Colder Tuesday; some rain on Thursday

We started astronomical Spring on a mild note, with highs in the 50s over much of central and southern Minnesota, and 40s over the most of the north.

Duluth was able to reach 51 degrees Monday afternoon, and it looked like Spring outside the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center:

Duluth/ Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

We topped out at 56 degrees at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which is well above our average high of 43 degrees.

Colder Tuesday and Wednesday

Highs will be in the 20s over northern Minnesota on Tuesday, with mostly 30s in central and southern Minnesota. Some spots in the Twin Cities metro area could touch 40.

Temps recover a bit on Tuesday, with 30s in central and northern Minnesota, and some lower 40s in the south:

If you like it a bit warmer, hang in there.

The Twin Cities metro area should see highs in the upper 40s Thursday and Friday.

Rain and snow

Parts of Minnesota could see some scattered rain and snow showers Wednesday night.

Then, the main event arrives on Thursday.

A low-pressure system moving out of the Rockies will spread rain over Minnesota on Thursday, and periods of mostly rain are expected on Friday.  Northeastern Minnesota could see some snow mixed with the rain from Thursday into early Friday.

Periods of rain continue Friday night and into early Saturday over southern Minnesota.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern:

NOAA GFS model precipitation from Thursday through Saturday, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the hourly precipitation rate, not inches of rain or snow!

Southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area could see an inch or more of rain from late Thursday into early Saturday.

GOES-16 lightning

One very nice feature of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newest weather satellite is the ability to plot lightning strikes.

This is one hour of GOES-16’s Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) lightning data from Feb. 14:

NOAA/NASA

According to NOAA and NASA:

The first lightning detector in a geostationary orbit, the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), is transmitting data never before available to forecasters. The mapper continually looks for lightning flashes in the Western Hemisphere, so forecasters know when a storm is forming, intensifying and becoming more dangerous. Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm is strengthening quickly and could produce severe weather.

During heavy rain, GLM data will show when thunderstorms are stalled or if they are gathering strength. When combined with radar and other satellite data, GLM data may help forecasters anticipate severe weather and issue flood and flash flood warnings sooner. In dry areas, especially in the western United States, information from the instrument will help forecasters, and ultimately firefighters, identify areas prone to wildfires sparked by lightning.

Meteorologists are looking forward to using this new information as we track thunderstorms and severe weather in the coming months and years!