Good melting weather; warm or cold summer ahead?

Hopefully, we’ve seen the last dumping of snow this spring!

Here’s a quick image from the National Weather Service’s interactive snowfall map of Wednesday’s snowfall in southern Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

Minnesota snow totals included 3.5 inches in Owatonna, 4 inches in Rochester, 9 inches in Albert Lea and 8.8 inches in Caledonia.

Rochester’s total for April is now 17 inches, which makes this the snowiest April on record:

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service La Crosse WI
313 AM CDT Thu Apr 19 2018


…Record April Snowfall at Rochester MN and La Crosse WI…

After the snowfall of Wednesday April 18, both Rochester MN and
La Crosse WI have set records for the most snowfall in an April.

At La Crosse WI, the April 2018 snowfall total now stands at 19.0
inches, making it the snowiest April on record. The previous
record was 17.0 inches in April of 1973. Snowfall records at La
Crosse go back to 1897.

At Rochester MN, the April 2018 snowfall total now stands at 17.0
inches, making it the snowiest April on record. The previous
record was 16.4 inches in April of 1983. Snowfall records at
Rochester La Crosse go back to 1934, with intermittent data back
to 1893.

We set a new April snowfall record this month in the Twin Cities metro area too.

Snowy April means a cold or a warm summer?

When looking at investment opportunities, we often see the phrase “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

The same holds true in weather forecasting.

I’ve been asked if our snowy April means that we’ll have a cold summer.

We have a limited data set, since this is only our third April with 20 or more inches of snow in the Twin Cities.

We sit at 26.1 inches in the Twin Cities this month, and we recorded 20.2 inches in April 2002 and 21.8 inches in April of 1983.

I checked the meteorological summers (June, July, August) of 2002 and 1983.

Both of those summer were warmer than normal.

Here are the breakdowns of average monthly temps:

  • 2002 June  +2.7 degrees
  • 2002 July  +3.8
  • 2002 August   + 0.3
  • 1983 June  -0.1
  • 1983 July +4.1
  • 1983 August +6.2

The only cooler than normal month in either of the two summers was June of 1983, which was only one-tenth of a degree below normal.

There were 14 days with highs of 90 degrees or warmer in the summer of 2002, and 24 days of 90 or warmer in the summer of 1983.  Our long term average is about 11 days of 90 degrees or warmer per year in the Twin Cities metro area.

The summer temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center of the NWS show equal chances of above normal, normal and below normal temps across Minnesota for the June through August period:

NWS Climate Prediction Center

The outlook refers to the average temperature over the three month period, there are always some hot and cold days.

Temperature trends

There will be some serious snow melt happening in Minnesota and Wisconsin the next several days.

Highs today and tomorrow are expected to reach the 50s in northern and central Minnesota, with 40s in the far south. The Twin Cities metro area will probably reach 50 degrees this afternoon, and pop into the lower 50s Friday afternoon.  Our average high temp is 60 degrees this time of year in the Twin Cities metro area.

Metro area highs are expected to hit the upper 50s Saturday, followed by lower 60s on Sunday.

Here are Saturday highs statewide:

And Sunday’s highs:

The Twin Cities metro area could see upper 60s or even a 70 on Monday!

Rain chance 

Significant rain (or snow) is not expected the next few days.

We could see some rain Monday evening into Tuesday and Tuesday night.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern Monday evening through Tuesday night:

NOAA GFS model precipitation rate (mm/hour) Monday evening through Wednesday morning, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the precipitation rate (mm per hour), not to the total amount of rain.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.