Instant Spring: From snow to 70F this weekend; Red River on the rise

Instant Spring of 2013

Enjoy the fresh wintery scene in Minnesota today. It does a disappearing act this week.

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Like the visiting uncle who stayed too long this time, winter finally hits the road this week.

But not before leaving its mark in the record books.

Duluth has shoveled and plowed 51″ of snow this April. That’s the most ever in April…and the most in any month on record in Duluth. This is now the 3rd snowiest winter on record in Duluth with a whopping 129.4″ so far. Ouch.

Like flipping a switch, our weather pattern changes for the warmer later this week. Much warmer.

The rapid warmup will melt snow fast, and send rivers surging higher in a hurry.

All eyes will be on the Red River by this weekend as water levels rise rapidly.

The good news?

You will be tempted to fire up the grill and pull out the golf clubs by Saturday.


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17.6″ April snowfall at MSP Airport (3rd snowiest April on record)

66.9″ so far this winter at MSP Airport

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Snow done, sun next

It’s over.

Yes, we may see a few more renegade snow squalls late Wednesday, and maybe even a slushy coating in some areas. But the really big accumulating April snow blitz is over.

Mark it down.

Our latest snow blitz brought down several inches of fresh wet cement snow again. Here’s the list of snowfall totals for the Twin Cities and Duluth.

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Expect the Unprecedented: Snowfall records fall:

Welcome to another unprecedented Minnesota weather event. This time it’s Duluth.

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The city at the Head of the Great Lakes has plowed a whopping 51″ of snow this April.

Not only is that the snowiest April ever on record, it’s the snowiest month ever in Duluth. In April. Not January or March. April.

It’s also the 3rd snowiest winter on record with an impressive 129.4″ so far.

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The Big Melt: Major warming trend kicks in later this week

It’s great to see the sunshine today. The sun is as high in the sky today as on August 19th. Today will be a study in just how quickly that “summer” sun intensity can melt a fresh pile of April snow.

Wednesday looks like the last day you may curse a chilly breeze and a few snowflakes in the air. A weaker clipper may spawn a mix of rain & snow showers Wednesday PM & evening. A slushy coating is possible Wednesday evening.

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On Thursday, our winds shift into the southwest, and the real warm up begins.

The snow should be history in the metro and southern Minnesota by Thursday PM.

Once the ground is bare, the vast majority of the increasing sun intensity will go toward heating the air.

We have a shot at our 1st 60F reading Friday in the metro…and temps will soar well into the 60s and possibly hit 70F this weekend.

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Finally. Our 1st 60F comes about 1 month later than average this year. Last year we hit 60F on March 6th!

Here to stay?

The Euro models keeps temps in the 70s…and even pushing 80F as we head into next week. The GFS wants to cool us off a bit early next week, but still into the 60s.

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Either way I just don’t see a return to cold & snow any time soon. Hopefully for another 6-7 months?

River Watch: Red River rising

All that snow has to go somewhere. Most of it will flow into rivers & lakes.

You could see this one coming a mile off.

With 5″ to 10″ of liquid…or Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) ready to wash into the Red River watershed, river levels will spike in the next week.

The NWS forecasts a 16 FOOT rise in the Red River at Fargo by next Monday, just 6 days from now.

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The red looks likely to crest the 1st week of May or so…at or near the all time record level of 40.8 feet.

All eyes on the Red River in the next week, and all hand on deck filling sandbags in Fargo and surrounding Red River towns.


  • mark

    ugh. Yesterday afternoon I drove from Chicago to St; Paul, it felt like I went back in time 2 months from early May to early March. Such a bummer.

  • Brent

    So does this mean winter will be 1 month late this year as well??

  • Chris

    First, to live up to expectations Minnesotans should be grilling year round. I do on my deck.

    Second, only 5 months until the first recorded snows in the Cities! Seven months until the ski areas open. 🙂

  • Lars

    These Spring snow storms are kind of nice with the sun so warm. Also, the snow on the branches is incredibly beautiful, and deserves a big round of applause to the Creator–“the skies proclaim the work of His hands”. Psalm 19

    Paul you deserve a vacation (and Craig too)!

  • Disco

    Is it just my imagination, or is it EXTREMELY bright outside due to the higher sun angle and higher solar energy this time of year? This is the latest in the year I have ever seen snow of any amount. Even with sunglasses I was squinting. I think it’s brighter than it would be with snow in December or January.

    I found a forumla for determining extraterrestrial solar illuminance, so I’m still calculating it.

  • Disco

    OK, I figured it out. There’s a great solar radiation calculator at

    Lowest day of the year: 12/21, we are are receiving about 519 watts per square meter at solar noon.

    Today, 4/23, it’s 1142 w/m2. So that is 2.2 times what is called the Extraterrestrial Global Horizontal Solar Irradiance that we receive on the winter solstice.

    The maximum is on 6/20 at 1228 w/m2. So we’re really not far off from the max solar energy we receive.

    So no, it’s not just my imagination that it is blindingly bright outside.

  • bc

    So this means I won’t get a chance to cross country ski again, like on Saturday, April 20th? The freezing temps on Saturday morning made for a strong enough crust to allow for “crust cruising” at Theodore Wirth Park. It was glorious. Really. Some of the best skiing I’ve done this year. All of the other skiers I met seemed a little dazed to be on such amazing snow. Truthfully, I’ll miss that…sigh.