A tentative spring

Aaah. Spring in Minnesota. Most years, if you sneeze, hiccup or blink, you’ll miss it altogether. So often we seem to go from slush and wind chill to mosquitoes and next-door neighbors whining about the heat and humidity in the span of a few days. Spring is often fleeting, more theory than reality. To be honest we have had a nice stretch of springy days in recent weeks (in spite of our whopping April Fool’s Day 9″ dumping of snow!)

I just returned from Annapolis, Maryland. We have family out east (my wife of 25 years has a twin sister and 2 other sisters living in the DC area). Our youngest son is at the Naval Academy, and we decided to drop in and see how he was holding up during his Plebe (freshman) year. It’s been a rough year for my 18 year old; he’s anxious to turn the page and look forward to a few close encounters with his favorite Minnesota lakes this summer. Both my boys were born in Minnesota, and I find it fascinating, and a bit reassuring, that they are both very homesick for their favorite state. Being out east is exciting and, at times, eye-opening, but they realize (just like their old man) that you wind up getting spoiled living in Minnesota, in spite of the epic winters. It’s in their bones, and I’m hoping that upon graduation both boys will find their way back home to the Land of 10,000 Weather Extremes. I grew up out east, went to Penn State, never imagined myself living in Minnesota, calling this (amazing) place home. But now, after being here the better part of 26 years, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

It was in the low 90s when I left Annapolis today — quite a shock getting off the plane with a whiff of wind chill. Yes, spring in the Gopher state is always 2 steps forward, one step back. Temperatures never warm (or cool) in a straight line; there are always gyrations, fluctuations, super-sized ups and downs. There are few other regions of the planet that can experience 90s and blizzards in the same month, but that’s one of the benefits (?) of living in the Superbowl of Weather. If you’re a meteorologist this is as good as it gets — there’s ALWAYS something interesting going on. Sometimes the weather floating overhead is a little TOO interesting!

The good news: although this week will be a few degrees cooler than average I don’t see any headline-grabbing cold fronts, no flurries, nothing severe or controversial. Nothing that will generate serious chit-chat down at the coffee shop. There is a slight risk of frost tonight in the outlying suburbs, especially if skies clear and winds drop off rapidly. Cold air is most likely to collect into the nooks and crannies (and river valleys) on a clear, windless night. Just to be safe I’d consider bringing any potted plants indoors, maybe covering up any brave, early daffodils poking up through the soil in your yard.

Tuesday appears to be the nicest day of the week with a good chance of 60 degrees under a mostly-blue sky. Sneak outside for an outdoor lunch, consider stepping up and running an (outdoor) errand for your boss. In spite of a chilly start I don’t expect too many people to complain about Tuesday’s weather.

The jet stream is howling overhead, meaning rapid weather changes, storms spaced about 2-3 days apart. The next system will pump Gulf moisture into Minnesota Wednesday, sparking a few hours of rain, possibly a heavy thunderstorm or two nearby, but moisture (specifically dew points) will probably be a little too low for anything severe. A shower or two may linger into Thursday as you dig into the closet for a jacket. Up north temperatures may not climb out of the 40s Thursday and Friday.

The weekend weather looks somewhere between acceptable and good: dry most of the time with highs well up into the 50s. A wrinkle of unusually cold air aloft may spark a late-day shower or sprinkle Saturday and again Sunday, but the vast majority of the weekend should be dry; you should be able to salvage any planned outdoor activities.

Looking at long-range model data it appears that next week will rekindle spring fever across central Minnesota with a better chance of 60s. Enjoy a three-star, blue-ribbon, award-winning Tuesday; your lawn will enjoy a long, cool drink on Wednesday!

Weather Headlines

• Bring those potted plants inside if you live in the outlying suburbs. Light frost possible from Ham Lake and Delano to Lakeville and Stillwater.

• Monday high of 53 in the Twin Cities, about 5 degrees cooler than average.

• Instability clouds gradually dissipate overnight, revealing a mostly sunny Tuesday.

• Tuesday: nicest day of the week, good shot at 60 if the sun stays out most of the day (likely).

• Wednesday showers and possible thunder (rainfall amounts probably under .25″)

• Cooling off again late in the week.

• Partly sunny weekend, slight risk of a late-day shower or sprinkle late Saturday, again late Sunday, but no all-day soakers are in sight.

• More springlike conditions return next week with a few 60-degree days on tap.

• Good news: siren-free stretch of quiet weather. Little or no severe risk looking out 7-8 days.

• Farmers breathing a sigh of relief: .81″ of rain Sunday has recharged soil moisture across central Minnesota; we seem to be in better shape for spring planting now than we were last week. Drought conditions ease a bit over far southeastern Minnesota.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Oscar Sall on 04/28/2009 - 03:13 pm.

    So this is where you hide out?

    Back in the day (I no longer live in MN), your forecasts and delivery created an appreciation for weather and the service you performed. I remember losing interest in the medium after your move to WBBM (though I did watch when in Chicago). I had left for California before your return to MN, but made it a point to watch whenever back there. I haven’t been back to MN since the TV landscape changed and it’s disappointing that you won’t be educating your audience or conversing with the other on-air staff any longer.

    Even here, long time broadcasters are being evacuated for younger and substantially less experienced faces for news. It’s just getting harder to care when stories and features are ripped from the Internet versus being generated by seasoned journalists and reporters.

    I suppose there are still some question at the corporate meetings as to why the Internet is gaining so much popularity over television and radio.

    I hear from people in the LA area that Majors is very well liked which doesn’t surprise me. I see him every so often when travelling there. I’ve seen your understudy Barlow in Boston a few times as well and he seems to be doing fine.

    I have nothing particular to say, have never met you, but wanted to say hi and thank you for your past efforts. I’m glad you’re still finding some use for your amazing expertise in the field of meteorology.

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