By Todd Nelson
March in Minnesota is typically a transition month; bouts of cooler air and shots of wintry precipitation are not uncommon, but come on... this is ridiculous!
The winter hangover continues. Mother Nature doesn't seem to be responding to the increase daylight just yet and certainly not close to home. Brisk wind chills over the past couple of days have, perhaps, brought back unpleasant memories. Look on the bright side, at least you're getting extra mileage out of that trendy winter coat you bought last year, it still looks good.
As of midday Wednesday, there was still 8" of snow on the ground 'officially' at the MSP Airport. Interestingly, the last time we had an 'official' snowpack on the Vernal Equinox was in 2006! The concern; the longer the cold air and deep snowpack stick around, the greater the threat for a rapid snow melt and flooding. We're hoping that when the warmer air finally decides to return, it doesn't furnace blast in like it did last year.
In the meantime, another winter storm is developing, but it'll sail mainly south of us. Shovelable snow could make a return to Kansas City to Chicago over the weekend, we get a few flurries.
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and cold! Low: 4. Winds: NW 5-10.
THURSDAY: Jacket needed. High: 24. Winds: NW 5-10.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, still cool. Low: 8.
FRIDAY: Hazy sun, light snow in western MN late. High: 31.
SATURDAY: Clouds thicken, light snow late? Low: 16. High: 35.
SUNDAY: Bulk of storm looks to sail south. Light snow/flurries possible for us. Low: 23. High: 35.
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, passing flake? Low: 22. High: 36.
TUESDAY: A pesky flake, nothing rough. Low: 23. High: 36.
WEDNESDAY: A little light at the end of the tunnel? Slightly warmer. Low: 24. High: 38.
Welcome to warmer temps, melting snow, budding trees and flowers. We're getting word that the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom in Washington D.C. - now that's a sure sign of Spring! By the way the National Cherry Blossom Festival starts March 20th and runs through April 14th. Peak bloom prediction this year is April 3rd-6th...
Thanks to the National Mall and Memorial Parks FB Page for the picture and information below.
"The Autumn Flowering Cherry - Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis – Has started to bloom in the park around the Washington Monument. Autumn Cherry trees bloom in the spring, fall, and during warm winters. Known to be among the longest living, most cold, heat, and stress tolerant of the ornamental cherry trees."
Is That A Bear Cub?
Even the bears are awake! Thanks to the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife for the picture below. Question: Why do bears wear socks? Answer: Because they have bear feet!
Another Sign of Spring...?
For those who live around the Great Lakes Region, the resumption of shipping traffic means that Spring is here! Thanks to Wanda Brandt for the picture below from Duluth, MN. The Mesabi Miner was the first ship to leave the Duluth port this season. It left Wednesday morning and was headed to Marquette, MI with a load of coal.
This is another cool bookmark for you. It's a link to LIVE shipping traffic across the Great Lakes.
Cold Start to Spring
Here's the webcam from downtown Duluth as the Mesabi Miner was leaving port. The morning low temperature (over the hill) was 3F with a wind chill by mid morning still at -10F! Even though the calendar says Spring, it sure doesn't feel like it.
Duluth 2012 vs. 2013
What a difference a year makes. March 20th, 2012 it was 62F in Duluth. March 20th, 2013 the forecast high was for 17F! Average high by the way is 35F.
Twin Cities 2012 vs. 2013
Here's another big swing. March 20th, 2012 we hit 65F. The forecast for March 20th, 2013 was 20F. Average high is 43F.
Twin Cities 2012 vs. 2013
The picture below is SO GOOD that I had to share it again today... Thanks to photojournalist Deb Lyngdal via KARE 11 for the picture below. Look at how different it looked in the Twin Cities on March 18th, 2012 vs. March 18th, 2013.
Snow Depth 2012 vs. 2013
For the first day of Spring 2013, there was nearly 30% of the country covered by snow with an average snow depth of 5.1" -- Last year on the 20th of March, nearly 20% of the country was covered with an average depth of 3.7". Note that most of the eastern half of the country last year was NOT covered in snow, this year we still have a fairly decent snow pack across the northern tier of the nation.
Twin Cities Snow Depth
I thought this was interesting. As of March 20th, 2013 there was still 8" of snow on the ground 'officially' at the MSP Airport. You have to go all the way back to 2006 to see snow on the ground on the date of a Vernal Equinox.
MN Severe Weather in March 2012?
Thanks to my good friend Bill Doms (www.wxmnchaser.com) for the picture below also out of Minnesota. These two pictures were taken on March 19th. The top one is from 2013 and the bottom one is from 2012. Note that this year, we still have quite a wintry landscape and even ice over Minnesota lakes. Last year on the 19th, Bill captured a line of thunderstorms near the same area, that's a shelf cloud or the leading edge of a line of thunderstorms... it looks like it was heading right toward him!
2012 MN March Tornado
Crazy to think that at this point last year, Minnesota has already seen it's first tornado. It was an EF0 that occurred in Elysian.
Jet Stream in 2012
This is what the jet stream looked like on March 20th, 2012. A huge ridge in the eastern part of the country (which persisted for days) helped to bring many temperature records to the table.
Jet Stream in 2013
The jet stream for March 20th, 2013 looks quite a bit different doesn't it? Note that it is almost the complete opposite. This time the cold air is in the east and the warmer air is out west.
Wednesday Departure From Average
The departure from average across the Nation on Wednesday was nearly -10F to -30F below average on the first day of Spring.
Thursday Highs From Normal
Temperatures on Thursday are expected to be several degrees below normal too. In fact, it appears that more of the country will be cooler than Wednesday.
The extended temperature outlook by the end of the month is still expected to be well below normal across the eastern half of the country.
Weekend Snow Potential?
Another storm will develop across the middle part of the country late week/weekend. The heaviest snow appears to be falling south of the Twin Cities Saturday and Sunday. It's still a developing storm, but the heaviest now looks to fall from near Kansas City, MO to Chicago, IL. The image below is the GFS (American model) solution by Saturday night. Strong thunderstorms will also be possible across the deep south. Stay tuned for more...
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week!
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