Slow Tuesday Commute
Our latest winter storm will bring bands of heavy snowfall to parts of southern Minnesota and into Wisconsin, which will create snowy and icy roads and slow commutes through the day.
Snow Continues Into Tuesday
Ugh... is it spring yet? Weather maps look a little more like winter right now as another last season snow event unfolds across the region. Monday's snow will continue across parts of the region with another surge of even heavier snow expected across parts of southern and southeastern Minnesota on Tuesday, where some 6" to 10" tallies can't be ruled out.
"Bands of snow will continue through the day, with the heaviest between mid-late morning, through the early afternoon. The snowfall will begin to taper off by late afternoon, but light snow and blowing snow will likely continue through midnight."
Winter Weather Headlines
Here's the latest on our winter storm that will be moving through the region today:
...HEAVY SNOW EXPECTED ACROSS SOUTHERN MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN TODAY...
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for areas south of a line from Canby, to Hutchinson, to the Twin Cities, to Ladysmith. Accumulations of 5 to 9 inches are expected in this area, with locally 10 or 11 inches possible in a corridor from near Saint James to Red Wing.
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for much of the rest of central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are expected in this area.
Snow has already begun redeveloping across southern Minnesota early this morning. Occasional light to moderate snow early this morning will become heavier by mid morning and continue into late afternoon. Snowfall rates of an inch per hour are possible from mid morning to mid afternoon. The snow will begin to taper off late this afternoon across western Minnesota, with the back edge reaching the I-35 corridor mid evening. Both commutes are expected to be significantly impacted.
In addition, winds gusting as high as 30 to 35 mph could cause some blowing and drifting snow, particularly across western and southern Minnesota.
Here's the weather outlook from AM Tuesday into midday Wednesday, which shows snow continuing much of the day Tuesday before tapering late Tuesday evening. The good news is that Wednesday looks much quieter, but it will certainly be VERY chilly for early April with highs in the 20s and lower 30s, which will be nearly -20F to -25F below average. YIKES.
Snowfall Potential - Storm Total Monday Through Tuesday
Here's the NWS Snowfall potential from Monday to AM Wednesday. This includes the Monday and Tuesday snow, which will be fairly widespread across the southern half of the state into Wisconsin. Several locations could see 4" to 6" with some 6" to 10" tallies possible across southern and southeastern Minnesota. Keep in mind that April only averages 2.4" at the Twin Cities airport, so we could certainly exceed that with this single event.
Minnesota Twins Home Opener Tursday, April 5th - Coldest On Record?
A sure sign of spring is when the boys of summer return to a ballpark near you. I am happy to report that your Minnesota Twins will be back in action at Target Field this Thursday, April 5th, but the sold out crowd could be in for a rude awakening with temps in the 20s! Brr!! This has the potential to become the coldest Home Opener in recorded history. Note that the coldest was on April 14th, 1962 when the mercury only reached 34F. The current forecast for Thursday is only 35F... Stay tuned.
"Chinese space station plunges into the ocean. No one hurt. No one there."
"After much fanfare, the rogue Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, finally plunged through the Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over the southern Pacific Ocean at 5:16 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday. It burst into flames and tiny pieces as it made its long-anticipated descent, the Joint Force Space Component Command said in a news release posted on Twitter. It was an anticlimactic finale, as space agencies had warned of the falling space debris — about the size of a school bus — since China lost contact with it in September 2016. The element of suspense heightened in recent weeks, as international space officials maintained that there was no way to know exactly where the Tiangong 1 might strike, even as it hurtled closer and closer to Earth. The attention paid to Tiangong 1, China’s first space station in orbit, was largely due to its size — 19,000 pounds — and the nature of its uncontrolled descent, which isn’t supposed to happen, as The Washington Post reported."
2017 Ice Out Dates
Take a look at ice out dates across the state from last year. Note the darker red markers, which indicated that ice out occurred on many lakes in central and southern MN before March 18th! As of March 31st, we have no ice outs anywhere across the state this year.
Red-winged Blackbirds are still arriving in backyards near you. Take a look at the map below from Journey North, which suggests where some of the Red-winged Blackbirds have been located. I haven't actually seen any yet, but I have heard a few in the distance.
Spring Leaf Index
According to the USA National Phenology Network, the spring leaf index shows spring creeping north. As of March 19th, the red colors indicated spring leaves emerging earlier than normal, while the blue indicated that spring leaves have emerged later than normal. It was a later than normal start to the season across the Gulf Coast States, but across the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, things are off to an earlier start. Keep in mind that the average bloom date for lilacs in the Twin Cities is around May 10th, so we still have a ways to go, but it's coming!
Here's the latest modeled snow depth across the state from April 2nd, which shows quite a bit of snow still on the ground across much of the state. With our next event unfolding across the region Monday and Tuesday, I expect that just about the entire state will have some some on the ground by Wednesday morning.
Extended Temperature Forecast
The extended forecast through the middle part of April suggests very chilly temps as we head through the first week and a half of the month. Highs may only warm into the 20s a few days, which is more typical of February. Keep in mind that the average high for the early part of April is in the low to mid 50s, so we are going to be WELL below average. However, it appears that temps will get back to near average (hopefully) by the middle part of the month. Hopefully the 2nd half of the month will feel more like spring. By the way, the last time the Twin Cities had a high in the 60s was on November 27th, 2017.
Great Lakes Lake Effect
Here's a neat satellite images from early Monday morning, which showed a very wintry scene from Nebraska to Ohio with a fresh strip of snow in those areas.
Great Lakes Ice Coverage
According to NOAA's GLERL, the Great Lakes were 15.3% covered in ice as of April 1st. Interestingly only 3.3% of the Great Lakes were covered at this time last year.
Lake Superior Ice Coverage
Here's a look at the ice coverage across Lake Superior and as of April 2nd, NOAA's GLERL, said that 26.9% of Lake Superior was covered. Interestingly, at last time last year only 1.6% of the lake was covered in ice! Quite a difference from this year to last.
Snow Depth 2018
The snow depth map across the country for April 2nd suggests that 26.0% 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, 13.3% of the nation was covered in snow. As of April 2nd, the Twin Cities officially had no snow on the ground at the MSP Airport, and 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, 13.3% of the nation was covered in snow.
2018 Tornadoes So Far...
According to NOAA's SPC, there have been 124 preliminary tornadoes so far this year (March 31st), which is more than what we had at this time in the last couple of years. Interestingly, there were 516 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.
Average Tornadoes in March 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.
3-7 Day Hazard Forecast
- Heavy rain across portions of the Midwest, the Ohio Valley, and the Central Appalachians, Mon-Tue, Apr 2-3.
- Flooding possible, occurring, or imminent across portions of the Great Lakes, the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, South Dakota, the Southern Plains, and the Midwest.
- Heavy rain across portions of California and the Pacific Northwest, Thu-Fri, Apr 5-6.
- Much below-normal temperatures across portions of the Northern and Central Plains, the Great Lakes, and the Upper and Middle Mississippi Valley, Mon-Fri, Apr 2-Apr 6.
- High risk of much below-normal temperatures for portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley and the Northern Plains, Sat-Sun, Apr 7-8.
- Moderate risk of much below-normal temperatures for portions of the Northern and Central Plains, the Upper and Middle Mississippi Valley, the western Great Lakes, and the Midwest, Sat-Tue, Apr 7-10.
- Slight risk of much below-normal temperatures from the areas east of the Rockies extending from the Northern and Central Plains through the Atlantic coast, Sat-Wed, Apr 7-Apr 11.
- Moderate risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Southern Appalachians, the Southeast, and the Ohio Valley, Sat-Tue, Apr 7-10.
- Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, the Central and Southern Appalachians, the Tennessee Valley, the Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the Southern Plains, and the Ohio Valley, Sat-Wed, Apr 7-11.
- Slight risk of heavy precipitation for portions of California, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Pacific Northwest, Sat, Apr 7.
- Severe Drought across the Great Plains, the Central and Southern Rockies, the Central Great Basin, California, the Southeast, and the Southwest.
Major River Flooding
According to NOAA, there were 103 river gauges in flood stage as of Monday, 7 of which where at Major flood stage! Interestingly, 2 of those are in North Dakota near Devils Lake.
MAJOR Flooding Along Trinity River at Liberty, TX
Take a look at the river gauge along the Trinity River at Liberty, TX. Thanks to all the recent heavy rain from last week, the river went into MAJOR flood stage over the weekend and could stay there through the first full week of April.
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.
Temperature Anomaly on Monday
The temperature anomaly across North America from Monday, showed above average temperatures across much of the Southwestern US Meanwhile, cooler than average temperatures across much of Canada and now across much of the Central US. This colder air is expected to remain across much of the Central US throught the first full week of April.
The 850mb temperature anomaly from Tuesday to Thursday shows well below normal temps across much of the Central US with another round of cold air expected in the Upper Midwest later this week. Meanwhile, warmer than average temps will be found in the Southwest.
Weather Outlook Ahead
Weather conditions will be pretty active through the first half of the week as our next storm system develops across the Central US. Areas of heavy snow will be found across the northern tier of the nation, while areas of heavy rain and strong to severe storms will be possible in the Central and Southern US. This storm will move into the Eastern US during the 2nd half of the week.
Severe Threats Ahead
The storm system that will be moving through the Central US during the early week time frame will also be responsible for severe weather across the Eastern half of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday. NOAA’s SPC has an ENHANCED risk area for the potential of strong to severe storms across parts of the Ohio & Tennessee Valley late Tuesday, while a SLIGHT risk extends south into the Lower Mississippi Valley. Large hail, damaging winds and even a few isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out.
Severe Threat Tuesday
Severe Threat Wednesday
7 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7-day precipitation outlook suggests areas of heavy precipitation moving into the Southern US once again this week. Areas of heavy precipitation will also be possible across parts of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast. Another round of heavy precipitation will move into the Pacific Northwest with areas of snow in the high elevations.
Snowfall Potential Ahead
The GFS snowfall potential into the first full week of April suggests areas of heavy snow across parts of the northern tier of the nation. Some spots could see 6” to 12”+ over the week ahead.
Wintry Hangover and Disgruntled Snow Birds.
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas.
My grandparents recently arrived back to their Wisconsin home after spending the winter in Texas and boy did I get an ear full about the weather up here! LOL.
Yes, I am just as fed up with this wintry hangover as you are and I think most locals are getting restless. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. At least not yet, ugh!
Our prolonged and plowable snow event continues through the evening with heavy, wet snow totals approaching 6 to 10 inches across southern Minnesota and into Badgerland. A stiff wind on the back side of the storm could bring wind chill values into the sub-zero range Wednesday morning, making it feel more like January.
The Minnesota Twins Home Opener is Thursday and folks heading to the game could be part of history as it could be the coldest home opener on record! The coldest was April 14th, 1962 when the mercury only warmed to 34 degrees and we will be very close to that this year. Hopefully the bats will be hot!
The weather remains active with another rain/snow mix possible Sunday.
TUESDAY: Windy. Shovable snow. Winds: NNW 15-25. High: 30.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Light snow ends overnight. Winds: NNW 10-15. Low: 9
WEDNESDAY: Some patchy sun. Feels like February. Winds: W 5-10. High: 30.
THURSDAY: Coldest Twins Home Opener on record? Winds: WNW 10-15. Wake-up: 15. High: 33.
FRIDAY: Brisk sunshine. -20F below average. WNW 5-10. Wake-up: 13. High: 29.
SATURDAY: Cold, but sunny start. More PM clouds. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 15. High: 36.
SUNDAY: Rain/snow mix. Nor sign of spring... Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 26. High: 39.
MONDAY: Cold winds develop. Lingering snow. NW 10-20. Wake-up: 27. High: 37.
This Day in Weather History
1999: An ice storm hits Duluth and the Arrowhead. An 800 foot television tower in Duluth collapses due to the weight of the ice.
1982: A sharp cold front causes the temperature at Lamberton in Redwood County to drop from 78 to 7 degrees. This 71 degree change in 24 hours is the maximum 24-hour temperature change in Minnesota.
1837: A snowstorm rages for four days at Ft. Snelling and dumps 9 inches.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 51F (Record: 80F set in 1921)
Average Low: 32F (Record: 9F set in 1954)
Record Rainfall: 0.91" set in 1999
Record Snowfall: 1.5" set in 1964
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~12 hours & 53 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 6 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): 4 Hour 8 Minutes
Moon Phase for April 3rd at Midnight
3.8 Days After Full “Sap” Moon
Temp Outlook For Tuesday
Temps on Tuesday will be a VERY chilly once again. Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities is 51F for the 3rd day of the month, so we will be nearly -20F below that mark.
8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the early and even middle part of April could be quite chilly across much of the eastern half of the nation. Meanwhile, the Western and Southwestern US will be warmer than average.
"Snapshots of the Sun"
"Solar photography has come a long way since the first daguerreotype of the Sun in 1845, writes Lauren Fuge. Humans have worshipped the Sun throughout all of recorded history and began to study it systematically as early as the 8th century BC, when the Babylonians took note of solar eclipses. But it’s difficult to observe a blazing fireball in the sky. Today, advanced imaging techniques and dedicated spacecraft have made it possible to get up close and personal with our celestial neighbour — and it all began on a spring day in 1845."
"Most Expensive Weather Disaster of 2018: a $3.9 Billion Drought in Argentina and Uruguay"
"A severe lack of rainfall during over southern South America during the summer of 2017 - 2018 has led to the worst drought in decades over portions of Argentina and Uruguay. According to insurance broker Aon Benfield, total losses are near $3.9 billion, making the drought the most expensive weather-related disaster on the planet so far in 2018--and the most expensive disaster in the history of both Argentina and Uruguay. Hardest-hit was Argentina, where the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange predicted that the drought would likely cause an economic loss of $3.4 billion. Argentina’s 2018 soybean harvest is expected to be near the record-low harvest of the drought year of 2009; both severe droughts occurred during weak La Niña events. According to EM-DAT, the international disaster database, the $3.4 billion cost of this year’s drought exceeds a $3 billion flood (2018 dollars) from October 1985 as Argentina’s most expensive disaster on record."
"A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket ripped a temporary hole in Earth's upper atmosphere"
"On August 24, 2017, the charged particles of Earth's ionosphere were doing what they typically do: hanging out between 37 and 620 miles above the Earth's surface, basking in incoming ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Suddenly, and rather rudely from the ionosphere's perspective, many of these particles were blown apart as a massive shockwave swept through this layer of the atmosphere. The massive, circular shockwave — which was four times the size of the state of California — accompanied the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Taiwanese Earth observation satellite into orbit about 450 miles above the planet. "
"World’s largest solar energy project will be 100 times bigger than any other on the planet"
200 gigawatts of solar power. $200 billion. 100,000 jobs. Those are the numbers attached to the SoftBank Solar Project, which is set to become the biggest solar farm in the world thanks to a deal signed by Saudi Arabia and Japanese conglomerate company SoftBank‘s Vision Fund. The move could help Saudi Arabia, the largest oilexporter in the world, progress from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Saudis and SoftBank, signing a memorandum of understanding, are moving forward on a massive solar development that could see hundreds of gigawatts installed by 2030. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled the plan earlier this week; the crown prince said, “It’s a huge step in human history. It’s bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that.”
"New Director for the National Hurricane Center: Ken Graham"
"NOAA announced on Thursday that Kenneth Graham, meteorologist-in-charge of the New Orleans/Baton Rouge office of the National Weather Service (NWS), will be the next director of the NOAA/NWS National Hurricane Center (NHC). Graham will take his new post on April 1, succeeding acting director Ed Rappaport. Graham has deep roots in the Gulf Coast states. He joined NOAA in 1994 after working as a broadcast meteorologist at WCBI (Columbus, MS). Before moving to the New Orleans area, he served as meteorologist-in-charge at the NWS offices in Birmingham, AL, and Corpus Christi, TX, and headed the systems operations division of the NWS Southern Region in Fort Worth, TX, where he led the agency’s recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina."
"Cool-Season Tornadoes are Becoming More Common, Especially in “Dixie Alley”"
"A new study finds that the months of November to February are seeing an increase in average tornado activity, with a shift away from the Southern Plains and a ramp-up over the favored terrain of “Dixie Alley,” including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Published this month in Weather and Forecasting, the study was produced by Samuel Childs (Colorado State University), along with Russ Schumacher (CSU) and John Allen (Central Michigan University). The authors examined 4293 tornadoes reported between 1953 and 2015 during the cool-season months from November to February (NDJF). The latest findings add to an expanding body of work suggesting that tornadoes are becoming a bit less likely in the classic Tornado Alley region and more common across the South and mid-South, especially during the cooler months. “Given that this region has one of the highest societal vulnerabilities in the country, an increase in cold-season tornado activity poses many risks and warrants investigation into potential meteorological influences,” the authors note."
"Both Poles Are Having a Weird, Bad Year For Sea Ice So Far"
"As Americans were donning green shirts and tossing back pints of Guinness, the Arctic was limping toward its annual wintertime sea ice maximum. According to data released Friday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, it was the second-lowest annual maximum on record. Sea ice in the Arctic very likely peaked on March 17 at 5.6 million square miles (14.5 million square kilometers), just 450,000 square miles above its maximum extent in 2017. That was the poorest wintertime sea ice showing since satellite record-keeping began in 1979. The four lowest peaks on record? 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. It’s almost as if we’re experiencing some sort of trend."
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