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A distractingly nice Monday

Yesterday was pure meteorological magic, reaffirming our faith in a Minnesota spring. Pale, jaundiced neighbors came out of hibernation, hiding their eyes from the sun. I noticed an outbreak of noisy motorcycles (time to buy stock in Harley Davidson) and a proliferation of non-motorized bicycles — there were everywhere! It was a memorable Sunday, every optimist here in the great state of Minnesota dusted off their convertibles and took them out for a drive. I’m a bit sore from a bout of over-eager yard work, lugging the Adirondack chairs out of cold storage, sweeping the patio, pick up the “yard-bombs” from the lawn. Thanks go out to Max, my 12 1/2 year old spaniel for giving me something to do!

 Today will be a fine Monday, as Mondays go, a little too nice — distractingly nice. The sun should be out much of the day, temperatures nicking 70 by mid afternoon. Clouds build by late afternoon with a growing chance of showers and thundershowers tonight and Tuesday as a rag-tag front pushes east. That frontal boundary will stall, and although computer models are contradictory, there’s a good chance that a few showers and isolated thunderstorms will linger into Wednesday, even Thursday. Friday appears to be dry, a few degrees cooler, but roads should be dry as you leave work early Friday, trying to beat the crush of traffic on I-94 Friday afternoon.

 Fishing Opener weather? We’ve seen worse. I remember years with flurries and wind chill on the Fishing Opener, years where heavy parkas were necessary. It won’t be that chilly this time around, but you’d be well advised to bring along some waterproof gear as you head out first thing Saturday. You’d also be smart to head out early Saturday, the earlier in the day the better (if you want dry weather). An approaching storm spreads showers, even a few storms across Minnesota, from southwest to northeast, during the day. Rain may fall south/west of the Minnesota River Saturday morning, but most northern lakes probably won’t see rain until the afternoon or evening hours.

 I’m growing increasingly concerned about the potential for a severe T-storm outbreak next weekend, especially Sunday. A sharp warm frontal boundary just to our south, combined with plenty of “wind shear” (rapidly changing wind direction and speed with altitude) that can ultimately focus a thunderstorm updraft into something violent, capable of sustaining large hail, even an isolated tornado. We’re a bit overdue for a twister — and my hunch is that there will be some watches and warnings, especially south of the Twin Cities, by the PM hours next Sunday. If you’re planning to be out on a lake Sunday you’ll want to stay up on the latest forecast and be prepared to get off your favorite lake in a hurry.

 BTW, I think snow season is behind us now. Yes, statistically speaking there could still be flurries through the third week of May, but looking at the long-range maps and jet stream wind patterns I think it’s safe to say that we won’t see any more cold, crystalline, flakey-white objects falling out of the sky until October. How’s that for a “where-the-heck-am-I-living-moment?” A snowy disclaimer on May 4? Welcome to Minnesota — Land of 10,000 Weather Extremes!

Fishing Opener Preview

Computer models bring a fairly impressive storm into the Upper Midwest next weekend. Right now it looks like Saturday will start out dry (sunrise temperatures in the 40s north/low 50s central and south). Clouds will increase quickly, a growing chance of showers, even a stray thundershower Saturday afternoon. Heavier, steadier showers are expected Saturday night. A vigorous warm frontal boundary setting up near the Minnesota/Iowa border may set the stage for strong to severe T-storms Sunday, although it’s much too early to get specific about that threat. Just know that there may be some heavy rain, even a few violent storms Sunday, especially across southern Minnesota. Pack something waterproof — and consider getting out first thing Saturday, while skies are still dry and relatively quiet.

Weather Headlines

• Lukewarm Monday. 70 degrees + likely.

• Morning sun, clouds increase during the afternoon hours as winds pick up from the south/southeast.

• Showers and T-storms arrive Monday night and linger into much of Tuesday.

• Unsettled Wednesday and Thursday with widely scattered showers and thundershowers.

• Friday: probably dry.

• Saturday, Fishing Opener: dry start, but chance of showers increases as the day goes on.

• Sunday: Potential for .50″+ rain, even a severe storm outbreak over southern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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