* Nighttime lows predicted to stay below freezing through at least next Thursday, slowing the rate of snow melt.
* Gradual warming trend next week: 40s likely, 50 by next Thursday, GFS hints at 55-60 F. readings next Friday.
* According to NOAA we may see multiple flood crests in the coming weeks, a significant risk of (serious) river flooding lasting into early May.
* 4-8" of liquid water estimated to be in the snow pack over central and western Minnesota. Severity of flooding in April and early May will depend on the rate of warming, and whether we see storms with significant rain (1-2" or more).
* NWS: Mississippi River is a "wild card". There is still very significant snow on the ground north of St. Cloud - melting snow will eventually feed into the headwaters of the Mississippi. The timing of any subsequent flooding depends on the rate (and duration) of warming, and whether any inevitable warm fronts are accompanied by heavy rain.
* Homeowners insurance does not cover river flooding. Do you live in a potential flood zone? Scroll down to find out.
Major Flooding Underway in St. Paul. The Mississippi River is approaching major flood stage (17 feet). A crest of just under 19 feet is expected by the middle of next week. What does a crest of 18.8 feet mean?
|18'||Warner Road may become impassable due to high water.|
|17.5'||Harriet Island begins to become submerged.|
|17'||Secondary flood walls are deployed at St Paul Airport.|
|14'||Portions of the Lilydale park area begin to experience flooding.|
Flood Briefing. The local Chanhassen NWS Office has a multimedia briefing on the (continued) flood risk around the state. Click here to see the details.
Are You At Risk? I was surprised to find out that a previous home was at high risk of flooding. Funny, the real estate agent never mentioned that. Floodsmart.gov has a good site that allows you to plug in your home's address and find out the risk - see approximate premiums for coverage, even a contact name for a (friendly?) agent who would love to take your call. Remember, most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage from river flooding - you need an additional policy.
Definite Warming Trend. The models all seem to agree, a higher sun angle with finally tug at the mercury in your back yard, a string of 40s next week, 50 possible by Thursday, even an outside chance of mid 50s to near 60 by next Friday. Right now I don't see any significant rain through the end of March, but a stormier, wetter pattern may return by the first week of April.
Extended Gibberish? I hope so. The GFS model pulls us back into a stormier pattern as the storm track shifts north again. Warning: this is WAY out on the horizon - the forecast will undoubtedly change a few times between now and early April, but the trend seems to be reasonable and believable. We will have gone 10-12 days with no significant precipitation - we're probably due for a stormier pattern after April 3 or 4. Again, the NWS is more concerned about significant rain (or snow) in April, complicating and possibly worsening the flood situation.
Well-Timed High Pressure Bubble. A sprawling region of high pressure centered over Hudson Bay, Canada is ridging southward, keeping any storms, clouds (and wet snow) south and west of Minnesota through the weekend. The downside: temperatures about 10-12 degrees cooler than average. This chilly spell is a God-send of sorts, at least for people living along Minnesota's rivers - slowing the rate of snow melt, taking some of the edge off the worst of the flooding. Click here for the latest surface map.
Staying South. The potential for wet snow has dropped for next Tuesday - recent computer runs keep the storm track far enough south to avoid Minnesota altogether - although Iowa may pick up a couple inches of sloppy, wet snow.
Backwards Spring. Even with bright sunshine the mercury never climed out of the low 30s, more typical of early March. Both St. Cloud and the Twin Cities are still reporting 4" snow on the ground. The average high for March 25 is 45 F.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
- Top oceanic wind speeds and wave heights have steadily increased over the last 23 years.
- If the trend continues, major storms may become more destructive in the coming decades.
- Climate change may or may not be to blame for the trend, but faster winds could have climate consequences.