An early May

Thursday was a lukewarm tonic for the soul, a reminder of how amazing spring in Minnesota can be. I’m happy that we’re seeing a real spring this year. So many years we go from ankle-deep slush to 80 and mosquitoes in a few days. You blink, you sneeze, you miss spring altogether. Not this year. Many communities experienced the first 70 of the year, typical weather for early May. I know — why can’t we have this on a weekend? Hey, you can’t have everything all at once, right? I don’t know “why not?” All I know is that today job productivity suffered, test scores went down, many of us had an itch that a scratch couldn’t reach. Yes, it’s spring fever, in full bloom. Yesterday was distractingly nice, too nice for a Thursday.

It’s drying out in a hurry — today will be the 12th day in a row with no measurable rain in the Twin Cities. It’s early to be pontificating about drought. I honestly have NO IDEA if we’ll suffer from an extended dry spell. That seems to be the trend in recent summers with water restrictions and dropping lake water levels. The 6-10 Day Extended Outlook keeps all of Minnesota milder than average, which isn’t hard at all to believe gazing at the latest maps. If (and it’s a BIG if) this pattern were to hang on through the middle of May, THEN I’d start to get nervous about what this might mean for farmers in central and southern Minnesota. It’s early. Let’s leave it at that.

We should salvage a pretty nice Friday, a few more mid and high level clouds, but Dakota showers will take their sweet old time drifting east. The atmosphere blanketing Minnesota is so dry right now, relative humidity levels around 10-15% during the daylight hours, that it’s going to take a long time to saturate the atmosphere and for those raindrops to reach the ground. Much of Saturday looks dry (and gray) with highs near 60. Saturday DEFINITELY looks like the better day of the weekend for outdoor chores, a bike ride, whatever is on your to-do list. I wish I could be optimistic about Sunday, but a southern storm may spread a band of light rain into southern and even central Minnesota. The GFS model whisks the storm to our south with no rain for the metro area. The slightly more reliable NAM/WRF model brings rain as far north as Rice and Mille Lacs. We’ll see. I want to see another run for my comfort level to go up (next run at 9 pm tonight). Sunday will be chilly, highs stuck in the 40s, a few wet snowflakes could even mix in by Sunday evening north and west of the Twin Cities. Something to look forward to.

We brighten Monday, and computer models show a big, bloated ridge of high pressure expanding across the Plains next week as temperature mellow, back into the 60s to near 70 by midweek. A few showers and even a T-storm could pop up by Thursday and Friday — definitely a springy pattern.

For now the headlines: dry, risk of brushfires, fine Friday, so-so Saturday, Sunday will be spent indoors rearranging your sock drawer (or just vegetating in front of the TV/PC). Next week will restore your faith in spring once more. It’s been a good run, and it’s not over yet!

• Thermometers brush 70 in the metro area Thursday for the first time all year in some suburbs.

• Red Flag Warning remains in effect for central, south central and southeastern Minnesota; risk of brushfires remains high due to gusty winds, low humidity, bright sun and a lack of rain.

• Today: 12th day in a row with no rain in central Minnesota.

• Thursday afternoon temperature at Duluth Harbor: 39, with a chilling breeze off Lake Superior

• 3.6% of Minnesota suffering from severe drought conditions (far southeast, along the Mississippi River; 41% of Wisconsin in a severe drought right now).

• Low 70s likely today as high clouds increase, most of Saturday stays dry, probably the better day of the weekend for outdoor plans.

• Southern storm arrives with a cold rain Sunday. Have a Plan B, indoors Temperatures may hold in the 40s to near 50.

• Nice warm-up returns for next week.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 04/17/2009 - 09:24 am.

    This is way better than Dude Weather.

  2. Submitted by CJ Sinner on 04/17/2009 - 10:24 am.

    100% agree with Mr. Landry. Douglas’ weather predictions here on MinnPost have become a fav of mine … much more educational and interesting, with a little more insight than your average weather guy. Keep it up, Paul 🙂

  3. Submitted by tom joad on 04/17/2009 - 01:52 pm.

    Great job paul,

    We miss you in the startribune!!

    Can I get this on my Itouch??

    We could use some rain here in dayton!!

  4. Submitted by Kris Troske on 04/17/2009 - 02:47 pm.

    Yes, this is so much better than the previous weather coverage. I like having the choice to see a video, or read a forecast and more in-depth coverage. Having Paul and his team providing that improved coverage makes a good situation even better.

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