Coldest since March; 40s Sunday? Watching rain/snow next week

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3 degrees – low temp in parts of the metro Friday morning

March 2nd last time we were that cold at MSP Airport (-3 degrees)

15 forecast high temp at MSP Friday

28 forecast high Saturday

38+ forecast highs by Sunday afternoon!

40s possible Sunday in snow free areas west of the metro

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Brief Wintery Blast:

Grab the big coat Friday.

The coldest air in 9 months has invaded Minnesota. Temps should hover a few degrees either side of 0 in much of Minnesota early Friday morning, with some solid sub-zero readings up north. Even with bright sun Friday, temps will not recover out of the teens.

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A milder Pacific breeze will begin to moderate temps slightly Saturday. Bank thermometers should manage to flash 28 by 3pm Saturday. By Sunday a milder Pacific air mass will work on melting some snow in southern Minnesota. Highs should top out in the upper 30s to near 40 in the metro, with some 40s possible in snow free areas west of the metro.

Sharp snow cutoff visible from space

Speaking of snow free areas, check out Thursday’s MODIS Terra’s 250 meter resolution visible image. You can clearly see several interesting features. Snow cover is evident along the Minnesota River into the Twin Cities. A sharp cutoff on the western edge of the snowpack runs just west of the metro, with bare ground out west in Hutchinson and Willmar.

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You can see why forecasting snowstorms is one of the most difficult forecast meteorologists have to make. You can literally drive from 3″ of snow to bare ground in about 5 minutes!

Possible “Panhandle Hook” next week?

I’m keeping an eye on a potential system for next Wednesday & Thursday. The GFS is spinning up a strong upper low in the Texas-Oklahoma Panhandle region early Wednesday.

The system should gulp down moisture from a wide open Gulf of Mexico and pump it north into Minnesota Wednesday.

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They system appears warm enough for rain to start, but rain could change to snow as the low moves by Thursday.

It’s way too early to tell how this might pan out, but there is a decent chance of rain and or snow next Wednesday & Thursday.

Stay tuned.

Artcic Report Card: Warmer

NOAA has an interesting video on changes in the Arctic as a result of persistent warming in recent decades.

2011: Year of Extreme Weather

NOAA also has a nice compilation of extreme “billion dollar” weather events in 2011.

“From extreme drought, heat waves and floods to unprecedented tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms, a record 12 weather and climate disasters in 2011 each caused $1 billion or more in damages — and most regrettably, loss of human lives and property.”

Good to be back home:

I’m back form a week in Vegas visitng my best friend from college. It was a great week, but it’s good to be back home!

There are some interesting things going on around Vegas in weather & water news. More on that tomorrow.


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