Saturday, April 10, 2010

Close to Perfect

O.K. I feel an obligation to write SOMETHING, even though there is no "weather" to speak of within 1,000 miles of home. In fact, when you get right down to it there hasn't been much to point to on the maps since mid February. An oasis of high pressure draped overhead, and the persistence of this mild, dry pattern has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Soak up sunshine today, because it appears that we may (finally) have some real weather to track, starting tomorrow. Of course you knew our mini-drought would break for Game 1 at Target Field. Could have predicted that years ago, right? The good news: the latest models hint that the atmosphere draped over Minnesota may be too stable for any thunder/lightning until Monday night and Tuesday - take something waterproof to Target Field if you're lucky enough to be holding tickets - at least temperatures will be in the 60s. Not bad for mid April.

Today will be stunning, highs near 70, relatively light winds - an invasion of bicycles, motorcycles, convertibles, runners, walkers, strollers, anything with wheels will be out in full force Sunday, as good as it gets in early April. The approach of a warmer front and a long, fetch of moisture direct from the Gulf of Mexico will spark scattered showers Monday, maybe a few embedded T-storms late Monday night through Thursday/Friday of next week. We do (finally) appear to be sliding into a slightly wetter pattern, although I still don't see the widespread soaking the state needs right now.

Farmers are planting small grains, 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule - soil temperatures already in the 50s. A nagging risk of frost makes it premature to plant corn, but there's little doubt that the atmosphere has shifted gears into a pattern more reminiscent of early May. It's been a real head-scratcher of a spring. No complaints over here - I'm enjoying it as much as everyone else, waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far so good...

Thunder for Monday's Twins Opener? At least it won't be snowing, no wind chill, no Minnesotans bundled up in multiple layers of flannel. A vigorous warm front draped nearby may ignite a few waves of showers and thunderstorms though - we can't rule out some rain for Game #1 vs. the Boston Red Sox. At least temperatures will be in the 60s, about 10-15 degrees warmer than average. Could have been worse - much worse.

Red Flag Warning. The threat of brush fires is especially north and west of St. Cloud, the combination of bright sun, gusty winds and tinder-dry relative humidity creating ripe conditions for fires.

Ice-Out on Rainy Lake. Look carefully, you can see the ice coming off Rainy Lake near International Falls, Upper and Lower Red Lake totally ice-free.

Twin Cities Metro From Space. This 250 meter, high-resolution image was taken Saturday by a low-orbiting NASA "Modis" Terra satellite, 220 miles above the ground. You can clearly make out Lake Minnetonka, Lake Waconia and White Bear Lake, patchy clouds south/east of the Twin Cities.
A Record Spring. Here are the lakes that experienced a record early ice-out across northern Minnesota. Records go back 45-91 years. Yes, this has been a record-setting spring statewide, ice coming off northern lakes 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule.
Almost Ice-Free. The only lakes that still have patchy ice are Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods, both on the Canadian border. To see the latest data click here to see the latest information from the Minnesota State Climatology Office.

Escalating Fire Danger. The risk of fire is now characterized as "extreme" north and west of Alexandria, toward Moorhead, Brainerd, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes and Thief River Falls. Until we see a significant rain event the fire risk statewide will be high - be careful out there. The very latest information from the DNR is here.

Arcola Bridge, Lake Minnetonka. This (amazing) photo was taken by Doug Williams from Orono, it's a composite of photos taken by a Nikon D3S, weaved together by a program called "Photomatix" to create the unique lighting effects.

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

Today: Lot's of sun, unseasonably warm. Winds: S/SE 10-15. High: 68 (a few thermometers near 70)

Tonight: Clouds increase, not as cool. Low: 45

Monday: Clouds increase and thicken, showers and T-storms arrive. High: 65

Tuesday: Partly sunny and humid, slight chance of a T-storm, more like late May. High: 75

Wednesday: Scattered showers and T-storms, sticky. High: 73

Thursday: Showers linger, still damp. High: 68

Friday: Some sun, slight chance of thunder. High: 66

Saturday: Still unsettled, more showers. High: 63

1 comment:

  1. Paul: I just wanted to thank you for taking my suggestion of a couple of weeks ago to include wind conditions in your weather forecasts in the Star Tribune. It has helped not only my fishing but my turkey hunting, gardening, etc. Doug Erbeck