Spring returns this week: 60s by Thursday

May Day in Minnesota stomped in like an angry March lion.

Twin Cities flakes

It was just marginally cold enough in the lowest mile of the atmosphere to crank out a couple of vigorous snow showers around the Twin Cities today.

Accumulation zone

The corridor for accumulating snow runs from southwest to northeast through Minnesota. Some of the heavier totals come in from southwestern Minnesota, where 2 to 6 inches of sloppy wet snow fell. Here’s a look at snowfall totals from the Sioux Falls, S.D., National Weather Service office.

Temperatures held in the 30s under the core of the thickest overcast and heaviest precip zone. Welcome to May in Minnesota.

The snow zone ran all the way to Ely, Minn.

It could be much worse

We could be in western Kansas, where as much as 16 inches fell.

Clearly defined snow swath

Check out the clear snow swath stretching from the Oklahoma Panhandle through Kansas and Nebraska toward southwest Minnesota via the new GOES 16 imagery.

May snow in the Twin Cities

Looking at historical records, measurable snow falls in the Twin Cities in May about once a decade on average.

Snow at Cross Lutheran Church, (Present Day Maplewood) May 12, 1946. Courtesy of Maplewood Area Historical Society

Here’s a great summary on May snowfall from the Minnesota DNR State Climatology Office.

MN DNR logo

Snow that falls in May is typically a novelty. The ground is usually too warm by May to allow much of an accumulation.

Looking at past records for the Twin Cities, a trace of snow falls during the month of May fairly frequently. If the snow manages to accumulate it is generally under an inch and mostly on grassy surfaces. The most recent measurable Twin Cities snow event was 0.5 inches on May 3, 2013.

About once every 30 years or so, there is a snow event that is enough to cover newly greened lawns and coat budding leaves. The last time there was a snow event in May greater than an inch in the Twin Cities was on May 2, 1976 with 1.2 inches. The most that it has snowed in May in a single event for the Twin Cities is three inches. This has happened on three occasions: May 20, 1892, May 1, 1935 and May 11-12, 1946.

System pulls out

Widespread chilly rain and snow taper off over Minnesota by morning. Many of us will see some peeks of sun Tuesday afternoon. Milder breezes begin to blow in by Wednesday. I’m choosing to fast-forward on my weather psyche this week. Maybe if I take a (really) long nap I can just wake up in spring again?

The forecast looks spectacular starting from Thursday right into next week. Prepare for true spring. Finally.

Warming trend

Temperatures begin to moderate Tuesday afternoon. Milder breezes blow Wednesday. Abundant sunshine boosts temps well into the 60s as the week rolls on. The average high for Minneapolis-St. Paul this week is 66.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temps, via Weather Bell

Blocking pattern: Dry and mild week ahead?

The upper air pattern over North America favors an Omega Block set up starting this weekend into next week. That puts Minnesota in the dry and milder ridge zone between two soggy spinning low-pressure systems on the coasts.


7 dry days in a row?

If the upper air pattern evolves as expected, Minnesota could string together  seven mainly dry, sunnier days in a row starting Thursday into Wednesday of next week. Good news for farmers with soggy fields.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model keeps weather systems at bay over Minnesota. A solid week of sunshine, dry breezes and temps in the 60s to near 70 degrees represents a significant pattern change ahead.

NOAA GFS, via tropical tidbits

More like May

The longer range forecast supports a continued warming trend. Highs close to 70 degrees look likely into the second week of May.

NOAA GFS, via IPS Meteostar

Stay tuned.