Springy Saturday; Coldest Twins Opener on record Monday? Updated flood risk

Taste of Spring

At least we’re making progress.

Friday’s afternoon’s mixed sun and the warmest temps of the year so far felt remarkably good.

The Weather Lab thermometer in the west metro finally hit 50F Friday PM for the first time in 2013.

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Only in Minnesota does 50 degrees in the sun feel like spring, but after this persistent winter, we’ll take it.

The weather maps take another step forward…then 2 steps back in the next few days.

In this Updraft we look at the some encouraging overall trends in the maps, and preview what could challenge as the coldest home opener in Minnesota Twins history Monday.

Play Ball!?

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Weekend Split: Mild Saturday gives way to Easter chill

Our weekend features half spring, half wintery relapse.

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Saturday may feel like a carbon copy of Friday. A few morning showers should give way to some afternoon sun. As the strong near April sun peeks out, temps will make another run at 50 in the metro…with 50s likely in now snow free areas of southern Minnesota.

Sunday’s cold front leaves no doubt that it’s still March. Look for frigid northwest breezes and temps falling back into the 30s for Easter Sunday.

Going…going….

Our late week warm up has done a number on snow cover in southern Minnesota. We’ve melted 6″ of snow in the metro in the past week.

The Twin Cities sported an 8″ snow pack late last week. By Friday morning snow cover at MSP was down to 2″.

MAX/MIN TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION TABLE FOR MINNESOTA

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

730 AM CDT FRI MAR 29 2013

: MAX MIN SNOW SNOW

:ID LOCATION TEMP TEMP PCPN FALL DEPTH

DLH : DULUTH MN : 46 / 22 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16

INL : INTERNATIONAL FALLS MN : 46 / 11 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 24

MSP : MINNEAPOLIS MN : 44 / 32 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 2

RST : ROCHESTER MN : 40 / 25 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 8

STC : ST CLOUD MN : 39 / 27 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 11

There’s still plenty of deep snow up north, but check out Thursday’s NASA MODIS Terra 250 meter resolution image south of the metro.

You can clearly see the rapidly eroding snow cover over southern Minnesota, with the leading edge of the “snow free zone” working its way north up the Minnesota River Valley from Mankato.

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Image: NASA

NWS Hydrology: Updated flood risk for Upper Midwest

The Twin Cities NWS “hydrology” diivision updated the outlook Friday. The extra snow in March and a delayed snow melt have increased flood risk in some areas.

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The following locations have a normal risk for flooding.

•St Cloud on the Sauk River

•Redwood Falls on the Redwood River

•Mayer on the South Fork of Crow River

•New Ulm on the Cottonwood River

•Granite Falls on the Minnesota River

•Savage on the Minnesota River

•Anoka on the Mississippi River

•Minneapolis on the Mississippi River

•St Paul on the Mississippi River

•Hastings on the Mississippi River

•Lock and Dam 3 on the Mississippi River

•Red Wing on the Mississippi River

•Stillwater on the St Croix River

•Fall Creek on the Eau Claire River – In Wisconsin

While severe to extreme drought conditions still exist still across the region, precipitation from December 2012 through the end of March has been near normal to even above normal in some areas. Hence some regions do have a decent snow pack. Snow depths of 1.5 to over 2 feet are common in the upper Minnesota and Mississippi River Valleys.

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Water in the Snowpack or Snow Water Equivalents – March 25, 2013

In the areas with deeper snowpack, water equivalents (shown below) of 4 to 6 inches are common.

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Bottom line? With 4″ to 6″ of water in the snowpack over western & central Minnesota, there’s still pelnty of risk for high water this spring on area rivers. A rapid warmup and rain in early April will increase that risk.

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Cold Opener: Football weather for Twins Opening Day Monday

You knew this would happen eventually when the Twins moved outdoors in 2012.

Target Field has been blessed with great opening day weather the past 3 seasons.

2010 68F

2011 64F

2012 48F

Pete Boulay of the MN Climate Working Group put together this excellent look back at the history of opening day “outdoor baseball” weather for the Twins.

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Metropolitan Stadium in 1981

Courtesy: Wikipedia

April 1, 2013 will be the earliest outdoor opener in Twins History in Minnesota.

April in Minnesota is a transitional month. The weather can fluctuate wildly from some fairly hot days to some very chilly readings and even some snowfall. The Minnesota Twins returned to outdoor baseball in 2010. The Twins also played outdoor baseball from 1961 to 1981 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and then moved to the Metrodome from 1982 to 2009. For the 21 home openers played at Metropolitan Stadium and the three home openers played so far at Target Field, there’s been a variety of weather conditions. The coldest home opener was April 14, 1962 with a high of 34 degrees and a low of 20 that day reported at the Twin Cities International Airport. Winds were quite brisk and gusting to 21mph out of the NW in the afternoon. The Minnesota Twins lost to the California Angels that day 5-12. The warmest opener was April 22, 1980 with a high temperature of 90 degrees. The Twins played the California Angels on this opener too, this time the Twins won 8-1. The average high temperature for the day on the dates for the home openers over the 24 years is 60 degrees.

There’s been a trace of snow reported at the International Airport on only one day that the Twins had an outdoor opener. This was on April 23, 1972- ironically the latest outdoor home opener. The afternoon had temperatures in the low 40′s with rain showers and a few ice pellets mixed in.

This year’s home opener will feel more like a Vikings game at the old Met.

Another surge of frigid Canadian high presure builds in Sunday night & Monday. That should mean plenty of sunshine, but temps will not climb out of the low to mid 30s Monday afternoon in the metro.

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Factor in the wind and it will feel like 22F.

The good news about Target Field? It has a built-in microclimate.

With the tall backside of the stadium blocking most of the chilly northwest winds, the sheltered concourse and overhead heaters will make it feel pretty decent “inside.” And it’s always a nice day in the Legend’s Club.

There are plenty of places to hide from the weather at TF. But for those intrepid enough to tough it out for 9 innings in your exposed seat in the outfield Monday, bring your stadium blanket and your underalls. It’s going to be an endurance test.

Hitters might get a whole new feeling taking a 90 mph fastball off the bat handle at 35F Monday!

PH

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