Magnificent Monday! Jekyll & Hyde week; La Nina spring

Sunshine alert!

Would you believe back to back days of fabulous spring like weather?

Today is the day to get out for an outdoor lunch or walk. Look for traffic jams with walkers, runners & roller bladers around area parks this evening.

Temps will push into the 60s today (Metro near 67) under bright sunny skies. Enjoy!!

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Jekyll & Hyde weather week:

If this week’s weather is like a roller coaster, we’re at the top of the hill. Get ready to put your arms up in the air and scream as we take a dive down the hill Tuesday.

Three glorious days in a row seems too much to ask this spring, and it looks like a change in weather mood will move in Tuesday.

The next low pressure system will spin up over the Upper Midwest Tuesday & Wednesday.

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The result is rain for the southern half of Minnesota, and some of it could add up to between .50″ and 1″+ including areas in and near the Twin Cities.

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It looks like the system may have a sharp northern edge cut off, meaning little or no rainfall to the north around Brainerd and other spots in central Minnesota.

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There is some indication the atmosphere could be marginally cold enough for a few wet snowflakes to mix in late Tuesday night & Wednesday morning, but at this point I don’t see much chance of anything more than a brief accumulation on grassy areas, especially north of the metro.

Weather improves again late week:

The fast moving jet stream flowing over the Upper Midwest will send another brief break in the weather toward Minnesota Thursday & Friday. Look for sunshine to return and increasingly mild weather with highs back into the (upper?) 60s Friday.

Right now, Monday, Thursday & Friday look like the best days this week for baseball practice or other outdoor activities.

Rain returns Friday night & Saturday?

The next low pressure storm (after Tuesday’s system) appears headed this way Friday night into Saturday. We could see a bout of thunder late Friday night or early Saturday morning as this system approaches.

Weekned: Windy & cooler

It’s early, but at this point the weekend looks windy & cooler. One of these weekends we’ll time things to get two sunny mild days in a row…but probably not next weekend.

St. Louis EF-4 tornado damage surveys in:

NWS St. Louis has the latest on the devestating EF-4 tornado that blasted St. Louis Airport Friday evening.

“During the evening of Friday April 22, an intense supercell thunderstorm produced a long-track tornado which tore a path of destruction from west to east across the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. The tornado reached a maximum intensity of EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale as it tracked through the community of Bridgeton, just west of Lambert St. Louis International Airport. The total path length was 22 miles, with a width of up to 0.4 miles.”

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Drought, tornadoes, floods, & spring snowfall: Blame it on La Nina?

Meteorologists sometimes like to explain several events with one “big picture” answer.

This may be one of those years where we can do that.

What do massive Texas brush fires, Oklahoma drought, Iowa & Missouri tornadoes and Minnesota floods and spring snowfall have in common? The answer just may be La Nina.

All of these things have a tendency to occur in La Nina years.

The explanation from NOAA:

Since a strong jet stream is an important ingredient for severe weather, the position of the jet stream determines the regions more likely to experience tornadoes.

Contrasting El Niño and La Niña winters, the jet stream over the United States is considerably different. During El Niño the jet stream is oriented from west to east over the northern Gulf of Mexico and northern Florida. Thus this region is most susceptible to severe weather. During La Niña the jet stream extends from the central Rockies east- northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes. Thus severe weather is likely to be further north and west during La Niña than El Niño.”

More La Nina answers from NOAA here.

Ice out update: Gull Lake mostly ice free

I had a chance to visit my place on Gull Lake over the weekend, and it looks like Gull is mostly ice free. I would estimate there about 30% ice cover as of Easter Sunday, with about 70% of the lake open water.

Here are some photos.

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Get the latest ice out updates here.

Judging from the traffic coming home along I-94 late Easter Sunday, many folks took the Easter weekend to open up the cabin for the first time!

Winter Severity Index 2010-’11: Moderately severe?

You probably don’t need me to tell you we just lived through a moderately severe winter in Minnesota.

Believe it or not, the Minnesota DNR keeps tabs on just how “severe” the winter is when it comes to deer survival. Here are the categories for last winter up north, courtesy of the Duluth News Tribune.

Minnesota winter severity: Moderately severe

The final Winter Severity Index numbers are in for stations across Northeastern Minnesota, and in many places, it was a “moderately severe” winter by Department of Natural Resources standards. The agency uses the readings primarily to calculate the effects of winter on deer survival.

One point is added to the WSI each day the temperature falls below zero, and another is added for each day the snow depth is greater than 15 inches.

The highest reading, 193, was at Poplar Lake along the Gunflint Trail. That was the only station that fell into the “severe winter” category, although Snowbank Lake near Ely was close at 177. Here are some other final readings: Grand Rapids, 98; International Falls, 150; Isabella, 159; Eveleth, 150; Cloquet, 112; Brimson, 149; Tower, 164.

Here’s how the DNR classifies winters based on the WSI:

Mild winter — WSI less than 100

Average winter — WSI of 120

Moderate winter — WSI 121-140

Moderately severe winter — WSI 141-180

Severe winter — WSI more than 180

Enjoy the sunshine today!

PH

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