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News and Information

Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, March 7, 2014

To: MPR's Morning Edition
From: Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota, Dept of Soil, Water, and Climate
Subject: Minnesota WeatherTalk Newsletter for Friday, March 7, 2014


HEADLINES
-Set your clocks ahead
-Cold start to March
-And record snowfall for some
-Weekly Weather potpourri
-MPR listener questions
-Almanac for March 7th
-Past weather
-Outlook

Topic: Set your clocks ahead

Don't forget to set your clock ahead one hour this Saturday night to get on Daylight Savings Time.....otherwise you'll be late for all your engagements on Sunday!

Topic: Cold start to March

After this winter why would March start any other way? Over the first 5 days of the month Minnesota reported the coldest temperature in the nation three times: -44 degrees F at Embarrass on the 2nd; -40 degrees F at Embarrass on the 3rd; and -31 degrees F at Babbitt on the 5th. Temperatures at most locations averaged 20 to 30 degrees F colder than normal over the first five days of the month. In addition several observers reported new daily record cold maximum temperatures and cold minimum temperatures over those 5 days. Some of the record values included:

March 1st:
Detroit Lakes record cold maximum temperature of -10 degrees F
St Cloud record cold maximum temperature of 0 degrees F
Roseau record cold maximum temperature of -14 degrees F, and record cold minimum of -28 degrees F
Baudette and International Falls record cold maximum temperatures of -9 degrees F
Park Rapids record cold maximum temperature of -8 degrees F
Babbitt record cold minimum temperature of -30 degrees F
Embarrass record cold minimum temperature of -32 degrees F
March 2nd:
Warroad record cold maximum temperature of -14 degrees F
Leech Lake record cold maximum temperature of -10 degrees F
St Cloud record cold maximum temperature of 3 degrees F
Park Rapids record cold minimum temperature of -30 degrees F
Cook record cold maximum temperature of -10 degrees F
Babbitt record cold maximum temperature of -8 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -38 degrees F
Brainerd and Rochester record cold maximum temperature of -3 degrees F
Embarrass record cold maximum temperature of -7 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -44 degrees F
Kabetogama record cold maximum temperature of -11 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -27 degrees F
Isabella record cold maximum temperature of -7 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -33 degrees F
March 3rd:
International Falls record cold minimum temperature of -33 degrees F
Babbitt record cold minimum temperature of -38 degrees F
Embarrass record cold maximum temperature of -12 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -40 degrees F
Tower record cold minimum temperature of -38 degrees F
St Cloud record cold minimum temperature of -19 degrees F
Wright record cold maximum temperature of -4 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -31 degrees F
Preston record cold maximum temperature of 0 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -24 degrees F
Theilman record cold maximum temperature of 0 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -26 degrees F
March 4th:
Babbitt record cold maximum temperature of -10 degrees F, and record cold minimum temperature of -38 degrees F
Cook record cold maximum temperature of -10 degrees F, and a record cold minimum temperature of -31 degrees F
Embarrass record cold minimum temperature of -40 degrees F
Floodwood record cold minimum temperature of -29 degrees F
Kabetogama record cold minimum temperature of -33 degrees F
Tower record cold minimum temperature of -37 degrees F
Brainerd record cold minimum temperature of -23 degrees F
Winona Dam record cold minimum temperature of -22 degrees F
March 5th:
Babbitt record cold minimum temperature of -31 degrees F
Crane Lake record cold minimum temperature of -27 degrees F

In addition to these records dozens of other cold daily maximum and minimum temperature records were set, before the temperatures began to moderate later in the day on March 5th. For many central and southern portions of Minnesota the below 0 degrees F readings are coming to an end this week, as no return of Arctic air is seen for the balance of this month.

Topic: And record March snowfall for some

Overnight on Tuesday-Wednesday (March 4-5) a fast moving snow storm cross portions of western and southern Minnesota bringing significant amounts of snow. A swath of moderate to heavy snow from Yellow Medicine County southeast to Houston County caused delays in school starts and business openings on Wednesday March 5th. Some observers in those areas of the state reported new record snowfall amounts for March 5th, including: 10.5 inches at Austin, 10 inches at Winnebago, 9.5 inches at St James, 9.3 inches at Marshall, 8 inches at Wells, 7.4 inches at Lamberton, 7 inches at Amboy, 6 inches at Lanesboro and Mankato, and 4.1 inches at Redwood Falls. In northwestern Minnesota strong winds (35-45 mph) brought blizzard warnings to some areas of the Red River Valley later in the day on March 5th, though snowfall amounts were generally light. The snow on the ground was blown around a good deal by strong winds causing visibility and drift problems.

Topic: Weekly Weather Potpourri

Excerpts from the weekly national drought update issued by Brad Rippey of the USDA-World Agricultural Outlook Board:
- During the four-week period ending on March 4, 2014, contiguous U.S. drought coverage decreased 1.53 percentage points to 35.85%. However, there was improvement in several regions, and deterioration in others. In general, reductions in drought coverage were noted during February and early March in the Midwest and Northwest, as well as the Gulf Coast region. Improvement in the Northwest extended as far south as northern California. However, California experienced an odd four-week period that featured record-setting warmth, bookended by brief stormy periods in early February and again as the calendar turned from February to March. Meanwhile, drought deterioration was noted across portions of the southern Plains and the Southwest. Continental U.S. coverage of the two most serious drought categories­extreme to exceptional (D3 to D4) drought­reached a cold-season peak of 7.65% on February 25 before falling back to 7.40% on March 4. The last time there was greater U.S. coverage of D3/D4 was September 10, 2013. The change was largely driven by worsening drought in California, with nearly three-quarters (73.83%) of the state experiencing extreme to exceptional drought by February 25. With the late-February and early-March storminess, California’s D3/D4 area fell back to 65.89% of the state by March 4.

NOAA is soliciting public comments relative to proposed changes in the icons used on National Weather Service Point Forecast Pages over their Internet sites. If you are a user of NOAA forecast products I encourage you to review these changes and comment by going to:

http://www.weather.gov/forecast-icons

Northern parts of South Africa were plagued by floods this week caused by unusual very heavy rains. Some observers there report over 10 inches of rain so far in March. Roads have washed out and businesses were closed due to flooding. The Kruger National Park, a popular tourist destination was also closed for a time. Yet more thunderstorms and rainfall are expected over the weekend.

A recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters documents that a more significant rate of warming temperatures may be seen later this century in Northern and Eastern Europe than elsewhere on the continent. This conclusion was derived from a modeling study which also revealed that much of Europe will be wetter in the future as well. You can read more about this study at...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140306191524.htm

MPR listener question: How do current snow depths in northeastern Minnesota rank relative to historical extremes? There are many areas with over 30 inches of snow on the ground, including Duluth where we peaked out at 36 inches of snow depth last month.

Answer: Indeed you are correct to point out the deep snow in northeastern Minnesota. Though not record-setting it is rare to have snow depths over 40 inches, yet several observers have reported these amounts for this winter including 47 inches near Two Harbors, 43 inches at Isabella, 42 inches at Wolf Ridge and Babbitt, 41 inches at Cook, and 40 inches at Cloquet and Grand Marais. The measurement of 47 inches neat Two Harbors is the deepest snow there since they measured 51 inches in March of 1965. Similarly at Babbitt the reading of 42 inches is the most there since a snow depth of 52 inches in February of 1969. The state record by the way is a snow depth of 75 inches at Pigeon River Bridge in March of 1950.

Twin Cities Almanac for March 7th:

The average MSP high temperature for this date is 32 degrees F (plus or minus 11 degrees F standard deviation), while the average low is 16 degrees F (plus or minus 12 degrees F standard deviation).

MSP Local Records for March 7th:

MSP weather records for this date include: highest daily maximum temperature of 73 degrees F in 1987 and 2000; lowest daily maximum temperature of 4 degrees F in 1932; lowest daily minimum temperature is -16 degrees F in 1960; highest daily minimum temperature of 45 F in 2000; record precipitation of 1.02 inches in 1874; and a record 11.5 inches of snow fell on this date in 1917. Maximum snow depth on this date was 23 inches in 1962.

Average dew point for March 7th is 13 degrees F, with a maximum of 58 degrees F in 2000 and a minimum of -25 degrees F in 1960.

All-time state records for March 7th:

The state record high temperature for this date is 80 degrees F at Winona (Winona County) in 2000. The state record low temperature for this date is -38 degrees F at Little Fork (Koochiching County) in 1913. State record precipitation for this date is 3.57 inches at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1959; and state record snowfall for this date is 22.7 inches also at Caledonia (Houston County) in 1959.

Past Weather Features:

A strong winter storm brought rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow to Minnesota over March 7-8, 1950. Heavy ice in northwestern and west central communities brought down power and telephone lines as winds gusted to over 60 mph during the storm. A Northwest Airlines plane crashed in Minneapolis during the storm killing all 13 passengers as well as two people on the ground.

Probably the coldest March 7th in history occurred in 1955. Over a dozen communities reported a morning low temperature of -30 degrees F or colder. In the north Cass Lake saw their temperature warm up to only -3 degrees F during the afternoon, while the high temperature at Red Lake was just -5 degrees. Temperatures warmed into the 40s and 50s F for much of the remainder of the month.

In the absence of snow cover very warm temperatures visited the state over March 5-9, 2000. Over 100 Minnesota communities reported afternoon high temperatures of 70 degrees F or greater. Temperatures remained well above normal most of the month and March of 2000 was the 4th warmest in state history.

Outlook:

Sunny, but cooler than normal on Saturday with morning lows from single digits to the teens F. Increasing clouds on Sunday with warmer temperatures, reaching the 30s and 40s F in many places. Above normal temperatures may prevail in places on Monday and Tuesday, followed by increased chances for snow on later in the day on Tuesday, then cooler temperatures for Wednesday and Thursday.

Further Information:

For older versions of the "Minnesota WeatherTalk" newsletter go to

http://www.climate.umn.edu/weathertalk/

For access to other information resources go to

http://www.climate.umn.edu/Seeley/


NOTE: News releases were current as of the date of issue. If you have a question on older releases, use the news release search (upper left-hand column of the News main page) or the main Extension search (upper right of this page) to locate more recent information.

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