A bright and warm Saturday; river levels ramp up

I saw several people wearing shorts and no jacket Friday afternoon, as our Twin Cities high temp hit 50 degrees. Today will be several degrees warmer than yesterday, so there might be a few flip-flop sightings.

Warm temps will accelerate snow melt across Minnesota and western Wisconsin, and rivers will continue to rise.

Temperature trends

Saturday afternoon highs will be in the 50s across most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. There could be a few 40s in northwestern Minnesota. The Twin Cities metro area is expected to top out in the upper 50s, but a stray 60 isn’t out of the question.  Our average March 23 high temp is 45 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area.

High temps retreat a bit on Sunday, with 30s in northern Minnesota and 40s to around 50 in the south:

Metro area highs are projected to be in the lower 40s Monday, then around 50 Tuesday. We top out around 60 degrees Wednesday and Thursday, followed by upper 40s on Friday.

Statewide, Wednesday will be the warmest day of the coming week:

Rain and snow chances 

Southwestern Minnesota will have a chance of scattered showers Saturday evening. All of southern Minnesota will have a shower chance overnight Saturday night into Sunday morning/early Sunday afternoon. Parts of northern Minnesota could see a Saturday night/Sunday morning mix of light snow, drizzle, freezing drizzle and light rain.

NOAA’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of rain or snow.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

River flooding

Our spring snow melt continues to cause flooding in many locations.

Flooding continues along the Minnesota River and river levels are still rising. The Cottonwood River at New Ulm is at major flood stage and will continue to rise this weekend.

You can get flood warning updates by clicking on any location on the National Weather Service Twin Cities website. Areas with flood warnings are shaded green on the NWS main page, and here’s how the map looked Saturday morning:

NWS Twin Cities

The Mississippi River at St. Paul is expected to reach flood stage this Saturday evening; here’s the NWS summary:

128 AM CDT Sat Mar 23 2019

The Flood Warning continues for
The Mississippi River at St. Paul.
* from this evening until further notice.
* At 1:00 AM Saturday the stage was 12.1 feet.
* Major flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 14.0 feet.
* Forecast…Rise above flood stage by this evening and continue to
rise to near 20.0 feet by early Friday morning. additional rises
are possible thereafter.
* Impact…At 18.0 feet…Warner Road may become impassable due to
high water.
* Impact…At 17.5 feet…Harriet Island begins to become submerged.
* Impact…At 14.0 feet…Portions of the Lilydale park area begin to
experience flooding.
* Impact…At 13.3 feet…Water begins to encroach on Water St.

You can click on any location on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service  (AHPS) site to get hydrographs of recent and forecast river levels. Some locations list levels in feet above sea level, others list levels in feet above a local reference point.

Here’s the Saturday morning hydrograph for the Mississippi River at St. Paul:

NOAA/NWS/U.S. Geological Survey

The 20 foot level would be the 8th highest Mississippi River level ever recorded at the St. Paul gauge:

NOAA/NWS/USGS data for the Mississippi River at St. Paul

Water is already covering some of the steps in front of the pavilion at Harriet Island in St. Paul:

March 23, 2019    City of St. Paul webcam

You can imagine what this area will look like when the river rises another 7 feet in the coming days.

Here’s the hydrograph for the St. Croix River at Stillwater:


Projected river levels are updated on a regular basis, so check back to the AHPS site and the NWS point forecasts for the latest info on the rivers near you.

The NWS also posts some flooding details here.

If you’d like to scroll through hydrographs along a certain river, check here.

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.

  • JonasGrumby

    I recommend living far away from rivers