Spring Birds Arriving By The Thousands !!

If you haven't been able to poke your head outside in the early morning hours yet this spring, give it a shot. You'll hear a spring chorus of many different birds that have either wintered close to home are are recently arriving from their migration south. Take a look at the amazing map below from BirdCast, which shows that lots of birds are on the wing and headed north by the thousands!

"Real-time analysis maps show intensities of actual nocturnal bird migration as detected by the US weather surveillance radar network between local sunset to sunrise. All graphics are relative to the Eastern time zone. The yellow line moving east to west represents the timing of local sunset. Areas with lighter colors experienced more intense bird migration. Orange arrows show directions to which birds flew. Green dots represent radar locations for which data are available; red dots represent radar locations with no data available. Note that many radars in mountainous areas (e.g. the Rockies) have obstructions that restrict radar coverage, providing the appearance of no migration where migration may be occurring. Brighter colors indicates a higher migration traffic rate (MTR) expressed in units birds/km/hour. The migration traffic rate indicates the number of birds per hour that fly across a one kilometer line transect on the earth's surface oriented perpendicular to the direction of movement of the birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology currently produces these maps. Support for this research came from NASA, Edward W. Rose Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Amazon Web Services. The BirdCast project was created by grants from the National Science Foundation and supported by additional grants from Leon Levy Foundation. To cite live migration map graphics, please use the following syntax: Dokter, A. M. Year/s of live migration map image. BirdCast, live migration map; date and time (most easily accessible from image file name/s). Cornell Lab of Ornithology. birdcast.info/live-migration-maps. Date/s of access or download."

See more from BirdCast HERE:

Dwindling Ice on Area Lakes

The ice is going fast on area lakes and ponds thanks to recent mild temps and stronger March sunshine. With continued warm temps and the potential of heavier rainfall this week, the ice will become even less safe. Be careful out there!

Average Ice Out Dates Across the State

Here's a look at the average ice out dates across the state. The orange markers across the southern part of the state indicate average ice out dates typically around the last week of March. We typically see average ice out across parts of central Minnesota and around the Twin Cities during the first couple of weeks of April. Folks across the northern third of the state typically see ice out closer to the start of May.

See more from the MN DNR HERE:

Heavy Precipitation Potential This Week

Weather models have been fairly consistent over the last several days, featuring a waterlogged storm system moving in this week. The weather outlook from midday Sunday to PM Thursday shows a very large storm swirling through the Midwest over a several day time period. This will likely prolong the precipitation potential, which could lead to 1" - 2" or more of total precipitation. There could also be some heavy snowfall potential on the colder side of the storm late Tuesday into Wednesday.

Heavy Precipitation Potential

Here's the precipitation potential through AM Friday, which shows widespread 1" to 2" tallies across much of Minnesota and into Wisconsin. There may even be some heavy snowfall potential late Tuesday through Thursday as this storm system moves through. Stay tuned!

March Summary So Far

Here's the latest March Summary for Minneapolis through March 19th. Note that the Twin Cities is more than +8F above average for the month, which is actually the 6th warmest start to any March on record! We're also pretty close to average precipitation, but running a deficit in the snowfall category by more than 3".

Sunday Weather Outlook For Minneapolis

Sunday will be another warm day for mid/late March. Temps will warm to near 60F once again with gusty SSE winds. Skies will also become cloudier through the day as our next weather maker gets closer to us. Rain chances will increase late in the day with a better chance arriving by the dinner hour.

Sunday Meteograms

Here are the meteograms for Sunday, which show temps warming from the 40s early in the morning to near 60F by mid afternoon. Clouds will also be on the increase with SSE wind gusts approaching 30mph to 40mph through the day.

Sunday Weather Outlook

High temps across the region on Sunday will be nearly 10F to 20F above average with high temps warming into the 50s across much of the state. A few locations across the southern and southeastern part of the state could warm into the low 60s! Unfortunately, winds will be quite strong with gusts approaching 30mph to 40mph through the day

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the extended temperature and weather outlook over the next 5 to 7 days. Note that high temps on Sunday will warm to near 60F, which will be nearly 15F to 20F above average for mid/late March. However, readings through the week will gradually cool to near normal levels by midweek. Areas of heavy precipitation will be possible across much of the region with slushy snow accumulations possible in a few spots Late Tuesday into Wednesday.

Spring Leaf Index

"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.March 15, 2021 Spring leaf out continues to spread north across the country. After arriving early in southern parts of Southwest and Southeast states, cold temperatures halted the progress of spring leaf out for several days across the northern part of the Southeast and Great Plains. Spring leaf out is now gaining momentum again as it moves into Midwest states. Spring bloom has arrived in parts of Southwest and Southeast states. Spring bloom is early in California and Arizona and late in parts of Southeast states."

See more from NPN HERE

Snowpack Melting Fast

Here's a look at the snowpack as of Friday, March 19th. Note that after a snowy start to the week last week, much of the snow has since melted.

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the ECMWF & GFS extended temperature outlook for Minneapolis through the end of March and into the early part of April. It looks like temps will take a bit of a hit during the middle and end of next week, but we could quickly warm to well above levels during the first few days of April. Stay tuned!

8 to 14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook shows the above average temperature readings continuing along the East Coast, but cooler than average temps will settle in through the Central US.

Mild Winds Give Way To Soaking Rains
By Paul Douglas

Will we enjoy an early spring this year Paul?" How are your NCAA Tournament brackets holding up? Predicting the future is tough -providing clarity on a tenuous Minnesota spring is like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. Good luck with that.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center forecasts milder than normal weather into mid-April for Minnesota and much of the USA. With a sun angle equivalent to mid-September and snow cover in Canada beginning to shrink, the odds of polar air (and subzero fun) are pretty slim. We should celebrate spring, but keep our expectations low.

Strained sunshine lures the mercury close to 60F this afternoon. South winds may gust to 40 mph at times. But I'll fixate on alack of bugs, allergies and humidity.

As much as an inch of rain may douse the area Tuesday & Wednesday, ending as slush up north. Weather models predict plowable amounts near Brainerd and the Arrowhead.

No atmospheric zingers are in sight, otherwise - mostly 50s into late March. Yes, we could do considerably worse.

Extended Forecast

SUNDAY:Gusty. Late shower. Winds: S 20-40. High: 60.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with a chance of rain. Winds: S 5-15. Low: 43.

MONDAY: Peeks of sun, showers south of MSP. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 55.

TUESDAY: Soaking rain likely. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 41. High: 48.

WEDNESDAY: Rain ends as wet snow up north. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 48. High: 41.

THURSDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NSE 5-10. Wake-up: 30. High: 55.

FRIDAY: Cooler, mix of clouds and sun. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 28. High: 46.

SATURDAY:Some sun, milder than average. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 30. High: 53.

This Day in Weather History

March 21st

1953: A tornado hits the northern St. Cloud area. High winds from thunderstorms are experienced from Martin to Stearns County.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis

March 21st

Average High: 44F(Record: 76F set in 1938)

Average Low: 26F (Record: -8Fset in 1965)

Record Rainfall: 0.83" set in 1904

Record Snowfall: 3.9" set in 2008

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

March 21st

Sunrise: 7:14am

Sunset: 7:27pm

Hours of Daylight: ~12hours & 13minutes

Daylight GAINEDsinceyesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 9seconds

Daylight GAINEDsince WinterSolstice (December 21st): ~ 3 hours & 27 minutes

Moon Phase for March 21st at Midnight

0.7 Days Since First Quarter Moon

What's in the Night Sky?

"Now spring has arrived for the Northern Hemisphere (and autumn for the Southern Hemisphere). Yet – on March 21 and 22, 2021 – the waxing moon is moving inside a large circular (or hexagonal) star pattern, known as theWinterCircle (or Winter Hexagon). It's not one of the 88 official constellations. It's just a large, noticeable pattern of stars, anasterism. It consists of seven bright stars in six separate constellations. In March 2021, the red planet Mars makes up part of the Winter Circle too! The ecliptic – path of the sun, moon and planets, marked in green on our chart – cuts through the Winter Circle. So, during the months the Circle is visible, the moon spends a few days each month sweeping through these stars. The Winter Circle stars are:"

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

National High Temps Sunday

Here's the weather outlook on Sunday, which shows pretty mild temps in place from the Midwest to the Northeast with temps running nearly +10F to +20F above average. Meanwhile, temps in the Western US will be running below average with areas of rain and snow moving through the Intermountain-West

National Forecast Map For Sunday

The weather map on Sunday shows more active weather moving from the Western US into the Central US.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook through early next week, which shows a fairly potent storm system moving into the Central US with areas of showers and storms across the Southern US.

Extended Precipitation Outlook

The extended precipitation outlook over the next 7 days shows areas of heavy rains across the Gulf Coast states with several inches of rain possible through the week. There will also be another swath of heavy precipitation through the Midwest, including parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Extended Snowfall Outlook

Areas of heavy snow will still be possible across the Western US, but there also appears to be a potential of heavy snow across parts of the Upper Midwest during the middle part of the week. Stay tuned.

Climate Stories

"Meteorologist, climate expert, zombie slayer: a Q&A with J. Marshall Shepherd"

"Weather is not climate. A single devastating hurricane is not in itself proof that climate change is tipping the scales in favor of larger, slower-moving, and more extreme storms. But the notion that the two are entirely separate is a misconception, too."They've always been connected," said J. Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist at the University of Georgia. "I just think there's been a misunderstanding."Shepherd, who chairs NASA's Earth Sciences Advisory Committee and has testified numerous times before Congress about climate change, is a former president of the American Meteorological Society and was the co-host of The Weather Channel's Weather Geeks podcast. He has dedicated much of his career to correcting misconceptions about climate change. His 2013 TED talk, "Slaying the Climate Zombies" — one of the most-viewed climate lectures on YouTube — argues for turning climate change into a "dining room–table issue." In it, he connects rising temperatures, extreme weather, and ballooning drought to things people care about: the future their children will inherit and the rising cost of household items like Cheerios."

See more from Grist HERE:

"White House appoints former NOAA leader Jane Lubchenco to key climate change role"

"The White House has appointed Jane Lubchenco, a well-known marine scientist at Oregon State University and former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to a high-level position coordinating climate and environmental issues within its Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The announcement scheduled for Friday marks another step in the Biden administration's all-of-government approach to tackling climate change. Lubchenco is serving in the renamed position of deputy director for climate and the environment, which in previous administrations had been known as the head of "energy and the environment." The renaming signifies the emphasis the Biden Administration is placing on climate change. Lubchenco's portfolio encompasses a broad set of issues that President Biden asked OSTP officials to address in a letter on Jan. 15. In the letter to Eric Lander, nominated to serve as presidential science adviser, Biden tasked OSTP with finding climate change solutions that will help improve the economy and health, "especially in communities that have been left behind."

See more from Washington Post HERE:

"Warming Trends: Climate Refugees, Ocean Benefits and Tropical Species Moving North"

"A column highlighting climate-related studies, innovations, books, cultural events and other developments from the global warming frontier. Natural and Climate-Related Disasters Create The Most RefugeesOver 12 million people around the world have been pushed out of their homes in the last six months,a new report says, 80 percent of whom were displaced due to natural and climate-related disasters. Most of these displacements occurred in Asian and Pacific countries, according to the report issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The region was walloped with 26 climate disasters last year, including three storms that hit the Philippines within a month, one of which was a late-season Category 5 storm that drove at least a million people from their homes and left 3 million without basic needs. "Repeat events mean that people are barely able to recover from being displaced by one disaster before being hit by another one, which can lead to secondary displacement," said Helen Brunt, Asia Pacific Migration and Displacement Coordinator for the IFRC. Displacement tends to disproportionately harm the most vulnerable populations, Brunt said. For example, sexual violence occurs more often in temporary shelters that house evacuees, and displaced people can lose identifying documents and run the risk of becoming stateless."

See more from Inside Climate News HERE:

Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter@TNelsonWX