39 F. high at Staples, evidence of the sharp temperature gradient and subsequent wind shear that whipped up as many as 3 small tornadoes near Saint Leo.
58 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
49 F. average high at KMSP on March 31.
42 F. high on March 31, 2013.
I'd like to lock Mother Nature in my basement and throw away the key. March came in like a polar bear and went out like a (rabid) mountain lion, with blizzard conditions over the Red River Valley yesterday, but that wasn't the most unusual feature of yesterday's weather map.
In 40 years of tracking the weather I have NEVER seen a tornado warning and a blizzard warning in effect (simultaneously) for the same county. That happened yesterday in Yellow Medicine county; tornadoes moving at 40 mph causing structural damage near Saint Leo - the county under a blizzard warning for high winds and snow expected to move in Monday night. A new level of weather-whiplash. A new level of bizarre.
Whispers of the Polar Vortex return today as cold exhaust shakes the trees outside your window - a coating of slush possible in the metro; a few inches of snow for Brainerd. But we all realize that spring in Minnesota is always two steps forward, one step back.
A clumsy atmospheric waltz.
No more 60s in sight anytime soon, in fact heavy jackets linger into late week with a few days in the 30s and low 40s. It's premature to toss around inches, but there may be enough cold air in place for a slushy snow event by Friday. But even if it does snow a high sun angle guarantees rapid melting, with 40s returning next week, even a shot at 50F.
If anyone asks the average high reaches 65F in the Twin Cities by the end of April. Extended models show a cool bias. We won't be boating anytime soon.
Longer term an El Nino is brewing; warmer Pacific water which often correlates with milder winters here. That's more of a prayer than a forecast by the way. But we go from one extreme to the next.
Maybe we'll catch a break.
* photo of tornado near Minneota Monday afternoon courtesy of Ronni Vlaminck and KARE-11.
* NOAA SPC confiirmed 3 tornadoes as of late last night. Details here.
"Hey Paul, I have a question. Have you ever seen a confirmed tornado (Warning) in the same place where a Blizzard Warning is also in effect? Hard to believe my eyes right now. Then again in Wisconsin yesterday there was elevated fire danger in the same areas where rivers were flooding. What could possibly be ahead??? Cue the locust."
Short answer? No.
Photo credit above: " Credit Joshua Davies Communication Specialist 2nd Class/U.S. Navy Photo.
TODAY: Slushy start, slow PM clearing. Windy and colder. Winds: NW 20. High: 38
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and chilly. Low: 24
WEDNESDAY: Early sun, then clouds increase. High: 43
THURSDAY: Rain/snow mix possible. Mainly wet roads. Wake-up: 31. High: 39
FRIDAY: Wet snow, few slushy inches? Wake-up: 31. High: 35
SATURDAY: Sunshine returns, milder. Wake-up: 25. High: 42
SUNDAY: Becoming mostly cloudy, damp. Wake-up: 23. High: 45
MONDAY: Light mix possible. Make it stop. Wake-up: 28. High: 42
* photo of funnel cloud over Saint Leo yesterday afternoon courtesy of @bwicky777.
** Twitter cartoon credit here.
Graphic credit: WMO (World Meteorological Organization) and The Guardian.
* A link to the latest IPCC WG2 Climate Summary is here.