Pine trees trump bare, frozen soil; relatively slow start to tornado season

Paul Huttner has spoken before about the well-known effect of the forested region of northern Minnesota catching the warmth of the late winter and early spring sunshine.

Despite the two feet of snow on the ground, Crane Lake checked in with a temperature of 45 degrees F at 3 p.m. CDT. This relatively mild reading might suggest that someone go out and calibrate the thermometer.

Meanwhile, the bare, frozen soil of southern Minnesota, bathed in sunshine could only respond with temperatures in the upper 30s. It was 36 F in Jackson, MN at 3 p.m. CDT.

As of 7 a.m. CDT today Rochester reported a snow depth of 10 inches.

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Image:NOAA GOES

Can you make out the cities of Fargo-Moorhead and Grand Forks as the small dark dots along the Red River?

To our good fortune, the dominate chilly weather has kept down the threat for severe weather. There hasn’t been a thunderstorm reported at the Twin Cities International Airport since Nov. 10, 2012.

On the national landscape, tornadoes have been few this year. The Storm Prediction Center has recorded two deaths from tornadoes in 2013. One in Texas and one in Georgia. The Georgia tornado was evaluated as an EF3.

You can track the national tornado statistics at the Storm Prediction Center’s website.

No severe thunderstorms as expected across the CONUS through the remainder of March.

Differential heating is not just taking place in the forest. You can notice it in your own neighborhood by viewing the south-facing landscape.

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Image:Craig Edwards

There is still plenty of water in the remaining snowpack. Core samples are taken on Tuesday and reported to the NWS for monitoring the release of moisture in a rapid thaw.

I measured 2.3 inches of liquid remaining the average snowpack in my yard.

A mild rain storm, in concert with the thaw, creates a worst-case scenario for flooding.

The slow moderation will continue through the week. The sunshine and a bit of a wind help to evaporate some of the moisture from the melting snow.

Highs on Friday should be in the 40s over much of the state if we can hold on to some partial sunshine.

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A mixture of rain and snow is forecast to develop on Friday night. The GFS model is consistent with dropping a half-inch of moisture in the Twin Cities Metro area on Saturday morning.

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GFS 6 hour forecast of precipitation ending at 1 p.m. CDT Saturday.

Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

On Sunday afternoon temperatures will begin to slide. A very blustery day appears to be in store for Monday. The thermometer have a hard time reaching 40 F in the Twin Cities.

Craig Edwards

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