Windy, Warm Friday

Another very nice day is expected on Friday here in the Twin Cities, as morning temperatures start off in the mid-20s, climbing to around 40F for a high. Skies are likely to be fairly cloudy during the day, and I can't rule out some sprinkles during the afternoon hours. We will also see strong winds out of the south up to 20 mph sustained with 35 mph wind gusts.

A mainly cloudy day is expected across much of the state Friday. The best chance of sun peaking through the clouds will be in the morning in the eastern portions of the state, and later in the afternoon in western Minnesota. A few sprinkles could be possible at times. Highs will be in the 30s to low 40s across the state, about 5-15F degrees above average.

Winds will be strong out of the south throughout the day across the state. Wind gusts could peak between about 35-40 mph in the Twin Cities during the midday and early afternoon hours before decreasing toward sunset.


The Weekend Outlook Includes A Snow Chance

Everybody is working for the weekend... and that weekend is almost here! Saturday we should see a mix of sun and clouds in the Twin Cities (more clouds across northern Minnesota) with highs climbing to around 40F once again. Chances of snow are increasing as we head into Saturday night as it looks like a band of snow will move across southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. A cold front will also move through during the weekend, helping to knock down temperatures downward on Sunday with highs only topping off around 30F.

Here's a look at that potential snow as we head toward Midnight Saturday Night. The heaviest will be across southern Minnesota, where an inch or two would be possible.


The Snow Is Melting

With the warmer weather in place the past few days, the snow melting has commenced. Tuesday morning we had 8" of snow on the ground at MSP airport, and 2" of that has melted away as of Thursday morning. More melting snow is expected over the next several days, though progress might not be as swift due to cooler temperatures for the second half of the weekend and early next week.


Warm Weather Continues

Highs remain in the low 40s the next couple of days in the Twin Cities before that cold front moves through, bringing some cooler air for the second half of the weekend and beginning of next week. However, highs will quickly climb back into the 40s heading toward the middle of the week.

Looking at the extended outlook, we should see highs continue in the 30s and 40s through the first week of March. The American GFS does continue to show the potential of 50s as we head toward the second week of March - which would certainly feel nice!


February Summary Through Wednesday

With the recent warmer weather, our average temperature continues to slowly recover from the Arctic cold snap earlier this month. Through Wednesday, our average temperature was still around 12F degrees below average, tied for the 15th coldest start to February on record. The average temperature will continue to recover as we head through the end of the month this weekend, but I have to imagine we'll still finish February below average. Precipitation and snow are below average as well and should finish that way as well with the only appreciable chance of precipitation through the end of the month arriving Saturday Night.


Low Threat Of Significant Flooding On The Red River This Spring

Good news! The abnormally dry conditions and meager snowpack are leading to a low risk of significant flooding on the Red River this spring according to an update released Thursday from NWS Grand Forks. You can read that report by CLICKING HERE.


Flashes of Spring On The Weather Maps
By Paul Douglas

Fake spring is my favorite season. Dripping icicles. A bare patch of lawn showing up in the yard. The first confused robin, eying me quizzically. 40s are a relief, 50s qualify as a clap-happy revelation.

In spite of piddly clippers, prevailing winds aloft will blow mostly from the Pacific, not the Yukon, in the weeks to come. Any inevitable cold fronts will be brief - NOTHING like what we muddled through a few weeks ago. The pattern doesn't favor big storms anytime soon, but a weak disturbance may brush southern Minnesota with a quick inch of snow Sunday morning.

I see a few days above 40F early next week, with a stronger surge of warmth the second week of March, when 50F isn't out of the question.

The more snowmelt, the higher the mercury can go. MSP has lost about 2-3 inches of snow cover since Tuesday; my hunch is that we'll have about 3 inches on the ground within a week.

Then again Minnesota springs are "lumpy", fickle and unreliable. I have vivid memories of blizzards in April. Strap yourself in.


Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

FRIDAY: Clouds increase, gusty. Wake up 27. High 42. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 20-35 mph.

SATURDAY: Intervals of sun, not as windy. Wake up 29. High 40. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind W 5-10 mph.

SUNDAY: Early inch of snow. PM clearing. Wake up 25. High 30. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.

MONDAY: Bright sunshine. Wake up 19. High 33. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.

TUESDAY: Some sun, breezy and milder. Wake up 27. High 43. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 15-30 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Windy and cooler with flurries. Wake up 29. High 32. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy, fairly quiet. Wake up 17. High 33. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.


This Day in Weather History
February 26th

1996: A bolt of lightning from a snowstorm causes an explosion at a fireworks storage site in Milaca. One employee was injured and several homes in the area were damaged. An eight foot crater was all that remained where the storage site had been.

1971: Extremely low pressure moves across Minnesota. The Twin Cities had a barometer reading of 28.77 inches and Duluth beat that with 28.75. Freezing rain and snow hit northern Minnesota, dumping up to 18 inches of snow in some areas. Areas around Virginia, MN were without power for 5 days.

1896: A balmy high of 60 degrees is reported at Maple Plain. The warm weather hampered the annual ice cutting on Lake Independence to store for summer use.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
February 26th

Average High: 33F (Record: 64F set in 1896)
Average Low: 17F (Record: -21F set in 1897)
Average Precipitation: 0.04" (Record: 0.83" set in 1873)
Average Snowfall: 0.3" (Record: 7.0" in 1936)
Record Snow Depth: 26" in 1967


Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 26th

Sunrise: 6:55 AM
Sunset: 5:56 PM

*Length Of Day: 11 hours, 1 minute and 25 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes and 4 seconds

*When Do We Climb To 11.5 Hours Of Daylight? March 8th (11 hours, 32 minutes, and 33 seconds)
*When Is The Sunrise At/Before 6:30 AM?: March 12th (6:30 AM)
*When Is The Sunset At/After 6:00 PM? March 1st (6:01 PM)


National Weather Forecast

A system working eastward Friday will bring the chance of rain and snow to the Great Lakes south to the mid-Mississippi Valley and eastward to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Some icing will be possible in the Appalachians. It will also provide showers and storms to the Deep South, with a few strong storms possible. Rain and snow is expected with a trough of low pressure out west, and even some thunderstorms could occur.

Heavy rain will fall across the Southern Plains to the Tennessee and Ohio Valley across the next few days, with at least 1-4" of rain possible. Meanwhile, several feet of snow will fall out in the mountains of the Northwest.

Extending that rain forecast through early next week, at least 4-6" of rain could fall from the mid-South through the Tennessee Valley. I wouldn't be surprised to see some flooding issues across the region.


What Biden could learn from Bill Clinton's unfinished work on environmental justice

More from the Grist: "Environmental justice isn't just a buzzword or hashtag for Dr. Beverly Wright — it's what helps her get out of bed every morning. For the last 35 years, fighting for her Louisiana community's access to a healthy and safe environment has been her mission, and it's put her in rooms with the last three Democratic presidents. Wright's federal advocacy began in the early 1990s, when she worked on the country's first executive order focused on environmental justice, which then-President Bill Clinton signed in 1994. Executive Order 12898, or EO 12898, instructed federal agencies to pursue environmental justice policies that would limit the "disproportionately high and adverse" effects of environmental harms on low-income communities and people of color, who are more likely to be burdened by issues like high pollution rates and contaminated water sources. The order also empowered the federal Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which was two years old at the time, to influence the priorities of the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA."

A lesson in electric school buses

More from the Washington Post: "Hundreds of electric school buses are about to hit the roads in Montgomery County in an effort to cut tailpipe emissions that warm the planet and can affect student health. The $1.3 million annual contract, which was approved by the county school board Tuesday, is the biggest single-district project in the country to swap combustion-engine school buses for electric vehicles. The county aims to gradually convert its entire fleet of 1,422 buses by 2035. The sprawling suburban Maryland district will pay an annual fee to lease the electric buses from Highland Electric Transportation. The Boston-based firm will own, operate and maintain the buses for 12 years as well as train drivers and install charging equipment."

Xcel celebrates milestone as utility is now halfway to 100% carbon free electricity

More from Renewable Energy World: "For the second year in a row, Xcel Energy has hit a significant milestone in its quest to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050. Xcel reported that it broke its own record for a single-year drop in emissions in 2020, cutting carbon emissions company-wide by approximately six million tons, a 12% reduction over 2019 levels. That's equivalent to taking nearly 1.2 million cars off the road for a year. In 2019, Xcel Energy achieved a 10% reduction over the previous year. Since 2005, the company has reduced carbon emissions by 51%, making it one of the leading players in the energy transition, it said."


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- D.J. Kayser