2011 weekend weather rut! Lilacs, Active hurricane update

How do you know it’s the weekend in Minnesota?

If it’s raining or snowing, it’s probably the weekend.

I’ll make this as short and painless as possible, but we are stuck in a major weekend weather rut in Minnesota.

Another good soaking is on the way just in time for the weekend. I thought I’d take a look back and see if it’s just me, or has our weekend weather really been lousy this year.

Turns out, it’s not just me.

20 weekends so far in 2011 (including this upcoming weekend)

18 weekends have featured at least a trace of precip in 2011 (rain or snow)

90% of all weekends have had at least at race of rain or snow in 2011!

50% of all weekends in 2011 have had some rain or snow both days!

92% of all weekends since December 2010 have had some rain or snow

Looking back through the data shows it’s not just trace amounts either. We’ve had some whopper weekend storms since December including:

-Dec 10-11 “Domebuster” 17.1″ snowfall (5th biggest all time snowfall for MSP)

-February 20-21 Presidents’ Day Storm 13.8″ snowfall (15th biggest snowfall for MSP)

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We’re way overdue for a totally dry sunny weekend around these parts! It just won’t happen this weekend.

Lilacs bloom:

How about some upbeat weather news for a change!

Finally some signs of life at the Weather Lab. The first (Chinese?) lilacs started blooming this week.

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Lilacs in bloom at the weather lab Thursday.

According to Jim Gilbert’s Nature Notebook, the average date for the first common purple lilacs to start blooming in Waconia was about May 15th back in the 70s. That date moved earlier by as much as a week or more during the 1990s and 2000s.

Looks like we’re having a 1970s spring in Minnesota this year.

Rain still on the way this weekend:

My forecast for rain on Friday & Saturday remains pretty much the same from my post this morning. Details here.

NOAA: Active 2011 Hurricane season ahead

NOAA released it’s updated hurricane outlook for this season and they still expect an active year for hurricanes in 2011.

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“Across the entire Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting the following ranges this year:

12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:

6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:

3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)”

Climate factors remain favorbale for an active hurricane season this summer.

“The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season’s tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “However we can’t count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook.”

Climate factors considered for this outlook are:

-The continuing high activity era. Since 1995, the tropical multi-decadal signal has brought ocean and atmospheric conditions conducive for development in sync, leading to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons.

-Warm Atlantic Ocean water. Sea surface temperatures where storms often develop and move across the Atlantic are up to two degrees Fahrenheit warmer-than-average.

-La Niña, which continues to weaken in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is expected to dissipate later this month or in June, but its impacts such as reduced wind shear are expected to continue into the hurricane season.”

As we say in the weather biz…stay tuned!

Seeley: “A great week for Farmers”

Check out Mark Seeley’s Weather Talk commentary Friday morning on MPR’s Morning Edition at around 6:45am.

Here’s a taste.

“Topic: Finally, a weather window for Minnesota farmers

The long winter, prolonged spring flood season, saturated soil conditions, and cooler than normal soil temperatures finally abated significantly this week with a string of ideal, sunny and warm days that allowed Minnesota farmers to make rapid progress in planting crops. Planting acreage on corn, wheat, and sugarbeets advanced by leaps and bounds this week, with the largest fraction of land being planted over a 4-day period, Monday-Thursday.

Average 4-inch soil temperatures rose from the upper 40s F last weekend into the mid-60s F during the week, making the seedbed suitable for rapid germination of planted crops. In addition 4-5 consecutive days without rain and with good drying conditions allowed even the wettest of soils to become workable. Still, for corn this is the latest planting season in well over a decade.”


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