Warmest air in 4 months ahead; 50s for Twins opening day?

The lines at your local Dairy Queen get longer this week.

The warmest air in over 4 months blows into Minnesota by Friday. November 1 was the last time the thermometer at MSP Airport hit 50 degrees. Temperatures push 50 degrees again by Thursday and Friday afternoon. They blow past 50 Saturday. We hit a temperature speed bump Monday before another surge of mild air arrives next week.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

Food wildcard: Ice jams

We’ve covered the many factors that drive flood levels in spring. Snowmelt. Temperatures. Rainfall. The flood wildcard that’s most difficult to predict?

Ice jams.

Rivers can rise rapidly beyond flood forecast stage when ice jams suddenly create a wall that water has to go around.

This NWS hydrograph shows how the Cottonwood River at New Ulm rose suddenly to major flood stage, then fell again to near the previous level as the ice jam apparently cleared.

Here’s the updated flood outlook for various rivers from the North Central River Forecast Center. These hydrologists are co-located with the Twin Cities NWS Office in Chanhassen. Remember these numbers can go suddenly higher if ice jams develop.

Play ball?

The Minnesota Twins have been remarkably lucky with opening day weather at Target Field.

There have been no rainouts or ‘cold-outs’ on opening day since Target Field opened in 2010. Last year was the 2nd coldest opening day with 39 degrees at first pitch. Many years have featured temperatures in the 50s and even 60s.

Twins inaugural home opener in 2010. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News.

Here’s a look at historical opening day weather from the Minnesota DNR Climate Working Group.

April in Minnesota is a transitional month. The weather can fluctuate wildly from some fairly hot days to some very chilly readings and even some snowfall. The Minnesota Twins returned to outdoor baseball in 2010. The Twins also played outdoor baseball from 1961 to 1981 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington and then moved to the Metrodome from 1982 to 2009. For the 21 home openers played at Metropolitan Stadium and the eight home openers played so far at Target Field, there’s been a variety of weather conditions. The coldest home opener was April 14, 1962 with a high of 34 degrees and a low of 20 that day reported at the Twin Cities International Airport. Winds were quite brisk and gusting to 21mph out of the NW in the afternoon. The Minnesota Twins lost to the California Angels that day 5-12. The warmest opener was April 22, 1980 with a high temperature of 90 degrees. The Twins played the California Angels on this opener too, this time the Twins won 8-1. The average high temperature for the day on the dates for the home openers over the 29 years is 58 degrees.

The early forecast for next week suggests temperatures in the (upper?) 50s for opening day next Thursday.

NOAA GFS model temperature outlook for 1 pm CDT Thursday March 28, 2019.

If the mercury manages to hit 60 degrees next Thursday, that would make half of the first 10 opening day games at Target Field in the 60s. The Twins have had a remarkable run of weather luck on opening day.

Stay tuned.