Wednesday Thundershowers; Fishing Opener ice-tracker; 80F by next Tuesday?

Getting Better

During 9 years as the evening weather guy in Arizona, I once did the weather live from the O.K. Corral.

Being your local weatherman in Minnesota the last 3 months in Minnesota has felt like bring in the line of fire from the Clanton Brothers, and an angry mob of winter agitated Minnesotans.

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These are better days to be a weatherman.

The weather maps insist spring is here to stay this time with a more “typical” May weather pattern.

May (thunder) showers work their way into the forecast Wednesday, a timely mid-week soaking for lawns & fields.

Many eyes this weekend are focused in ice and weather conditions in central and northern Minnesota. A long awaited economic boost to resorts, bait shops and kitschy Minnesota taverns is right around the corner. Will there be ice or open water on your favorite Minnesota lake?

The great thing about fishing opener in Minnesota is, at least half the fun is just getting there, being there, and spending some much needed quality time with your best friends & family.

And don’t forget Mom. Mother’s Day looks like the kinder, gentler day this weekend.

Perfect timing for Mother’s Day.

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Wednesday Maypril Showers

Low pressure spinning in from the west sets off bands of scattered showers…and a few thunderstorms Wednesday. Showers get going overnight and Wednesday morning in southwest Minnesota, and move into the Twin Cities by late morning into the afternoon.

-Latest Twin Cities radar

Here’s a handle on timing and totals in a graphic depiction from the European Model’s “meteogram.”

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Garden Variety Thunder?

The atmosphere looks just unstable enough for popping a few garden variety spring thundershowers Wednesday. NOAA’s best severe weather minds at SPC keep the slight risk for any severe storms well south on Minnesota…but include us in the “general thunderstorm” category.

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Tracking Ice-Out: Some big lakes go out Saturday?

There will be ice on some famous Minnesota lakes as you head north for fishing opener this week.

But there is a chance you may be there to watch a Saturday gale take out the ice on your favorite central Minnesota lake this year.

All the big lakes (Leech, Woman, Gull, Whitefish Chain. Mille Lacs) in central Minnesota will likely still have ice when the clock strikes midnight Saturday.

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You can track ice out with the MN DNR ice tracker here.

Here’s where things stand as of Tuesday afternoon. You can see some of the smaller lakes near Mille Lacs are ice free as of Tuesday PM.

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Fishing Opener Forecast 2013:

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Friday: Good day to get the boat in.

Mostly sunny. Highs 60s north, near 70 south. Light SW winds.

Friday looks like a great day to get your boat in and tested out on your favorite lake. Sunshine, 60s and lighter winds should make for a great “shakedown cruise.”

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Saturday: Cold front. Good day to fish from shore or the nearest bar?

Windy and colder with spotty showers. High in the 50s south, 40s north. Gusty NW winds 15-35 mph.

A strong cold front will drop into Minnesota Saturday. That means high winds and big, potentially dangerous waves on the bigger lakes…and ice cold water on the lakes that are ice free.

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Indoor “shore lunch” at the cabin or nearest restaurant anyone?

Windy days can break up ice on the big lakes this time of year.

I won’t be shocked to see the wind take some of the big lakes like Mille Lacs and Gull out… at least partially on Saturday. With gusty NW winds to 30-40 mph Saturday, don’t be surprised to see some big chunks of ice piling up on the southeast shore of some lakes in central Minnesota Saturday afternoon.

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Minnesota State Attorney General Walter Mondale and Minnesota Governor Karl Rolvaag display their catch on opening day of the 1963 Minnesota fishing season.

Courtesy: Minnesota Historical Society

Here’s a great summary of Minnesota Fishing Opener weather history from the MN Climate Working Group.

2013 Minnesota Fishing Opener Weather

The cold and cloudy weather (and sometimes snowy) has delayed the progress of spring in Minnesota. Spring phenology is lagging about a week and a half in the Twin Cities and about five weeks behind 2012. Lake ice out has also been delayed. In 2012 the entire state was ice free by April 10. As of mid April this year, lakes in southern Minnesota are losing their ice from about one to two weeks later than the median ice out dates calculated since 1950.

There’s been ice on lakes in northern Minnesota in some past years for the fishing opener. The most dramatic was 1950 with lakes still iced as far south as Osakis and Mille Lacs. 1950 was the latest ice out season for the 20th century and many of the late ice out records for lakes with long period of records stem from 1950. In more recent years there have been some lakes father north with ice on them for the fishing opener. These years include: 1966, 1979, 1996, 2008, and 2009.With 2009 there were just a couple lakes in the far northeastern tip of Minnesota still had ice on them.

Minnesota’s Fishing Opener weather is typified by partly cloudy to cloudy skies, morning temperatures in the low 40’s, and afternoon temperatures climbing to near 70. Three out of four years are free of measurable precipitation. A trace of snow has been reported in northern Minnesota on at least five of the last 64 fishing openers. On at least four occasions, some lakes were still frozen for the opener. Generally there is enough wind to be felt on the face, maybe enough to ‘fly’ a flag. Weather on Minnesota fishing opener dates is highly variable. 64 years of fishing opener weather data are summarized here to offer a glimpse of what is ‘typical’ and what is ‘extreme’.


Mother’s Day: Kinder, gentler and more lake worthy

Frosty start. Sunny & cool but less wind than Saturday. High near 60 south & west, 50s northeast. West wind 5-12 mph.

Mom has done so much for us, and she just keeps giving.

Mother’s Day will be the better day this weekend. A big bubble of cool but sunny high pressure will drift overhead Sunday. That mean a frosty start will give way to a sunny milder afternoon with lighter winds than the Saturday gales.

Patience may be rewarded this weekend as Sunday will be the better day to take mom for a walk to take in the explosion of May wildflowers, or get out on your favorite (newly ice free) lake and cast a line.

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Sequester may reduce NOAA’s twice daily weather balloon launch at some WFO’s

This is just what we need.

In an era of poor model forecast performance in the past few months, NOAA is forced to cut back and may reduce weather balloon launches at some USA sites.

Weather balloons collect the raw essential data the feed into forecast models. Garbage in, garbage out. Less data in, less reliable models out.

Details from Sam Stein at Huffpost.

This past Saturday, top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the weather service, proposed eliminating four out of seven night shifts for its hydro-meteorological technician units at that Sterling center. The cutback, the officials noted in an email obtained by The Huffington Post, would help the agency cope with a lingering staffing shortfall. Since March 2013, the WFO in Sterling has dealt with three vacancies (two of which extend back to October 2012), despite having an allotted staff of just five. The unit’s general forecaster office, which had helped fill some gaps, would take on some night shift responsibilities as well, according to the email.

Even then, however, the Sterling WFO will no longer be able to conduct weather measurements on four evenings per week.

This may seem like a small sacrifice to make. After all, sequestration was designed to be indiscriminate in its damaging effects. But Sobien warned that the results of cutting back weather measurements could be far more severe than the public realizes. Twice a day across the globe, weather balloons are launched for purposes of generating informed models to help guide everything from flight patterns to disaster preparedness.

“It is going to definitely have an impact,” Sobien said of ending those evening weather measurements. “It was so important when Hurricane Sandy was going up the coast. The weather service was launching those balloons four times a day to get better models. So to say, ‘Hey, we don’t need it,’ how can we say that?”

80F Next Week? Big time warm front ahead

Spring temps return in full force next week.

A big time warm front pushes through Monday, and by Tuesday the “thermal ridge” sets up right over southern Minnesota.

If it lines up as expected, we have a good shot at temps in the 80s again by Tuesday.

The Euro is cranking out 28C…or 82.4F next Tuesday for the Twin Cities!

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Any remnant ice up north should go fast next week, as the landscape finally starts to look like spring…with hints of early summer next week.

Where’s the beach?

Paul Huttner

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