Happy St. Patty's Day!!
Here's a neat story from Fox 8 about the man who dyes the might Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day. Interestingly, it only takes about 45 minutes to dye a full city blocks worth of 40 pounds of powdered dye to do so.
"Meet the man who dyes the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day"
"On St. Patrick’s Day, Tom Rowan will do the same thing he has done that day for the past 56 years: He’ll make the Chicago River run green. Rowan, a 75-year-old retired police officer, is the man behind the famous Windy City ritual. The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is world-renowned, primarily because of its unique tradition of dyeing the river green. “The original Mayor Daley in the 1950s wanted to do something special, he wanted to dye the whole of Lake Michigan green. But it was just too huge to do. The next best thing was the Chicago River,” Rowan told CNN. A friend of Mayor Richard J. Daley had come to him with an intriguing idea in 1961. He had noticed a plumber’s overalls stained with a striking shade of green. The substance was a dye used to test for leaks in pipes. This was the lightbulb moment in which a great Chi-Town custom was conceived. The Chicago River was first dyed green in 1962, to the delight of the many Irish Chicagoans."
St. Patrick's Day Festivities in the Twin Cities
While you may have missed the big St. Paul and Minneapolis St. Patrick's Day Parades on Saturday, but there's still another one today in Hopkins!
World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade | Sunday, March 17 | Hopkins, Mainstreet | 2-4 pm | FREE | This parade is open to anyone and is only 4 blocks long.
Weather Outlook Sunday
High temps on Sunday will still be running a little cooler than average across the region with readings around -5F below average. There will be more cloud cover and perhaps a few flurries here and there, but nothing significant. Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities for March 17th is 42F, so we're heading in the right direction!
Trending Warmer Through End of March
According to the GEFS and ECMWF Ensemble models, temps will be trending warmer as we head through the 2nd half of March. Note that we'll still be a little cooler than average (in the 30s) through Monday, but 40s and 50s look to return thereafter! Note that our average first 50F high temp at MSP is around March 9th, while our average first 60F high temp is around March 28th. There is a very real possibility that would could hit both of those thresholds before March is over! Stay tuned...
"Anglers: Ice House Removal deadline approaches!"
Just a reminder that March is our 3rd snowiest month of the year averaging 10.3" !! So far this month, we've had 10.4", 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!
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!
In a news conference Friday, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state has experienced historic flooding in nearly every region. "This is the largest widespread amount of flooding we've had in the last half century," he said, according to CNN affiliate KTIV. Farmer's tractor went down in flood waters
Nebraska rescue teams have been pulling trapped residents out of flood waters since Thursday.
James Wilke, a Columbus farmer, got a call to assist a stranger, and never came home. According to CNN affiliate KMTV, a close family friend posted on social media about his last moments.
"It is no surprise to anyone that knew James that when he got the phone call to assist emergency responders ... his answers would be yes," Jodi L. Hefti wrote on Facebook.
"With the guidance of emergency responders, James drove his tractor over the Shell Creek bridge on the Monestary Road and the bridge gave out. James and the tractor went down into the flood water below."
"Here’s how much snow has fallen in the Sierra this winter"
"After a series of storms, multiple “atmospheric rivers” and Sierra deluges, Northern California can boast an impressive amount of snowfall this winter. The National Weather Service said Tuesday that over the course of the season, more than 50 feet of snow has fallen at the highest elevations. And across the state, California’s snowpack is doing quite well as a result. As of Tuesday, the average statewide snow-water equivalent is a whopping 3 feet, 6 inches, which is 160 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. Drought conditions have been pushed to the far corners of the state, with nearly 90 percent of the state not under drought conditions, according to the federal National Drought Mitigation Center."
Mostly Quiet Weather Outlook
After a very active week of weather, things will be quite a bit more sublime through the rest of the weekend and into the 3rd full week of March. Other than a little light flurry activity or areas of light rain, we don't have any major storm system to contend with in the Upper Midwest anytime soon! That's good news!
7 Day Precipitation Outlook
Here's another encouraging map, which shows minimal precipitation potential over the next 7 days across much of the state. There may be some 0.1" tallies up north, but again, there doesn't seem to be anything of concern as we slide into the 2nd half of the month. Stay tuned!
Lake Superior on Satellite
According to NOAA's GLERL, Lake Superior is nearly 68% covered in ice, which is greater than it was at this time last year and also in 2017. Winter Ice conditions peaked not long ago and with warmer weather in the forecast, ice coverage will continue to dwindle. As of March 15th, nearly 47% of the entire Great Lakes were covered in ice.
Here's a look at the temperature anomaly aross North America on Saturday, which showed cooler than average temps across much of the Central US in the wake of our very intense "bomb" cyclone last week. Temps are expected to gradually warm over the next several days and by the end of the week, most locations could be dealing with more spring-like readings!
"March 11, 2019 - Spring leaf out is spreading north through Southwest, Southeast, and mid-Atlantic states. Spring is one week late in the Portland, OR area and up to one week early in parts of Maryland. 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."
By Paul Douglas
Here in the Land of Low Weather Expectations 50 degrees in March - to paraphrase anchorman Ron Burgundy - is kind of a big deal. Think new-car smell with a dash of cute puppy, Christmas Eve and 4th of July fireworks.
Emerging unsteadily from hibernation, bloodshot eyes brimming with pure, unmitigated joy. OK. Maybe I'm laying it on a little thick, but Minnesotans do NOT take 50s for granted in March. Not after the winter we just endured.
NOAA's GFS model prints out the next major rain storm in about 9 days, which may impact timing and severity of flooding on our rivers into April.
With historic flooding underway from Nebraska to southern Wisconsin, I have a bad feeling about what may lurk over the horizon. Stay vigilant.
This week looks dry with a slow warming trend. 50s are possible by late week UNLESS melting snow sparks fog and low clouds, which may very well happen.
Is winter over? Kind of. Odds are we'll enjoy a few more slushy events, but the worst is probably behind us now. Hey, it's Minnesota. What can possibly go wrong.
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and cool with a light mix? Winds: NW 7-12. High: 36.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and quiet. Winds: WNW 5. Low: 26.
MONDAY: More sunshine and pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. High: 40.
TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and sunshine. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 27. High: 44.
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny. Expecting puddles. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 29. High: 46.
THURSDAY: Plenty of sun. Potentially distracting. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 50.
FRIDAY: Early fog gives way to sunshine. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 33. High: 52.
SATURDAY: Fading sunshine, taste of spring. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 35. High: 54.
This Day in Weather History
2012: The Twin Cities hits 80 degrees, a new record for St. Patrick's Day and the warmest temperature during the warmest March on record. Amazingly, the high also reached 79 on March 16, 18, and 19 this year.
1965: The Great St. Patrick's Day Blizzard hits northern Minnesota. Two feet of snow dumped at Duluth. 19 inches at Mora.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 42F (Record: 80F set in 2012)
Average Low: 25F (Record: -8F set in 1941)
Record Rainfall: 0.89" set in 1965
Record Snowfall: 11.2" set in 1965
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~11 hours & 59 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 9 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~3 hours and 14 minutes
Moon Phase for March 17th at Midnight
2.8 Days Until Full "Worm" Moon
"8:43 p.m. CDT (March 21) In this month the ground softens and the earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter, or the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. TheFull Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation."
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:
"March 17, 2019 – the bright waxing gibbous moon shines in front of Cancer the Crab, the faintest constellation of the zodiac. Although the moon marks Cancer’s place in the sky on this night, the moonlit glare will make Cancer tough to see. However, you shouldn’t have much trouble spotting some bright stars on either side of Cancer, along the zodiac. The Gemini stars, Castor and Pollux, lie to the west of tonight’s moon whereas the star Regulus, the brightest in the constellation Leo the Lion, shines to the east of tonight’s moon. As the Earth spins beneath the heavens throughout the night, going from west to east, the moon, Cancer, the Gemini stars and Regulus will appear to move westward across the sky. The moon will set in the west in the wee hours before sunrise March 18."
"A sleeping giant awakes" as carbon-rich permafrost starts to thaw. Rapid and “devastating” Arctic warming is now almost unstoppable, United Nations researchers warn in a major new report. Unless humanity makes very rapid and deep pollution cuts, Arctic winter temperatures will rise 5.4° to 9.0°F (3° to 5°C) by 2050 — and will reach an astounding 9° to 16°F (5° to 8.8°C) by 2080 — according to a report by the U.N. Environment Program released Wednesday. Even worse, the report, “Global Linkages: A graphic look at the changing Arctic,” warns that warming will in turn awaken a “sleeping giant” in the form of vast quantities of permafrost carbon. This carbon has been frozen in the permafrost for up to thousands of years, but as the atmosphere warms, the permafrost will thaw. This will release the trapped carbon, and trigger more planet-wide warming in a dangerous feedback loop."
"March can be beautiful, but why is the weather so weird?"
"After a long winter, March is a welcome sight. It brings with it the first day of spring, and that means relief from the cold and the dreariness of winter. Or does it? March can be a messy time for weather, but then again, no transition is easy. This is, according to Weather.com in 2017, especially true for the northern part of the U.S., though all parts of the country experience weather weirdness in March. 1. Snowstorms and cold temperatures can persist. Despite the arrival of spring, March can bring plenty of snow. Denver often pulls in 20 percent of its annual snowfall during the month, while 5 to 6 inches can pile up in Chicago. In 2017, Washington, D.C., experienced a weirdo cold snap following a "false spring" in February, making that March colder than February for the first time in more than 30 years. According to Weather.com's 2019 spring forecast, the Pacific North American Oscillation, a recurring weather pattern, is in its negative phase and that means colder weather in the Northwest and some of the Plains. The upside, at least for those in the Southeast, is that temperatures should be near or slightly above average."
"How the 2019 Polar Vortex Helped Long-Term Renewable Energy Integration in the Midwest"
"At the end of January, the polar vortex brought bitter cold temperatures to the Upper Midwest of the United States. Some parts of northern Minnesota hit -45°F temperatures with wind chills down to -65°F. The record-setting low temperatures and frigid wind chills posed a safety and reliability threat to the region’s people and infrastructure alike. It forced some utilities in the region to appeal to the public to curb their natural gas use, and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO, the region’s transmission grid operator) to declare a maximum generation event."