Thursday, March 17, 2011

Waters Rising

Todd's SCTIMES Outlook for St. Cloud and all of Central Minnesota:

FRIDAY: Cooler with intervals of sun. High:41

FRIDAY NIGHT: A few passing clouds, otherwise mostly clear and quiet. Low: 23

SATURDAY: Nicer day of the weekend. Mild sunshine early, then increasing clouds. High: 47

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a few light rain showers. Low: 33

SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy with showers expected.  High:46

MONDAY: Mix of sun and clouds. Cool northeast breeze develops. Low: 34. High:46

TUESDAY: Rain/snow mix early, then changing to snow. Turning much cooler. Low: 26. High:40

WEDNESDAY: Chilly. Snow showers possible early, then clearing. Low:23. High:34

THURSDAY: Mostly sunny and warmer. Low: 16. High: 36

**FLOOD WARNINGS have been issued along some Minnesota Rivers... More to come**
**FLOOD WATCHES have been issued along some Minnesota Rivers... More to come**

**SAUK RIVER at St. Cloud - No Current Forecast as of PM Thursday**
**MISSISSIPPI RIVER at St. Cloud - No Current Forecast as of PM Thursday**

 Wow, what a winter... Winding down now as the Vernal Equinox approaches this Sunday, marking the first of spring for the Northern Hemisphere. We're not out of the woods yet, March is notorious for wet, heavy snow events around tourney time, averaging 8.5" (4th snowiest month on average). So far, we've seen 5.6" this March, but remain over 1ft. above average for the season. We've had 56.8" which is a lot, but not good enough for the top 10 snowiest winters on record - we have to get to 64.9" for the 10th snowiest winter on record. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities has seen 80.2" of snow this season, which is good enough for the 7th snowiest winter on record.

Get this, the Twin Cities had at least a trace of snow on the ground since November 23rd and at least 1" of snow on the ground since December 1st, nearly 4 months ago! The image below shows the snow depth reported through the month of November. The outlined red area shows the snow depth column and the outlined blue area shows the days in November when the consecutive days with at least a TRACE of snow on the ground started in the Twin Cities this winter. Note, there were days from November 13th through November 21st (outlined in yellow) when snow was reported on the ground, but "officially" it had ALL melted by November 22nd or at least for the morning observation when it was reported, later that day, we had 0.1" of snow, so the following day, the 23rd, a trace of snow depth was reported.

Updated Flooding Information

The updated flood outlook was issued Thursday - here are a few key notes:

1.) With spring flooding already underway over portions of the U.S., NOAA forecasters are warning the worst is yet to come.

2.) Many metropolitan areas have a greater than 95 percent chance of major flooding, including Fargo, Grand Forks, St. Paul, Davenport, Rock Island, Sioux Falls and Huron. 

3.) The Mississippi River is likely to see major flooding beginning in late March from its headwaters near St. Paul, Minnesota, downstream to St. Louis. St. Paul, MN has about a 95 percent chance of exceeding major flood stage of 17 feet, where secondary flood walls are deployed to protect the St. Paul Airport. Further downstream, there is a 75% chance (3 out of 4 chance) for major flooding on the Upper Mississippi River from Winona, MN

4.) Devils Lake in North Dakota has an 80 percent chance of reaching two feet above last year’s record of 1452.1 feet.

“For the third consecutive year, the stage is set for potential widespread, record flooding in the North Central United States,” said Jack Hayes, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “We’ve been coordinating with federal and state partners and high risk communities since December to raise awareness and help them prepare. All the ingredients are in place for major flooding so this situation should be taken very seriously. We’re asking citizens to stay informed and be prepared.”

Mild weather as of late has put a huge dent in the snow pack region wide. The snow depth reading from certified weather observers at the MSP Airport, where official Twin Cities snow stats are kept, showed 6" of snow on the ground earlier this week, which dwindled to 1" Thursday morning and to only a trace in a few spots Thursday night. Interestingly, there was nearly 2" of liquid water locked in that snow Wednesday, which is now running straight into rising rivers. The image below shows the 105 river gauges monitored by the National Weather Service in the selected map area and only one in flood stage in far southwestern Minnesota.

River Gauge 48 Hour Forecast

The 48 hour river gauge forecast shows up to 5 gauges in flood stage by Saturday afternoon/evening.

Redwood River at Redwood Falls

Cottonwood River at New Ulm

Crow River at Delano

Mississippi River at St. Paul

Minnesota River at Shakopee

Other Useful Flooding Links:

The Super Moon Commeth

Yesterday I had a little blurb on the "Super Moon"  that is expected this Saturday - see another story and video from NASA HERE

Another Geeky Weather Web Site

I got this link from one of my friends, looks neat - you can goof around with it if you'd like


That's all for now - more on the inevitable river flooding tomorrow - have a good Friday
Todd Nelson

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