Warmth of March sun? Not so much this year

There is some warmth in the March sun. In fact, my outoor thermometer, positioned in the direct sunshine, at five foot, level reach 37 degrees this aftenoon. I suppose if you found a sunny spot, out of the wind, this afternoon wasn’t particularly nasty. Official temperatures are recorded in the shade.

On this date last year, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport topped out a a record high of 79 F.

Tomorrow is the vernal equinox at 602 a.m. CDT. We’ve gained about two and a half hours of daylight since mid January. Sunset on Wednesday in the Twin Cities is 726 p.m. CDT.


3 p.m. CDT temperatures. Source:Unisys Weather

This afternoon it was a very warm 82 degrees in Ft. Myers, Florida. Meanwhile, Devils Lake, North Dakota was chilling at 10 degrees with a wind chill of 8 below zero.

A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota after dark into Wednesday morning. Wind Chill readings will range from 20 to 30 below zero.

Yes, you can get a sun damage on your exposed skin at cold temperatures. The UV index for today suggested sun damage in our neck of the woods could occur with 45 minutes of exposure. Sunburn likely in less than a half hour in south Florida today.


Source:US EPA

There was some melting and sublimation of snow in the sun exposed area. The gusty winds also helped to take some snow/ice directly to water vapor.

I took a core sampe of the snowpack this afternoon to get a good approximation of the water content in the snow. Snow has compacted and compressed in the past few days, The water equivalent in the seven inches of snow was 2.3 inches in Eden Prairie.


This visible satellite image (below) from this afternoon nicely displays the snow covered landscape. Some clouds are mixed in over the eastern Dakotas and southwest Minnesota. But you can see the rather sparse snow cover in southwest Minnesota.


Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

Check the previous blog for snow depth.

Some of the coldest air in the continental US is positioned over Minnesota and doesn’t show much sign of moving on. The jet stream remains locked in a pattern that keeps the upper Midwest and much of New England well below normal for the next ten days.


Forecast temperatures and winds from the NAM at 7 a.m. Thursday CDT.

Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

The normal temperatures are on the way up. The normal maximum in the Twin Cities on this date is 43 F, but climbs to 50 F by April 1st.

I’m not seeing much of a big moderation through the remainder of March. There is a lot of snow on the landscape that needs to disappear and then we can start heating up the frozen soil.

Perhaps the next big precipitation producers will skirt Minnesota and Wisconsin to the south.

Paul will be tracking the potential for a “warm-up”, but don’t get your hopes up.

Craig Edwards

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