9" snow on the ground.
40-50% probability of river flooding in St. Paul exceeding the previous record set in 1965.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Clear to partly cloudy and cool (don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before turning in). Low: 22
Record-Weary. Both Luna and I marveled at what has transpired in just the last year: 2010 was the wettest year in Minnesota history. It brought the most tornadoes ever observed (as many as 113, more than 4 times our average number). And now we may be facing a Top 3 Winter for snowfall, coupled with a potentially historic flood season. September: wettest on record. December: snowiest on record. Every time we turn around we're setting records. Again, no one weather event, storm or season can be definitively linked to climate change. But warmer temperatures have evaporated more water from the world's oceans - the amount of water vapor floating overhead has increased by 4 or 5%. More moisture in the atmosphere over Minnesota may be tilting the odds in favor of more rain (and snow), and possibly more extreme severe weather events as well. It's too early to know for sure, but there's no question the last year has been historic by any measure.
* I could see 3 days next week at or just above 50. The good news: no significant rain (or wet snow) is likely next week, the next chance of significant precipitation around March 23-24, way out on the horizon. The next NWS Flood Outlook won't come out until March 24.
Minnesota River Basin
"Winter precipitation has exceeded 200 percent of the mean across the entire Minnesota River basin. Winter temperatures have averaged 4 to 6 degrees below the mean. A week of warmer temperatures concurrent with the last outlook issuance ripened the snowpack and led to an average loss of an inch of modeled snow water equivalent across the basin. Subsequently, a significant winter storm that impacted a large portion of the Upper Midwest dropped an average of 1 to 2 inches of precipitation in the form of snow across the area. Current modeled snow water equivalents average between 4 and 6.5 inches across much of the Minnesota River basin. Streamflows remain well above normal and soil moisture conditions are extremely wet going into the spring."
Good Advice. This last storm was a tough one. In this blog I try to share some of the model output, throw out the numbers the (raw) models are predicting, and people assume "that's Paul's prediction!" If you mention a range of 4-8", it's human nature for people to remember 8". I received this letter from fellow meteorologist, Tom Novak, who had some good advice, which I will take to heart. The models often ARE sensationalistic - the hard part of this whole business is showing what the trends are, without buying into the models, lock, stock and barrel. The goal all along has been to show the process, how we look at and assimilate the models and try to reach a logical conclusion. Throwing out inch amounts more than 2 days before a storm is a little like juggling hand grenades. You can do it for awhile, but in the end it may end badly (and blow up in your face). Thanks for the note, Tom.
Don't beat yourself up in reference to your bouts with Mother Nature and computer models. Keep in mind, many of us are led astray by these number crunching machines. They can be your best friend one day and your worst enemy the next. My suggestion for you is to tone down the rhetoric when it comes to snow/rain totals. I feel that whenever a weather forecaster mentions totals, it is the ONLY thing that the public takes away from the broadcast/blog. Even if you preface your comments before hand with a word of caution, the public will STILL only remember the numbers you throw out there. That is why I rarely ever throw out numbers until approximately 48 hours before a storm. On the other hand, I do believe it is important to educate the viewer/reader AND to give them a heads up on weather patterns that are on our horizon, just don't try to get too specific. I believe you've been getting too specific lately when it comes to your extended forecasts. For instance, to mention that computer models are printing out 18" to 24" of snow over the next 3 weeks is absurd, even though it technically not your prediction. All in all, I love your work and I've enjoyed watching you work since the early 80s.
I hope this helps. Take Care.
Tornadoes In Unlikely Places. Check out this YouTube video of a tornado spotted in the skies over Portugal. Tornadoes in Europe are rare, especially in early March.