49 F. average high on March 30.
60 F. high on March 30, 2014.
March 31, 1896: A strong snowstorm dumps 13.5 inches of snow at Maple Plain. Vivid lightning in storm with 10-12 flashes per minute. Visibility was down to less than one block. The temperature was 57 at Maple Plain the day before.
March 31, 1843: The low temperature at Ft. Snelling plummets to -11. Source: Twin Cities NWS.
"In the Spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours" wrote Mark Twain. Yep. I counted 154 but close enough. The transition to spring is a hairy ordeal; chirping birds can quickly give way to blinding blizzards, bubbling rivers and raging tornadoes.
The problem is differential heating. Today the sun is as high in the sky as it was on September 11. The ground, and air immediately above the ground, is warming rapidly, but the upper atmosphere is relatively chilly, suffering from a wintry hangover. Resulting instability can spawn severe thunderstorms; angry red blobs on Doppler that sprout suddenly.
Although low level moisture is limited and dew points are still quite low there's a chance southern Minnesota may experience the first severe storms of spring Wednesday evening.
The mercury tops 60F today and 70s are likely tomorrow before a conga-line of cumulonimbus clouds kick up strong winds and small hail. At least it's not snow.
We cool off into the 40s by late week, allowing you to wear sweatshirts and shorts. Nothing wrong with that.
On the blog below: a super-sized El Nino in 2015 and hints of a wetter pattern by mid-April. We're due for rain.
File photo credit: Storm damage from Comfrey, Minnesota, taken March 30, 1998.
* Latest U.S. Drought Monitor for California is here.
Image credit: "Argentina’s Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. It is located near 63°S latitude." Image from Wikipedia.
Two weeks ago NOAA published the following map of temperature anomalies for the past December-January-February (i.e. the Northern Hemisphere winter). One week ago, we published a paper in Nature Climate Change (which had been in the works for a few years) arguing that the cold in the subpolar North Atlantic is indicative of an AMOC slowdown (as discussed in my last post).
- See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/03/a-hypothesis-about-the-cold-winter-in-eastern-north-america/#sthash.LPZr0qKX.dpuf
Image credit above: "Before and after images of Erromango." Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
TODAY: Lot's of sun, beautiful. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 62
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and relatively mild for late March. Low: 45
WEDNESDAY: Lukewarm sun much of the day, severe storms late? High: 74
THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler. Wake-up: 48. High: 61
FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, brisk. Wake-up: 32. High: 46
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, few sprinkles possible. Wake-up: 31. High: 49
SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, breezy. Wake-up: 37. High: 56
MONDAY: Rain, few T-storms possible. Wake-up: 35. High: 47
Photo credit upper left: "A photo taken from the Muir Inlet in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska between the 1880s and 1890s, shows the 328-foot-high terminus of the glacier and numerous icebergs, some more than 6 feet in diameter." (Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Archive).
Photo credit upper right: "A northwest looking photograph taken from the same location in 2005 shows that the Muir Glacier has retreated more than 31 miles and is completely out of the field of view. The glacier in the background to the right is Riggs Glacier. Abundant vegetation is visible." (Bruce F. Molnia/USGS)