Extremely rare “horseshoe cloud” sighting; 50s ahead next week

You don’t see this everyday, weather fans. Aliens over Area 51?

This amazingly rare “horseshoe cloud” formed over Nevada Thursday.

Horseshoe clouds (aka horseshoe vortex clouds) (HV) form when a cumulus cloud passes over a thermal updraft. The updraft rises faster in the middle of the cloud, stretching it higher. Since the wind at higher elevation is often faster, these clouds usually don’t last more than a few minutes before they get torn apart. For more on HV and other cool clouds check out the Cloud Appreciation Society.

Horseshoe vorticies are reason number 1351 why atmosphere is way cool!

Weekend snow chance

I’m still keeping one eye on our relatively minor snow chances this weekend. It still looks like we may only be able to squeeze out a candy coating in the Twin Cities and most of central and northern Minnesota. A couple of inches will likely fall closer to the passing Clipper in southern Minnesota this weekend.

Here’s the projected timing and coverage across Minnesota this weekend via NOAA’s GFS model.

NOAA GFS via tropical tidbits.

Strong warming signal next week

The latest model runs continue to amplify next week’s warming trend.


In fact these numbers look conservative to me through late next week.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

One of NOAA’s GFS outputs I like in these situations cranks out mid 50s next Thursday and Friday.

NOAA via SUNY-Albany.

Rainy St. Patty’s Day?

The models continue to advertise a potentially rainy system around St. Patty’s Day. Right now it looks warm enough for mostly green rain in central and southern Minnesota Saturday, with some snow up north. If this scenario verifies, it could end as a little more wet snow across most of Minnesota next Sunday.

NOAA GFS for weekend for March 17 via tropical tidbits.

Stay tuned.