Feels more like the start of March instead of April! A sharp warm-up Sunday is followed by light rain/snow mix by evening as a clipper races through. By the middle of next week some of the wettest weather in the short-term forecast will occur.
The biggest late-season snowfall ever in the Twin Cities was 3" on May 20, 1892. Goes to show we can still see snowflakes well into spring. Northern Minnesota stands to see a slushy 1"-3", but no accumulation for the metro.
A rather progressive weather pattern will send three cold fronts through the area between now and next week. This means a period of gusty winds to help dry out the trails. For those taking the road bike out for a spin Saturday you'll be battling a nasty north head wind. The wind will pick back up again with a wet storm midweek.
Rain returns after brief openings at the River Bottoms and Elm Creek. Showers develop Tuesday afternoon as a potent surface low emerges from the Rockies. Heavy rain, a few (non-severe) thunderstorms, and gusty winds arrive Wednesday. Turning dry yet much colder for the weekend.
Heaviest rain will fall Wednesday with amounts exceeding 1" across central Minnesota. Any tacky trails will become wet and likely stay closed through the end of the week.
Cold sunshine prevails this weekend. First few days of April will be colder than normal, more like mid-February! Luckily the sun is getting stronger and will feel good on the face come Sunday, despite staying in the 30s!
The River Bottoms trail was tacky before a foot of snow fell in Savage on Wednesday. In late March snow can't linger for long. The sun is getting higher in the sky and just about as strong as it is in late September.
What the trails need now is an extended period of dry, windy weather to firm up the singletrack. Unfortunately, a soggy rain/snow mix Saturday will further delay trail openings.
Wind: A few gusts could top 20 mph on Sunday but 5-10 mph will be the rule through early next week. Around Wednesday-Thursday, however, wet & windy weather returns to the area. There is even the potential for thunder depending on storm track.
And winter isn't dead yet. Much colder air will revisit Minnesota in the early days of April. The 8-14 Day Temperature Outlook indicates well below normal temperatures April 3-7. Hang in there, spring and solid singletrack will be here before you know it.
High bust potential with this forecast. The NAM & GFS model put the Twin Cities in 1"-3" of snow with the best chance of any 3"-4"+ totals occurring in the southern suburbs. On the other hand, if the Euro (ECMWF, the model I typically favor) verifies most of the Twin Cities will not even see snow with only southeastern MN getting a heavy, wet snow! Either way, snow totals will quickly decrease on the north side of storm, potentially in some areas going from 6” to 1” within 50-100 miles.
Never rule out winter in March. A potential plowable snow looks to threaten southern Minnesota...and get awfully close to the Twin Cities Wednesday.
*Timing: Wednesday-early Thursday
*Southern Minnesota could receive significant amounts of snow
*Exact track of storm still uncertain
*Location of heavy snow could change
The storm track will make all the difference.
Just a 10 mile shift north or south with the track could literally mean the difference between no snow or 10 inches of snow.
After Wednesday colder air arrives. A light rain and snow mix is likely Friday night. Temperatures are expected to stay below normal through the extended forecast.
End of El Nino
Latest analysis and monitoring show that the El Nino of 2015-2016 has come to an end.
"During January – March 2015, a significant sub-surface warming occurred across the eastern Pacific. During August-late September, positive anomalies decreased. Positive anomalies decreased during November and December, increased during the first half of January 2016, and have significantly decreased over the last month to near zero." Source: CPC, NCEP, NOAA
The forecast now indicates that La Nina conditions will increase 50% August-October. What does this mean for Minnesota weather? The last time a strong La Nina followed a strong El Nino was in 1998 when the following weather conditions were experienced:
June: slightly cooler, drier than average
July: slightly cooler, drier
September: warmer, drier than average
October: slightly warmer
November: slightly warmer
December: warmer, wet, snowier
Developing La Nina conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean may mean a drier autumn for Minnesota that could increase the chance of drought come fall 2016.
Meteorological winter was the 8th warmest for the Twin Cities, but the warmest on record for the entire USA. Thank you, El Nino!
The ongoing El Nino is likely past its peak with a transition to neutral conditions for a time late spring and early summer 2016. Odds favor La Nina cool phase developing late in the year which may increase the risk of drought by autumn.
Seasonal Outlook: Spring
Temperatures: The March-April 2016 temperature outlook favors above normal temperatures across the majority of the U.S. The odds are highest from the Great Lakes across northern Minnesota and into the Pacific Northwest.
Precipitation: Seasonal precipitation across Minnesota is expected to be similar to climatological probabilities through May.
The vernal equinox (astronomical start to spring) is March 20. Even still it's like spring came early this year with a streak of days near 60F earlier this month. Not bad considering we could still be shoveling snow this time of year!
Spring fever anyone? Temps hit the low 60s on Monday making it the warmest day of the year so far and warmest since mid-November. What's crazy is that the normal high during early March is 37 degrees...37!
Temperatures will continue to hold above normal, despite a slight cool down early next week, In fact, a warm bias remains well into May.
The date when spring weather arrives (as measured by first bud data) is earlier than in recent decades. Spring in Minnesota is arriving 3 days earlier compared to 30 years ago. Some states have spring arriving as much as 5 days earlier than 30 years ago.
While an early spring may mean an early start to riding dirt, the shift does have ecological consequences. As Climate Central puts it:
Changing temperature cues can disrupt the temporal match between plant and animal processes, leaving insects without food and plants without pollinators. An earlier growing season can also increase water stress while leaving plants more vulnerable to frost damage after starting growth too soon.
March can be an interesting weather month. From blizzards to severe storms, March can produce just about anything. A storm that arrives on the west coast Sunday is poised to bring Minnesota a mild rain Monday-Tuesday. Maybe even our first rumbles of thunder for the season!
Through the extended forecast temperatures are likely to stay above freezing, even during the overnight. As a result rapid snow melt will continue. Safe to say the singletrack will remain closed throughout the remainder of the spring thaw.
The Twin Cities and central Minnesota are virtually void of snow at the moment. A series of storms this past week freshened up the snowpack across southern Minnesota. Bet on most of this snow to be gone by next week as 50s and 60s return to the region.
Summer brings warm afternoons perfect for biking, but the summer heat and humidity can also spark thunderstorms and severe weather. Be prepared for any type of adverse weather headed your way with Aeris Pulse.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story