Sour Taste of January
By Todd Nelson
Welcome to the Land of OZ... Other than seeing more daylight later in the day, it really doesn't feel any different than it did for much of the winter season, which ends Wednesday at 6:02am CDT.
We've somehow landed in a different month. It tastes and feels a little more like January or February out there than it does mid March. Sub-zero wind chills will get your attention heading out the door over the next couple of mornings, a feeling that many right about now, I'm sure, are probably ready to forget until next winter.
This type of weather isn't all doom and gloom for those that are still enjoying winter sports. In fact, I'm sure there are still several folks out there who welcome Old Man Winter's extended stay.
The midday Monday weather observation at the MSP Airport had 9" of snow on the ground from Monday's snow and 2" of water locked in that snow. We're hoping that the deep snowcover across the far north melts slowly as we head through Spring. The later it gets with continued cold, the threat for a more rapid melt and flooding increases. Some extended models suggest that we could still see some MN snowpack deep into April... Time will tell
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY NIGHT: Scattered light snow continues. Windy with blowing and drifting snow. Low: 4. Winds: WNW 15-30.
TUESDAY: AM wind chill down to -15°. Breezy and cold with a passing flake. High: 20. Winds: WNW 15-25.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Lingering flurry or two. Breezy and colder than average. Low: 3. Wind: Chill: -5° to -15°
WEDNESDAY : Spring arrives! Winter lingerings with a few flurries High: 17.
THURSDAY: Still jacket worthy. Sun/cloud mix. Low: 3. High: 23.
FRIDAY: High warm to the freezing mark? Low: 8. High: 31.
SATURDAY: More clouds, some light snow? Low: 18. High: 33.
SUNDAY: Are those still snow flurries? Low: 20. High: 34.
MONDAY: Slightly warmer, where's spring. Low: 21. High: 35
Spring Arrives Wednesday
Say what? I know, I can't believe it either... especially now that we have a fresh coating of snow across the region. The 'official' number from the MSP Airport was a little over 3" by late afternoon Monday. Some of the heavier tallies were across the far north.
Heaviest MN Snowfall Reports
Here are some of the heaviest snowfall reports I could find across Minnesota (as of 5pm Monday).
Snowpack - March 18th, 2013
According to NOAA's NOHRSC, there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground across the region. The midday Monday update from the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Airport had a snow depth of 9" and the Grand Forks, ND area had 14" on the ground.
What's that? SWE is considered to be "Snow Water Equivalent" which tells us how much 'water' is locked up in the snow. It's a good tool for hydrologists when forecasting during the spring flooding season. According to NOAA's NOHRSC, the modeled shallow SWE suggests that there is still several inches of 'water' locked in the snow acrss parts of the Red River Valley and northern Minnesota. That means that if any 8" core of that snowpack were to be melted down there would be the corresponding amount of liquid water in the legend. To me (guessing) it looks like for any 8" core that would be sampled across northern MN, you could get nearly 5" to 8" of water... Now, could you imagine if hundreds of thousands of acres of that snow were to melt rapidly? That would be a tremedous amount of water and that's what we don't want to happen this Spring!
Every midday Monday during the winter season when there's 2" of snow on the ground, a snow core is down to determine how water equivalent there is in the snow. The 18z METAR observation on March 18th revealed that there was 9" of snow on the ground (4/009) with that snow equating to 2" water equivalent (933020).
Regular Spring Flood Outlooks to Continue
The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities will continue their regular Spring Flooding outlooks until further notice. The next update is on March 21st... Here's the March 7th update:
With the snowfall in February, conditions have changed from below normal with the January outlooks to a Normal Risk of Flooding with the February Outlooks for locations including
Montevideo on the Minnesota River
Granite Falls on the Minnesota River
Redwood Falls o the Redwood River
New Ulm on the cottonwood River
Long Prairie on the Long Prairie River
St Cloud on the Sauk River
St Cloud in the Mississippi River
While severe to extreme drought conditions still exist still across the region, precipitation from December 2012 through the first part of March has been near normal to even above normal in some areas. Hence some regions do have a decent snow pack with water equivalents of 3 to 5 inches. The graphic below shows the amount of water in the snow pack on March 6, 2013.
The image below shows the streamflow analysis from Monday... all the red/orange dots indicate low streamflows, while the blue/black indicate high streamflows due to recent heavy rainfall in addtion to any snowmelt.
Thanks to @hbryant0722 for the picture below from the UA Campus in Tuscaloosa, AL. Strong thunderstorms rumbled across parts of the Southeast with lots of damage being reported on Monday
Monday was a BIG severe weather day for folks in the Southeast. This is a look at the line of thunderstorms from Monday early evening as they were rumbling across the area.
Storm Reports - Good Bookmark
Here's a good bookmark for you. This is a great interactive website to find information on individual storm reports. You can literally zoom down to street level!
Interesting Storm Report
I happened to stumble across this report yesterday from TN caused by a lightning strike. Good news that nobody was hurt! I'll just let you read the comment...