Saturday, March 27, 2010

Back to the 70s (about a month early)

* Near 70 for the first Twins game at the newly opened Target Field in Minneapolis (exhibition game vs. St. Louis Cardinals Friday at 5:10 pm). Clouds will increase, expect a stiff breeze (blowing in from first base). Expect to see some fans in shorts and t-shirts, although that may be pushing it (a little). Showers (and T-storms?) should hold off until after the 9th inning, a good chance of a few hours of showers late Friday night into Saturday morning as the next cool front arrives.

* Ice coming off lakes 1-2 weeks early (southern MN) but as much as 2-3 weeks early across parts of northern Minnesota.

* 70s possible by Wednesday and Thursday, outside chance of 80 somewhere in southern Minnesota by Thursday afternoon, more like early May!

* On track for the first March with no accumulating snow since 1878.

* March snowfall so far: Dallas: 1.3", Atlanta: 1.1", Buffalo, New York: Trace. Duluth, MN: Trace.

* Saturday rainfall: trace. March rainfall: .69" (.89" less than average, to date).

* Stormier, wetter pattern likely from Saturday into much of next week, from roughly April 3-10. Expect rapid greening of Minnesota vegetation by mid April.

Target Field. No flurries, no jackets, no major weather worries when our Twins take the (outdoor) field for Friday's exhibition game vs. the Cardinals. Expect a stiff breeze with game-time temperatures in the 60s, rain will probably hold off until the 9th inning.

I'm reminded of the old adage, "when in a drought, don't predict rain." We're going on 16 days without significant rain in the area, the far northern suburbs of the Twin Cities are still in a moderate drought. The risk of brush fires is significant, and will get worse as the week goes on, with bright sun, stiff winds, low humidity - no rain in the outlook until Friday night at the earliest. Be careful with discarded matches and cigarette butts - I expect a rash of fires later this week. Until we green up (2 weeks away or less?) the risk of fire will be ever-present. Seems odd to be talking drought and fire with many rivers still lapping out of their banks. Welcome to Minnesota, one great big weather-contradiction.

"Turn Around, Don't Drown." The NWS has it right, and they should know. Most flood victims meet their maker in their vehicles, underestimating the depth of the water in front of them. Remember, all it takes is 6" of rapidly-moving water to knock you off your feet; just two feet of moving water can turn your SUV or pick-up truck into a boat, floating helplessly downstream. More than half of flood victims die trying to cross a flooded-out street, especially at night, when it's even more difficult to estimate the depth of the water.

A northerly breeze pumps drier air into the state today, the sun should be visible much of today, in fact most of this week. Winds at nearly every level of the atmosphere will be howling from the southwest, pumping unusually warm air into Minnesota by midweek. 70s are likely by midweek, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the first 80 (!) of the spring season somewhere in southern Minnesota by Thursday. Amazing, considering we could easily be ankle-deep in slush right about now. April brings an average of 3-4" of snow, but I don't see any wintry relapses anytime soon; we're still somewhat inoculated by a nagging El Nino pattern, one that favors cool, stormy weather across the south and east, but unusually dry, mild weather for the northern tier states.

Friday Night Puddles. The next chance of any rain? Not until Friday night and Saturday morning as an eastbound cool front arrives. The best chance of (dry) outdoor events will come Saturday afternoon into Sunday.

I don't see any rain until Friday night (when showers and thunderstorms, some potentially heavy/strong) push in from the Dakotas. It's early, but the long-range models hint at a rapid clearing trend Saturday (showery rains linger over far western/northern MN) with next Sunday being the sunnier, drier, nicer day of the weekend. I see frequent rains early next week - a stormier, wetter pattern is a little more than a week away. We have some serious catching up to do in the rainfall department.

Surviving a Flood. KMSP's Jeff Baillon recently took a plunge into the Crow River to demonstrate the difficulty of navigating strong flood-waters. Check it out here.

Hail and High Water. Residents of Perth, Australia are still mopping up from recent severe thunderstorms that raked the city on the west coast of Australia with golfball-size hail and flash floods. Damage is expected to run into the tens of millions of dollars. Source: Twitpic

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota

Today: Partly sunny, breezy - dry. Winds: N/NW 8-13. High: 52

Sunday night: Partly cloudy. Low: 36

Monday: Lot's of sun, very pleasant. High: near 60

Tuesday: Bright sun, more like early May! High: 68

Wednesday: Sunny, hard to focus (on anything indoors). High: 74

Thursday: Warm sunshine, breezy - significant risk of brush fires. High: 76

Friday: Breezy with increasing clouds. Showers and T-storms possible Friday night. High: near 70

Saturday: Showers taper, rapid clearing, breezy. High: 62

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