Countdown to Spring (Vernal Equinox)
Saturday, March 20th @ 4:37AM

the worst of winter's wrath is generally behind us during the month of March, but it still can be snowy at times. In fact, MSP typically sees around 9" of snow during this month, but more impressively, we gain more than 3 minutes of daylight each day during the month and if you do the math, we gain about an extra 1.5 hour of daylight through the month! The sunset on March 1st is around 6PM, but by the end of the month (and thanks to the time change on March 14th) our sunset on March 31st is at 7:40PM! The official start to spring (Vernal Equinox) is on Saturday, March 20th at 4:37AM this year.

Snowpack Will Melt Fast Next Several Days

Here's a look at the snowpack as of Sunday, February 28th. With several very mild and sunny days in the forecast, the snowpack will likely melt quite quickly across the region over the coming days & weeks. That also means that ice conditions on area lakes could start deteriorating over the coming weeks as well!

Lake Superior Ice Coverage Update

Thanks to very cold weather during the first half of February, ice coverage across Lake Superior is running much higher than it did during the first 2 months of Meteorological Winter (December & January). As of February 28th, nearly 14% of Lake Superior was covered in ice. At this time last year, only 7% was covered, while nearly 85% was covered back in 2019. Looking at the graph of this winter's ice coverage vs the long term average, we actually spiked to above average levels during the middle part of the month during the Arctic outbreak, but we're running below average once again. The average ice coverage on Lake Superior as of March 1st is a little more than 40%.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage Update

Here's the Great Lakes Ice Coverage as of late February. Note that nearly 18% is covered in ice. At this time last year, only 10% was covered, while nearly 70% was covered in 2019.

Status of Spring - Spring Leaf Index Anomaly

"How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The First Leaf and First Bloom Indices are synthetic measures of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. These models allowus to track the progression of spring onset across the country.Spring leaf out has arrived in southern states. Spring arrived on time to one week late in Florida and southern Texas, was one-two weeks early in the middle and northern part of Southeast states, and has since slowed and is a few days late in Georgia and the Carolinas. Spring is days to weeks early in parts of the Southwest and West coast."

See more from USA NPN HERE:

Tuesday Weather Outlook

Tuesday will be a much warmer day than it was on Monday with temps warming into the low/mid 40s by the afternoon. The only fly in the ointment will be the strong SSW winds that could gust up close to 30mph at times. The warm and windy will weather help to melt a bunch of snow out there during the day.

Tuesday Meteograms for Minneapolis

The meteograms for Minneapolis on Tuesday shows temps starting in the 20s early in the day, but will quickly warm through the 30s and top out in the low/mid 40s by the afternoon with lots of sunshine. Gusty SSW winds could reach 30mph at times in the Twin Cities.

Tuesday Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook across the region for Tuesday, which shows mostly sunny and very warm conditions across the region. Highs will warm into the 40s across much of Minnesota and Wisconsin, which will be nearly +10F to +20F above average for early March. Highs may even warm into the 50s across the Dakotas!

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the 850mb temp anomaly from AM Tuesday to AM Monday. The warmer oranges and reds will be in place across much of the Upper Midwest, which will help to boost surface temps to above average levels during that time frame. The warmest days appear to be with us next weekend and into early next week.

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the extended weather outlook over the next 5 to 7 days. After a chilly first day of March and Meteorological Spring, temps will warm back into the 40s on Tuesday and through the rest of the week, which will prompt a marked warming through the first half of March. We're still getting indications of highs approaching 50F by next weekend. If we hit 50F, it'll be the first time since December 9th, 2020 when we hit 52F. Highs on Monday could even near 60F, which would be the first time in the 60s since November 9th when we hit 66F.

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the ECMWF & GFS extended temperature outlook for Minneapolis through mid March. After a chilly first day of March on Monday, the rest of the week and the weekend ahead will be in the 40s. Interestingly, the models are even suggesting highs in the 50s heading into the 2nd week of March and possibly even near 60F!

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures across the Eastern half of the nation, including the Upper Midwest. Cooler than average temps will lingering across the western US and into Alaska.

A Dash of Spring Fever On The Way
By Paul Douglas

Welcome to spring! Well, Meteorological Spring. If you research the coldest 90-day stretch the coldest days of winter usually show up roughly December 1 to March 1. Of course your results may vary.

Much of winter was milder than average, but Old Man Winter got his revenge in February. Over 9F colder than average at MSP, where we enjoyed 13 subzero nights and 4 subzero daytime "highs". It was the 25th coldest February on record, if anyone asks (doubtful).

Big weather-swings in one direction are often followed by swings in the opposite direction. That will be the case for the first half of March, with a persistent Pacific breeze luring the mercury 10-20F warmer than average. Lingering snow cover will act as a "brake", limiting how mild it can get, but a few days above 50F seem likely in the days ahead.

The atmosphere should be mild enough for a few rain events next week, and I envision a stormier pattern returning by mid-month. Tournament storms. Subzero is behind us, but don't write off slush just yet.

Extended Forecast

TUESDAY: Sunny, breezy and milder. Winds: SW 15-25. High: 43.

TUESDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and quiet. Winds: WSW 5-10. Low: 28.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, slightly feverish. Winds: E 3-8. High: 46.

THURSDAY: Blue sky, a few robin sightings? Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 29. High: 48.

FRIDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 30. High: 47.

SATURDAY:Bright sunshine, occasional potholes. Winds: W 3-8. Wake-up: 27. High: 48.

SUNDAY:Plenty of sun, hints of April. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 29. High: 50.

MONDAY: Mild with rain showers. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 40. High: 54.

This Day in Weather History

March 2nd

1913: A record low of 24 degrees below zero is set at the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis

March 2nd

Average High: 35F(Record: 54F set in 1923)

Average Low: 19F (Record: -17Fset in 1913)

Record Rainfall: 0.58" set in 1951

Record Snowfall: 7.1" set in 1951

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

March 1st

Sunrise: 6:48am

Sunset: 6:02pm

Hours of Daylight: ~11hours & 14minutes

Daylight GAINEDsinceyesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 6seconds

Daylight GAINEDsince WinterSolstice (December 21st): ~ 2 hours & 28 minutes

Moon Phase for March 2nd at Midnight

2.8 Day Before Last Quarter

What's in the Night Sky?

"Mercury, the solar system's innermost planet, makes a close-knit conjunction with the king planet Jupiter on March 5, 2021, and then reaches its maximum elongation from the sun for the year on March 6, 2021. But don't wait till then to start looking for these worlds. Starting early March, from around the world, Jupiter and Mercury snuggle up plenty close together on the sky's dome, beneath the planet Saturn! The feature chart at top is for March 3, 2021, at North American mid-northern latitudes. At Mercury's greatest elongation on March 6, the solar system's innermost planet swings to a whopping 27.3degreeswest of the sun, placing Mercury in the morning sky before sunrise. That's the maximumangular separationbetween the sun and Mercury for all of 2021! You might think right now should feature the best time to see Mercury in 2021. Yes, that's the case if you live in the world's Southern Hemisphere. From the Southern Hemisphere, before sunup, you will find a glorious sight awaiting you. The line-up of three planets – Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn – soars much higher up in the Southern Hemisphere morning sky than at comparable latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

National High Temps Tuesday

Here's the weather outlook on Tuesday, which shows temps along the East Coast running around -5F to -15F below average. Readings from the Southwest to the Midwest will be running nearly +5F to +10F above average.

National Forecast Map For Tuesday

The weather map on Tuesday shows somewhat active weather across the Gulf Coast States, where areas of showers and storms will be possible. Some of the rain could be locally heavy at times. The rest of the region looks pretty quiet on Tuesday.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook through the midweek, which shows unsettled weather moving across the Gulf Coast States through PM Tuesday/AM Wednesday. Other than a little more unsettled weather moving into the Southwest midweek, much of the rest of the nation will be quiet.

7 Day Precipitation Outlook

The precipitation potential over the next 7 days shows heavier precipitation potential across the Gulf Coast States through midweek. Also note that there will be some much needed precipitation across parts of the Southwest. However, the northern tier of the nation looks fairly quiet.

7 Day Snowfall Potential

The extended GFS snowfall forecast over the 5 to 7 days shows fairly quiet conditions across the central and eastern US. There will be some snowfall across the high elevations in the Western US as well as some in the New England States, but there doesn't appear to be any big snowmakers in the eastern two-thirds of the nation this week.

Climate Stories

"Hurricane Hunters faced a grueling pace in 2020. With climate change, it may not let up."

"The Air Force Reserve and NOAA operate fleets in latter half of their service lives. Before dawn on Oct. 27 of last year, Lt. Col. Mark Withee and four crewmates climbed on board an Air Force Reserve WC-130J "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft, and took off from Mississippi's Keesler Air Force Base. They were on their way to explore Tropical Storm Zeta in the Gulf of Mexico, on what was a record-setting flight. It wasn't the storm, but rather their final destination that made the flight so unusual. Instead of heading back to Keesler, the plane landed at a base in San Antonio, Texas. For the fourth time that season the Hurricane Hunters had to evacuate their home base because of the threat of a hurricane there, which is believed to be the highest number of base evacuations in the squadron's history. "We've never been at this level of activity, to repeatedly hurrevac this frequently," Withee, a navigator who is also in charge of planning the evacuations, said in an interview."

See more from Washington Post HERE:

"NASA Releases Time-Lapse Of Record-Breaking 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season"

"The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was one for the record books, and NASA's recently-released time-lapse video captured just how insane it was. As CBS4 Meteorologist Dave Warren noted in hisweather year-ender, for just the second time in history, the standard 21 storm names would not be enough. By the end of the record-breaking 2020 season, there were30 named storms, finishing with Category 5 Hurricane Iota. Thirteen of those storms became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes. Twelve of them made landfall in the U.S. The nearly four-and-a-half minute time-lapse video captured all that activity via NASA'sIntegrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM, or IMERG for short. NASA'sScientific Visualization Studio, the team behind the project, explained that IMERG gathers large amounts of data in near-real time to help "researchers better understand Earth's water cycle and extreme weather events, with applications for disaster management, tracking disease, resource management, energy production and food security." According toNOAA, Hurricanes Zeta, Delta, Sally, Laura, Isaias and Hanna caused an estimated $38.6 billion in damage and resulted in 74 deaths. If you factor in Tropical Storm Eta, that's another $1.5 billion in damages and 12 additional deaths."

See more from Miami CBS HERE:

"What's the coldest Earth has ever been?"

"For much of its history, our planet has been hotter – sometimes much hotter – than it is today. But our planet has also been colder. Scientists may never know which period in our planet's 4.54-billion-year history was the absolute coldest, but research has revealed a few contenders. All of these periods have been identified as ancient ice ages. Some of the coldest conditions struck over 2 billion years ago, after the rise of atmospheric oxygen. More deep freezes occurred between 750 and 600 million years ago. Although scientists debate exactly how extensive the ice coverage was during these times, the evidence indicates that ice reached sea level in equatorial regions. In the past few million years, glaciers have blanketed huge expanses of the Northern Hemisphere off and on. Though less severe than the near-global glaciations, the Pleistocene ice ages may have brought the coldest conditions in the last half a billion years. Some of the worst cold struck about 20,000 years ago."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

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