With the third rainy Saturday of the month forecast, April has held up its half of the old cliche about spring, and returning warmth next week may indeed give a boost to May flowers.

Cold rain is expected throughout the day across much of the southern half of Minnesota. The predicted high Twin Cities temperature of 47 would be 17 degrees below normal, putting an exclamation point on a cool second half of April. A chance of snow was even in the forecast overnight Friday for the Twin Cities. The normal April snowfall for the Twin Cities is 2.5 inches. Through Friday afternoon, there had been none this month.

The main farmers markets in both Minneapolis and St. Paul were scheduled to open for the season Saturday. Dave Morley, who operates the Blue Neon Espresso cart at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, was undeterred by the forecast, making some final repairs on this stand Friday evening.

"It'll be a good weekend. The hard-core people, they all come out," he said. Some growers have indicated they may skip this weekend's market in order to keep cold-vulnerable plants protected, but Morley said he expects others will sell plants from inside trucks.

Morley expects Mexican Mocha to be his top seller Saturday. "It's got some spice in it. It's hot," he said.

Precipitation, as rain, was running ahead of normal for April, representing at least a temporary stalemate with drought.

Of the previous eight months, seven had below-normal precipitation, running up a deficit of 7.45 inches. But that followed a wet stretch going back into 2010. Overall, since May 2010, precipitation for the Twin Cities has been 1.74 inches above normal.

The forecast calls for temperatures to rise back above normal early next week, with highs in the 70s.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646