Suddenly Spring; Rapid snow melt; Drought thirsty soils easing flood threat?

Forecast: Better Weather News

Finally some good weather news to write about.

After one more chilly day with a light wintry mix Wednesday, the weather maps look blissfully quiet, and warmer in the next week. Our “Sudden Spring” of 2013″ kicks in starting on Thursday and ramps up this weekend.

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In this Updraft we look forward to the mildest stretch of weather in 6 months, and an improving Red River Flood forecast.

Maybe, just maybe ‘Meteorologist” in Minnesota is about to become a much more coveted profession in the next 2 weeks?

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“Expect the Unprecedented”

On MPR’s Climate Cast last week and Saturday at the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Earth Day Event I talked about how our changing climate system seems to be causing our weather patterns to get “stuck” …often for months at a time.

Our wacked out climate system has produced yet another series of unprecedented, record setting events in Minnesota. This time it’s been an unprecedented late season snow blitz.

The Duluth NWS has the details on how our late season snowfall surge has rewritten the record books in The Northland.

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Adding Up: With 129.4″ this is now the 3rd snowiest winter on record in Duluth!

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Going Fast:

If you blink, or took an extra long nap it’s possible you could have missed our latest snowfall. Did that really happen last night?

The sun is as high in the sky over Minnesota as it is on August 19th.

Here’s what strong direct late April sunlight can do to 4″ to 6″ of snow cover on April 23rd.

Before: Here’s the NASA MODIS Terra shot this morning showing a fresh snow cover over southern Minnesota.

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After: By late afternoon this COD Weather Lab GOES 1km vis shot shows most of the snow gone near the Twin Cities.

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Welcome to Minnesota: Snow to 70F in under a week?

Call it our own version of weather whiplash.

Last year we enjoyed our 1st 60F on March 6th. This year, Friday looks like the day.

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We should record another milestone by Sunday with our 1st 70F temps likely in the metro.

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Slightly better Red River forecast?

The “flash melt” will spike river leves this week. But the drought of 2012 may be sucking up some of that moisture in the melting snow before it can run off into our rivers.

NWS Hydrologist Steve Buan told MPR Tuesday why there may be cautious optimism that the Red may avoid the dreaded record crest that looked more likely two weeks ago.


But the delayed spring means the sun is at a higher angle and can more quickly thaw the soil, National Weather Service river forecast expert Steve Buan said.

“If we’ve thawed 12 inches of the soil, about 30 percent would be field capacity,” Buan said. “So that would be about 3.5 inches of water in that layer of soil.”

That means about 3 inches to 3.5 inches of the water in the melting snow are soaking into the dry soil rather than running off into rivers.

Engineer Tom Richels said that corresponds with the change he sees when he tests the water in the snowpack in Wilkin County. The most recent snow measurement he took was two days ago.

“Where I took it there was 4 inches of snow and that had about 1.5 inches of water in it,” Richels said. “About two months ago that same area had a good 5 inches of water. “

Good news for Red River Valley residents, but major flooding is still likely on the Red next week.

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Meteorologists: “We’re #29!”

Career Cast just came out with their “Top 200 Jobs” list for 2013. “Meteorologist” came in at #29?

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Low stress? Maybe in San Diego.

Have they looked at the doppler or scanned my email & twitter account lately?

Oh wait, “Broadcaster” ranked # 184 out of 200.

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That makes more sense lately. Even with the “rigors” of the past few weeks, I love my career and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Hey at least as “Meteorologists” we finished above “Human Resources Manager” as a profession. (No offense intended to MPR or any other HR managers out there, but babysitting the corporate “adults” can’t be an easy job!)

Hey MPR: Can I get one of these?

This is the year for local Twin Cities media promotions departments to spring for the advertising your local weatherman at Target Field.

Check out the ad for my former WGN-TV weather colleague, mentor and all around great guy Tom Skilling at the White Sox ballpark in Chicago.

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Thanks to @darrenrovell for passing this along.

PH

  • andy

    Tom Skilling rocks. That being said, I refer to your blog for weather updates, even though I live in Chicago….. You guys must be doing something right.