Winter Beauty
I had a chance to spend some time up north over the weekend and wow what a beauty it was after two separate storms dumped nearly a foot of fresh February snow! Here's an image from Gooseberry Falls along the Minnesota North Shore north of Two Harbors, MN. What an amazing hike! We even got to watch ice climbers that were climbing the frozen falls.
Near Average Snowfall For the Season?
 Seasonal Snowfall
Here's a look at how much snow has fallen so far this season (since July 1st, 2017). With the exception of Fargo, ND, most reporting locations in the state of Minnesota have now gotten back to near average or at least within a few inches of average. Prior to the 2 snow events late last week and the weekend, many locations were running fairly decent snowfall deficits for the season. We will see how the rest of the season stacks up, but keep in mind that March is the 3rd snowiest month on record for the Twin Cities averaging 10.3". 
11th Snowiest January & February on Record at MSP Airport
The 2 images below show how much snow fell during the months of January and February at the MSP Airport and note that both months were considered to be the 11th snowiest January and February on record! January finished at 20.4" (+8.2" above average), while February has seen 15.9" (+8.2" above average). 

8th Snowiest January Through February on Record!
According to the MN State Climatology Office, the 36.3" of snow that the MSP Airport has seen from January to February is the 8th snowiest on record! This has also helped to push the Twin Cities up to a seasonal snowfall SURPLUS for the first time in a long time. While it's not much (+2.3"), it is still a surplus for the season.
Snow Depth As of Sunday, February 26th
As of Monday, February 25th, there was officially 9" of snow on the ground the Twin Cities Airport, while nearly 2ft of snow was on the ground near Duluth and MN's North Shore. If you like snow, you better get out there and enjoy it soon because high temps in the 30s & 40s will keep that melting process going and the snowpack will continue to rapidly diminish over the next several days.
Weather Outlook Ahead
The weather outlook from midday Wednesday to Thursday night shows our next storm system moving through the Midwest with another round of rain and snow. At this point, it looks like snow will clip the southeastern corner of Minnesota, while areas of heavy rain and thunder will once again impact parts of the Ohio Valley. The heaviest snow with this system looks like it will fall over the Great Lakes. 
Snowfall Potential
Here's the NWS NDFD snowfall potential through 6pm Thursday, which suggests 1" to 2" of snow possible across the southeastern corner of the state. According to this model, the Twin cities could even see a light coating by Thursday. 
Another Late Weekend Snow Event?
It's a bit early right now, but extended models are suggesting a potential storm system for late weekend/early next week. It definitely looks like it has some oomph to it as areas of heavy snow could fall somewhere across the Upper Midwest along with showers and thunderstorm on the warmer side. If you have travel plans late weekend/early next week, stay tuned for more... 
Warmer Temp Outlook Into Early March
Here's the temperature outlook through the middle part of March, which shows milder temps in the 30s and 40s staying with us through the first weekend of March. However, it appears there may be a slight dip to slightly below average temperatures again into the first full week of the month, but the good news is that no sub-zero temps are forecast during this time.
Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for February 27th suggests that 36.4% of the country is covered in snow, mainly across the northern half of the nation. At this time last year, 35.7% of the nation was covered in snow. As of February 27th, the Twin Cities officially had 8" of snow on the ground at the MSP Airport, but at this time last year, there was NO snow on the ground. Note also that last year at this time, the Sierra Nevada Range in California had a significantly greater snow pack than what is there now.
Snow Depth 2017
At this time last year, 34.7% of the nation was covered in snow. 
3-7 Day Hazard Forecast

1.) Heavy rain across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Southern Appalachians, and the Tennessee Valley, Thu, Mar 1.
2.) Heavy precipitation across portions of the Northeast, the Central Appalachians, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley, Thu-Fri, Mar 1-Mar 2.
3.) High winds across coastal parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, Fri-Sat, Mar 2-Mar 3.
4.) Heavy snow across portions of northern California, Sierras, and Cascades, Thu-Sat, Mar 1-Mar 3.
5.) Heavy snow across portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin, Thu, Mar 1.
6.) High winds across portions of the Central Plains, Northern Plains, and Northern Rockies, Sat, Mar 3.
7.) High winds across portions of the Central Great Basin, the Southwest, and Central and Southern Rockies, Fri-Sat, Mar 2-Mar 3.
8.) Much below normal temperatures across portions of California, the Central Great Basin, the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Great Basin, and the Southwest, Sat-Mon, Mar 3-Mar 5.
9.) Flooding possible across portions of the Ohio Valley.
10.) Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Great Lakes, the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley.
11.) Flooding likely across portions of the Middle Mississippi Valley, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley.
12.) High significant wave heights for coastal portions of the Aleutians, Sat-Sun, Mar 3-Mar 4.
13.) Much above normal temps across portions of the North Slope of Alaska, Fri-Mon, Mar 2-Mar 5.
14.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the northwestern quarter of the CONUS, Tue-Thu, Mar 6-Mar 8.
15.) Moderate risk of much below normal temperatures for portions of the Northern Plains and the Northern Rockies, Tue-Thu, Mar 6-Mar 8.
16.) Slight risk of much below normal temperatures for parts of mainland Alaska, Tue-Thu, Mar 6-Mar 8.
17.) Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Central Great Basin, and California, Thu-Sat, Mar 8-Mar 10.
18.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Central Rockies, the Lower Mississippi Valley, the Central Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Southern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, the Southern Plains, and the Southwest.


2018 Tornadoes So Far...

According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 56 preliminary tornaoes so far this year (February 26th), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 366 tornadoes at this time in 2008; that year ended with 2,194 tornadoes, which is nearly 800 more than the short-term 2005-2015 average. 


Major River Flooding

There has been some major river flooding ongoing across the Ohio Valley thanks to extreme rainfall over the past 5 to 7 days. Thanks to @NWSLouisville for the flooding picture out of Louisville, KY, where the Ohio River reached moderate flood stage last week and may not fall below that mark until this Friday! Interestingly, the Ohio River in Louisville (McAlpine Upper reached a crest of 35.64ft, on Monday afternoon, which is the 10th highest crest this river gauge has ever reached!


Major River Flooding

According to NOAA, there were 242 river gauges in flood stage as of Tuesday morning, 13 of which where at Major flood statge!


February Rainfall

WOW! How about those numbers! A corridor of heavy precipitation this month helped push February precipitation numbers into Double digits for a number of locations! In fact, there was so much precipitation that Louisville, KY and Evansville, IN have seen their wettest February on record!!


"Minnesota Sees Deadliest Winter In Years"

"Minnesota has already had five ice-related deaths this winter. The state typically averages three during the whole season. Minnesota is on track to have one of its deadliest winters in years. Five people have died this season after falling through ice. The state typically averages three ice-related deaths over the course of the entire winter. The 2015-2016 winter had zero ice-related deaths, while the 2016-2017 winter had two. The last time Minnesota saw ice-related deaths in the double digits was in the 2002-2003 winter, when the state had 10 fatalities. The most recent death this year happened in northern Minnesota where a women drowned after riding an ATV on Rice Lake. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Hannah Mishler has already responded to multiple ice rescue calls. "Ice, especially snow covered ice, is extremely deceptive. You can't see dangerous cracks or the thickness of the ice under the snow," Mishler said in a statement."
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."

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