Sunshine Watch; Milder; NWS “Impact Based” Warnings coming to Minnesota

Sunshine Panic

The phones rang off the hook at the Weather Lab Tuesday. Frantic callers reported a strange, bright yellow object in the sky.

The alarms quieted down considerably as a few grey clouds drifted overhead, and scattered snowflakes floated gently earthward once again. Calm and civil order were restored.

Tuesday’s sunshine was a welcome spirit booster. If the maps are right, we’ll see even more sun Wednesday. Alert the media.

My latest weather musings include the NWS decision to roll out “Impact Based” severe weather warnings for 2013 in Minnesota and the Midwest. We’ll also track some sunshine, milder temps and evaluate our snow chances in the next week.

Weather has a way of balancing out over time, and it appears this March is trying to make up for last year’s record warmth.

Is it April yet?

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun

And I say it’s all right – Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

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Sunshine at the Weather Lab Tuesday

Image: Paul Huttner -MPR News

Walkin’ On Sunshine

Our partly sunny Tuesday interlude looks for a repeat performance Wednesday.

As the center of high pressure drifts overhead, there should be enough dry, sinking air to produce mostly sunny skies. Sunshine is never a guarantee with narrow high pressure ridges in winter & spring, but I think Wednesday’s “ridge” should have enough oomph to provide some decent sun with just a few renegade clouds.

Any sun seems welcome these days. I count 7 of 11 days at MSP so far in March before Tuesday with mostly cloudy skies, with plenty of rain, snow and fog in between.

Temps will be slow to recover though…and highs around 30F seem reasonable.

Rapid Weather Changes Ahead:

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes.”

That old weather saying holds true this week in Minnesota.

A fast moving jet stream overhead means some quick weather changes again starting Thursday.

This European Model “Meteogram” details hour by hour changes over the next 48 hours.

(As always, click to expand images for a better view)

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Image: Norwegian Met Institute

Here’s my best breakdown of the upcoming quick weather changes later this week.

Thursday: Possible light snow shot for AM rush hour. Trending sunnier & milder with a PM thaw. High near 39.

Friday: Milder with a chance of rain showers. High near 40.

(1″ to 3″ snowfall in northern Minnesota.)

Saturday: Turning sunny, blustery & colder. High 28.

Sunday: Clouds increase. High near 29.

Monday: Chance of snow. Potentially “plowable.”

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Comment: There is still considerable uncertainty regarding Monday’s potential snow system. All models have backed off slightly on potential snow totals Monday, but the usually more reliable Euro still cranks out .51″ liquid…as all snow Monday. That would translate into “several” inches if accurate.

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NWS: “Impact Based” severe weather warnings coming to Minnesota

You may notice a difference in the way severe weather warnings sound in Minnesota this year. NWS is expanding the use of “Impact Based” warnings this year.

Many people in the deadly Joplin tornado of 2011 did not heed NWS warnings, and died as a result. NWS is making changes on their end to try and save lives.

The goal?

Enhanced “situational urgency” during life-threatening severe weather outbreaks.

Here are some details from NWS.

An experimental National Weather Service warning enhancement will be used across much of the central U.S. this thunderstorm season (beginning April 1). This is an expansion of a smaller NWS experiment that began in Kansas and Missouri in 2012.

The Impact Based Warning (IBW) experimental product is an effort to better communicate severe weather threats within National Weather Service warnings. While the basic function of Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado warnings will remain the same, additional enhanced information will be provided within the warning to provide additional expected “impact” information.

The goals are to provide more information through the warnings in order to facilitate improved public response and decision making, and to better meet societal needs in the most life-threatening weather events. This effort is in response to key findings from recent service assessments of devastating tornadoes in 2011, particularly the EF-5 tornado in Joplin, MO.

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  • Teresa Boardman

    what is your best guess as to when spring like weather will arrive? April perhaps?