Trending brighter Thursday afternoon; rain and snow on Saturday?

Our skies will get brighter as we go through Thursday afternoon in the Twin Cities metro area.  South-central and southeastern Minnesota could see clouds and showers linger through the late morning and early afternoon hours.

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.

There isn’t any snow in Thursday’s forecast, but we do have to mention some flakes in the weekend forecast.

I know, I’m not amused by April snow either.

Temperature trends

Minnesota and western Wisconsin highs will be mainly in the 60s this Thursday afternoon, with upper 60s expected in the Twin Cities metro area. Our average high temp is 63 degrees this time of year in the Twin Cities.

Friday highs will be mainly in the 50s:

A few spots in southern Minnesota and the metro area could touch 60 Friday afternoon. Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to be around 41 on Saturday and 50 on Sunday.

Red flag warnings

Red flag warnings are in effect this Thursday afternoon into early Thursday evening across much of west-central and northwestern Minnesota:

National Weather Service Twin Cities NWS Grand Forks, N.D.

Details of the Red flag warning in northwestern and west-central Minnesota:

URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Grand Forks ND
306 AM CDT Thu Apr 25 2019

…CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON…

.The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has issued a Fire
Weather Watch for low humidity and gusty winds for Thursday
afternoon.

MNZ001>005-007-008-013>015-022-027-029-030-NDZ006>008-014>016-024-
026>030-038-039-049-052>054-260100-
/O.UPG.KFGF.FW.A.0001.190425T1800Z-190426T0100Z/
/O.NEW.KFGF.FW.W.0001.190425T1800Z-190426T0100Z/
West Polk-Norman-Clay-Kittson-Roseau-West Marshall-East Marshall-
Pennington-Red Lake-East Polk-Mahnomen-West Becker-Wilkin-
West Otter Tail-Towner-Cavalier-Pembina-Benson-Ramsey-
Eastern Walsh County-Eddy-Nelson-Grand Forks-Griggs-Steele-Traill-
Barnes-Cass-Ransom-Sargent-Richland-Western Walsh County-
306 AM CDT Thu Apr 25 2019

…RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 PM
CDT THIS EVENING FOR LOW HUMIDITY AND GUSTY WINDS FOR EASTERN
NORTH DAKOTA AND NORTHWEST MINNESOTA…

The National Weather Service in Grand Forks has issued a Red Flag
Warning for low relative humidity and gusty winds, which is in
effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 8 PM CDT this evening. The Fire
Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

* AFFECTED AREA…In Minnesota…Fire Weather Zones 001…002…
003…004…005…007…008…013…014…015…022…027…
029 and 030. In North Dakota…Fire Weather Zones 006…007…
008…014…015…016…024…026…027…028…029…030…
038… 039…049…052…053 and 054.

* TIMING…Humidity values will decrease by midday and strong
winds will develop from the northwest to southeast through the
afternoon resulting in critical fire weather conditions.

* WINDS…Northwest 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
Strongest winds across northeast North Dakota and the northern
Red River Valley in Minnesota.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…As low as 18 percent.

* TEMPERATURES…upper 50s to upper 60s.

* IMPACTS…any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.
Outdoor burning is not recommended.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.

River levels 

There are numerous flood warnings still in effect along rivers in Minnesota. You can get flood warning updates by clicking on any green-shaded location on the National Weather Service Twin Cities website. The latest flood warnings for northwestern Minnesota can be found on the NWS Grand Forks, N.D. site.

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 Thursday morning hydrograph for the Mississippi River at St. Paul:

NOAA/NWS/U.S. Geological Survey

You can see that the trend is downward, after yesterday’s second crest of 2019. The 20.19 foot crest at St. Paul on March 31, 2019, was the seventh-highest on record:

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

Here’s a pic of river flooding in parts of Harriet Island Regional Park in St. Paul this morning:

April 25, 2019      City of St. Paul webcam

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.

If you’d like to scroll through hydrographs along a certain river in central or southern Minnesota, check here. Hydrographs for the Red River can be found here.

Saturday flakes?

You’ve heard the rumors by now. Saturday snow is a possibility.

We’re expecting a mix of cold rain and wet snowflakes in roughly the southern half of Minnesota on Saturday. Some forecast models show some accumulating snow from southeastern Minnesota into southern Wisconsin on Saturday.

The temperature profile in the lowest few thousand feet of the atmosphere will determine where there is snow and how much snow accumulates.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern Saturday and Saturday evening:

NOAA GFS precipitation rate (mm/hour) Saturday, 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 or snow.

Check forecast updates as we get closer to Saturday.

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.