4 days above 50 expected next week; temperatures should average a couple degrees above average for the first week of April.
60 possible after April 13.
Flood Warnings: Crow River at Rockford and Long Prairie River at Long Prairie.
Second Crest on many Minnesota rivers possible by the 3rd or 4th week of April, the result of rapid warming coupled with significant rain in the coming weeks - the worst flooding on the Minnesota, Mississippi and Red Rivers may be yet to come.
.10-.15" rain possible from showery rains on Sunday.
1 - 1.2" rain possible the end of next week, from late Thursday into Saturday, April 9.
0" expected snowfall in St. Cloud over the next 7 days.
March 2011: 13 degrees colder than last year in St. Cloud.
* Cold weather helped to keep the snow cover through month.
* It was the fourth straight month with at least 10 inches of snow.
* The 2010-11 winter season’s snowfall ranks 14th of 105 St. Cloud cold seasons.
* Central Minnesota had 129 straight days with at least an inch of snow on ground. That is the ninth longest span.
* This could be the 11th year in which the consecutive snow streak ends in April.
(source: SCSU Meteorology Professor Bob Weisman and the SC Times).
Flood Warnings posted for the Long Prairie River and the Crow River:
BULLETIN - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED FLOOD WARNING NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN.
...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A FLOOD WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING RIVERS IN MINNESOTA...LONG PRAIRIE RIVER AT LONG PRAIRIE AFFECTING TODD COUNTY...FORECAST FLOODING CHANGED FROM MODERATE TO MAJOR SEVERITY FOR THE FOLLOWING RIVERS IN MINNESOTA...CROW RIVER AT ROCKFORD AFFECTING HENNEPIN AND WRIGHT COUNTIES.THIS RIVER FORECAST IS BASED ON CONTINUING SIGNIFICANT SNOW MELT...THE PRECIPITATION RECEIVED OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS...AND FORECAST SNOW MELT AND PRECIPITATION OUT THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS. HEAVY RAINS COULD CAUSE FASTER SNOW MELT AND EXTRA RUNOFF THAT WILL CAUSE RIVER LEVELS TO RISE EVEN HIGHER AND FASTER THAN PREDICTED. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL MONITOR THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION AND ISSUE FOLLOWUP STATEMENTS AS CONDITIONS OR FORECASTS CHANGE.
Extended Outlook: Spring Fever! It's been a long, tough winter season - but we're turning a BIG corner. Models show a string of 50s and 60s after April 13. The concern: too warm too fast, coupled with significant rain will spark another rapid melting of snow over northern and western Minnesota, resulting in rapid runoff and a possible second crest on many Minnesota rivers as early as the 3rd or 4th week of April.
Meteogram. Good news for your Sunday plans - it doesn't look nearly as wet as earlier model runs were suggesting. We still expect (light/showery) rains Sunday morning, but a surge of dry air wrapping into the storm's circulation should mean highs in the 50s, with the band of heaviest rain/snow over far northern Minnesota.
Sunday Snow Potential. The latest NAM model prints out a couple inches of snow over far northern Minnesota, north of Bemidji and Grand Rapids, as much as 3-4" of heavy wet snow near the Canadian border.
Rapid Meltdown? According to the Minnesota DNR there is still 12-18" snow on the ground over parts of west central and northern Minnesota, very little snow left south of the Minnesota River. The latest information is here.
Sunday: Not As Wet. The GFS run shows an area of low pressure over Kansas, spreading a widespread shield of moderate rain/snow across the Upper Midwest, with the heaviest rain/snow mix falling over far northern Minnesota. Light showers are expected Sunday in the Twin Cities - the potential for heavy/steady rain has diminished, best chance of showery rains coming during the morning hours. Highs should surge well into the 50s over the southern third of the state, including the metro area.
A Murky Crystal Ball. The same GFS run spins up a much more impressive storm late next week and the second weekend of April. This forecast map, valid next Saturday evening at 6 pm, shows an intense area of low pressure passing just south of Minnesota, potentially moderate to heavy rain falling on much of Minnesota. Hopefully the models are wrong - this would be very bad news for our ongoing flood potential.
Drought Monitor. Good news for farmer in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Soil moisture is still very high (the result of a record wet 2010, the wettest September on record, and plenty of snow which will recharge soil moisture levels). We can't rule out drought later in the season, but heading into spring planting season farmers should be confident that it's going to be another pretty good year. Data courtesy of NOAA.
Northeast Montana Braces For New Storm. I can't remember the last time I've seen this much snow over the western third of America. Here's a story from the Billings Gazette: "Farmers and ranchers in rural northeastern Montana finally dug out from last weekend's storm only to face a new one this weekend that could strand them even longer. "We just put out an alert," said Dan Sietsema, Roosevelt County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) coordinator, from his office in Wolf Point. "We're hoping people will take note of the lull between storms and get ready to be stranded for at least a week." It's the same next door in Valley County where National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist Tanja Fransen said a storm expected to move in Saturday night could drop another 5 to 10 inches of snow and blow it around at 20 to 30 mph. "They have two days before the new system," she said Thursday from her office in Glasgow. "We hope they get to town for supplies so they don't get stuck." Getting stuck has become a matter of life and death in some parts of Montana nestled between Highway 2 and the Canadian border. "Yesterday, we had a 79-year-old man living by himself out by Glentana who was out of food and medicine," said Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier said. "We had to go up in an airplane and drop him food and his medicine."
RECORD EVENT REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAS VEGAS NV
941 AM PDT FRI APR 1 2011
...ALL-TIME MARCH RECORD HIGH SET AT DEATH VALLEY CA THURSDAY...
THE HIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THURSDAY AT THE OFFICIAL WEATHER STATION IN
DEATH VALLEY AT FURNACE CREEK WAS 103 DEGREES. THIS SETS AN ALL-TIME
RECORD HIGH FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH BREAKING THE OLD RECORD OF 102
DEGREES WHICH WAS RECORDED ON MARCH 28 1986...MARCH 21 2004...MARCH
16 2007 AND MOST RECENTLY ON MARCH 17 2007.
Severe Weather Sweeps Across Florida. CNN and WFLA-TV report on the swarm of severe storms that swept across Florida Wednesday and Thursday, dropping a handful of tornadoes, sparking large hail and straight-line winds in excess of 80 mph: "Severe weather tore across central Florida on Thursday, causing damage and spawning an apparent tornado in Tampa, the National Weather Service said. A heavy storm with strong winds hit the Sun 'n Fun aviation fair at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, causing "extensive minor damage and reports of minor injuries," but "all persons so far have been accounted for," said Sgt. Terri Smith of the Lakeland Police Department. The National Weather Service had reported a building collapse that trapped 70 people at the airport, but that report was false, Smith said. The Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo is a six-day aviation-themed festival that provides the primary source of funding for Sun 'n Fun, a nonprofit organization, and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Florida Air Museum. Greg Lane, a Sun 'n Fun volunteer who is working with a low-power AM radio station at the airport, said the "sky went from gray to black to bluish green" as the storm rolled in. "You couldn't see the tents that were 50 feet across the drive from us," he said."
Thai Flooding Follows 50" Of Rain. Here's an update from Accu Weather on historic flooding in Thailand: "In what should be one of the hottest, driest times of the year, rainfall as high as 50 inches within little more than a week has left swaths of southern Thailand under water. At least 15 people were killed in the flooding according to reports Thursday. Residents and tourists were stranded, as ferries and flights had to be canceled. The Thai military was involved in rescues. They also helped to search for victims of a deadly mudslide that struck the province of Krabi."
Your Mobile Phone Is Watching You - Closely. O.K. My paranoia level just rose another couple of notches. Here's an article from gizmag.com: "While most of us know it is theoretically possible for our movements to be tracked by detecting which tower our mobile phone is connected too, it might come as a shock to see just how much of a digital footprint we leave as we go about our daily lives. German Green Party politician Malte Spitz and German newspaper Die Zeit have provided a frightening insight into just how much information can be gleaned from the digital breadcrumbs we drop every day by creating an interactive map showing Spitz's movements and activities over a five month period based on mobile phone data and information freely available on the internet. To get hold of his mobile phone data, Spitz sued his service provider, German telco giant Deutsche Telekom. He then provided the phone data, which included geolocation and time and date information, to Die Zeit who combined the data with information freely available on the internet – including Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites – that related to his life as a politician to create an interactive map of Spitz's movements and activities. And before you start thinking a public figure like Spitz is going to generate more data than your average man in the street, you might want to take a moment to consider just how many tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates you fire off on a daily basis."
Time Warner Pulls Channels From iPad App. The New York Times reports on disruptive technology causing headaches among cable providers and the channels they beam into customer's homes. If you pay for a cable show should you be able to watch it any way you want, say on an iPad instead of a TV screen in your family room? Most people probably feel this is a reasonable assumption, but not the cable channels. The problem: Nielson (which measures viewership, critical data that determines advertising rates) can't yet measure viewership on an iPad. If you stream Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central onto your iPad Nielson doesn't know you're watching - and the cable channel doesn't get credit for you viewering their channel - you literally fall into a black hole. This could lead to declining viewership levels and reduced income from advertising - this is why these guys are so paranoid. More details: "Time Warner Cable on Thursday abruptly removed several channels from its app that replicates the TV viewing experience on an iPad. The cable company withdrew the channels, including MTV and FX, after receiving complaints from three major media companies, Viacom, Discovery Communications and the News Corporation. The companies have claimed that the iPad app is a contract violation — in part because they want cable companies like Time Warner Cable to pay them more for the privilege to stream their channels to portable devices. Viacom and the News Corporation had sent cease-and-desist letters to Time Warner Cable in recent days. The iPad, in essence, is the latest battleground for a long-running fight about how television will be delivered in the digital age, and by which companies. Time Warner Cable reaffirmed on Thursday that it believed it had “every right to carry the programming on our iPad app.”
March Climate Summary. Top graph: temperature trend for March. Bottom graph: red line is average precipitation, the blue line is actual precipitation, green line is the record (1965, the worst flood year on record for much of Minnesota). Data from the Chanhassen Office of the National Weather Service: "Detailed climate summaries are now available for the month of March (links and images below). In general, the area came out about 2 to 5 degrees below normal, with precipitation near to slightly above normal. For snowfall, the March 22nd-23rd storm resulted in much of west central and central Minnesota into northern portions of west central Wisconsin seeing above normal snowfall for the month, while the rest of the area, including the Twin Cities and Eau Claire, was below normal. This stands in stark contrast to the March of 2010, when no snow was observed at any location within the MPX county warning area and temperatures ran about 5 to 8 degrees above normal."
Getting Better. Under a partly sunny sky with a drying northwest breeze Friday highs ranged from a brisk 35 at Grand Marais to 46 in St. Cloud, 47 in the Twin Cities, just 1-2 degrees cooler than average for April 1, but a far cry from last year, when highs reached 81 in the Twin Cities and 77 in St. Cloud on April Fools Day.
Paul's SC Times Outlook for St. Cloud and all of central Minnesota:
TODAY: Vague hints of spring. Sunshine much of the day. Winds: NW 10. High: near 50
SATURDAY NIGHT: Cloudy with light rain possible late. Low: 35
SUNDAY: Windy and mild with a few showers (best chance morning hours). Winds: E 10-20. High: 50
MONDAY: Showers taper, turning cooler. Low: 34. High: 45
TUESDAY: Sun returns (and hope) returns. Low: 27. High: 47
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, partly-springy. Low: 34. High: 54
THURSDAY: Clouds increase, with heavy rain developing late. Low: 36. High: 50
FRIDAY: Rain tapers to drizzle. Low: 36. High: 52
SATURDAY: More heavy rain as a storm passes just south/east of Minnesota. Low: 40. High: near 50
SUNDAY: (April 10). Rain may mix with wet snow before tapering, windy and cooler. Low: 39. High: 44
Good riddance to March. Last month was 2.7 degrees cooler than average, nearly 11 degrees colder than March of 2010. La Nina (cooling phase of the Pacific) is probably to blame. We're due for a big shift in the pattern, and there are signs of relief as early as next week. My joy in 50s (and rain) is tempered by the knowledge that an "instant spring" will spark rapid melting of snow over northern and western Minnesota, flushing a new surge of water into streams & rivers.
Have your camera ready: the sun makes a rare cameo appearance today, highs flirting with 50 (nice to be "average" again). Brush the cobwebs off your bike, consider a walk around the block, if I get a running start I may just be able to make it to the grill, buried for months under 5 foot drifts.
The much-advertised southern storm pushes a cold rain into Minnesota Sunday; light showers possible, with the heaviest rain (and wet snow) confined to far northern Minnesota. It may be cold enough for mostly-snow north of Bemidji, some 2-4"+ amounts possible over far northern Minnesota by Monday morning.
Sunshine returns Tuesday, a streak of 50s (!) next week. Long-range models hint at over 1" of rain next weekend, further complicating Minnesota's precarious flood scenario.
Arctic Sea Ice - A Climate Change April Fools Joke? Not According to Snopes. Here's a release that came out yesterday, courtesy of reason.com: "Interesting, since people who are concerned about climate change often cite the fact that Arctic sea ice cover has been declining at a rate of 3 percent per decade as evidence for man-made global warming. The satellite data set issued by the University of Alabama in Huntsville finds that the arctic temperature trend since 1979 is 0.47 degree Celsius per decade which is three times higher than the overall global trend of 0.14 degree Celsius per decade. The National Snow and Ice Data Center issued a this preliminary report on Arctic sea ice cover last week:
On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The maximum extent was 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles), and equal (within 0.1%) to 2006 for the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record."
James Inhofe Apologizes For Calling Global Warming A Hoax. Shocking news on April 1: "In what might be one of the most remarkable about-faces ever to come from within the beltway, James Inhofe, Senator and minority ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee (R. OKLA), apologized to a stunned Senate chamber for calling climate change the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” “It’s time for leadership in Washington on climate change,” said Inhofe. “To date, I have been an obstacle to that leadership, and that changes today.” A confused and bewildered Republican leadership called for the Senate Sargent at Arms to restore order – “this man is not who he says he is!” cried Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, accusing Inhofe of being a liberal hollywood stunt double carrying out an evil socialist plot. The befuddled McConnell then made a choking sound, suddenly blurting out the word “Hitler!” Inhofe tried to reassure and calm his colleagues. Turning to McConnell he said, “Calm down Mitch, it’s really me. I’m no Hitler, nor is Obama or any of my colleagues on the left. It’s time we stopped this hurtful and dangerous rhetoric and worked to solve problems. Global warming and a new energy economy are now at the top of my list.” At that McConnell collapsed on the Senate floor and and was rushed to the hospital."