanku of the state’s emergency operation center told the BBC. But this week’s bout, which was termed an “extreme weather pattern,” was atypically energetic. Last year, the region saw about 30,000 lighting strikes over the entire month of May. Some scientists believe that global warming may be contributing to more active lightning storms. The combination of cold winds from the Arabian Sea and warmer air currents from northern India created an unusually large cloud cover, spanning 124 miles and inflating the risk of lightning storms, Sanku said."

See more from Time HERE:

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"B.C. wildfires triggered mega thunderstorm with volcano-like effects"

'This was the most significant fire-driven thunderstorm event in history,' meteorologist says. The only real comparison for what happened in B.C. on Aug. 12, 2017, would be a volcanic eruption. On that day, in the midst of the province's record-breaking wildfire season, the heat from four fires triggered huge thunderstorms that sent smoke soaring into the stratosphere, eventually spreading through the entire Northern Hemisphere. It was the biggest so-called pyrocumulonimbus event ever observed, according to David Peterson, a meteorologist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif. "This was the most significant fire-driven thunderstorm event in history. Nothing else even comes close," Peterson told CBC News. "The total amount of smoke that was released into the lower stratosphere was comparable to a moderate volcanic eruption."

See more from BBC HERE:

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