Serious Cabin Fever
Yes, we are truly earning our spring this year. Nearly 50 inches of snow so far; March temperatures 6.5 F colder than average. Where's our spring break? I don't want to bury the lead: 40F returns by late week. Long-range models show a shot at 50F the first week of April. 7 inches of snow on the ground will limit how warm it can get anytime soon, but in roughly 1 week we'll be greeted by gurgling drain spouts and chirping birds. A tentative spring indeed.
Talk about a surreal weather map: melting snow may result in flooding on the Red River near Fargo, an area experiencing severe drought. Until we lose the 15-25 inches of frost in the ground rain and melting snow will be unable to replenish depleted soil moisture. That said I'm still optimistic the drought may slowly fade in the next 2-4 months.
A southern storm brushes the metro with a coating of slush today; maybe 1" south of MSP. Roads should be mainly wet. A dry, chilly week is on tap, but moderation is likely next week.
On the blog below: record Arctic ice loss may be weakening jet stream winds swirling around the polar vortex, allowing unusually chilly air to reach Minnesota. March AO (Arctic Oscillation) values haven't been this low since March, 1970!
Latest from Alerts Broadcaster:
* Chicago and Detroit should be spared significant snow from this system.
* Probably warm enough for mostly-rain from Washington D.C. to New York Monday; 40% risk of accumulating snow Mid Atlantic Region
* Although I don't expect a widespread tornado outbreak, there is an elevated risk of hail/damaging winds over the Southeast USA into Monday.
This situation is more marginal than usual. AB Briefings take into account a). day of the week extreme weather is expected and b). major population centers in the path of significant weather. But I want to err on the side of caution and safety; so here's a quick heads-up on what should unfold into early next week:
Summary: Heavy, wet snow is likely from central Missouri into the Ohio Valley. Right now it appears Indianapolis will see the most snow, possibly more than 10". Chicago and Detroit will be spared from this storm. Odds favor a cold rain much of Monday from Washington D.C. and Philadelphia to New York City, but there is a 40% risk of accumulating slush, especially Delaware Valley and southern New Jersey. Severe storms are likely over the Southeast into early Monday, but right now I do not anticipate a widespread tornado outbreak. After Monday's storm accelerates out to sea I expect relatively quiet weather the rest of next week - at least a 7-8 day breather with no heavy snow or major severe storm outbreaks. A nice change of pace.
* Montevideo on the Minnesota River
* Granite Falls on the Minnesota River
* Redwood Falls on the Redwood River
* New Ulm on the Cottonwood River
* Long Prairie on the Long Prairie River
* St. Cloud on the Sauk River
* St. Cloud on the Mississippi River
While severe to extreme drought conditions still exist across the region, precipitation from December 2012 through the first part of March has been near normal to even above normal in some areas. Hence, some regions do have a decent snow pack with water equivalents of 3-5". The graphic (above) shows the amount of water in the snow pack on March 6, 2013.
In addition to the more common river flood threat, this winter parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin have concrete frost. Concrete Frost is when the top layer of soil becomes saturated and is solidly froszen. Until it thaws and allows moisture to travel through the soil, any rain/snow melt will run off similar to how it does on concrete. The image below shows the areas of concern for Concrete Frost and potential quick response flooding."
* The NWS will release their next flood outlook on March 29.
Graphic above (adjusted for inflation) courtesy of Karen Clark & Co.
39 F. high on Saturday in the Twin Cities.
45 F. average high on March 23.
73 F. high on March 23, 2012. Ugh.
7" snow on the ground.
13.8" snow so far in March at KMSP.
1.3" snow in March, 2012.
Graphic credit above: "Image of massive Arctic sea ice cracks showing temperature of the ice and the cracks between floes." Via Arctic Sea Ice blog.
Graphic credit above: "Warming projections to 2080 from Rowlands et al. in Nature Geoscience 5, 256-260 (2012)."
"...the marriage of capitalism and climate remediation...What if corporations shoulder more costs and lead the technological charge, all for a huge potential payoff?...Let's hope we are unleashing enlightened capitalist forces that just might drive the kind of technological innovation necessary to genuinely tackle climate change."
Photo credit above: "In zombie movies such as Dawn of the Dead, 'zombies are never destroyed and no new stable order emerges. And that, I fear, may be the truth of the climate change story'. Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive.