Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Madness

This unusual heat wave for this time of the year has broken records already this week east of the Rockies as temperatures have felt more like late April with the mercury reaching as high as 80 degrees across parts of southern Minnesota.  In the Twin Cities, our normal temperature for this time of the year is 41 degrees, and we are already 11 degrees above normal for March.  We are on pace for the warmest March on record According to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group, the greatest number of maximum temperatures at or above 70 in March is five such days, which occurred in 1910That year also happened to be the warmest March on record with an average temperature of 45 degrees.


Friday was the warmest day of the heat spell as highs nearly topped 80 degrees officially in the Twin Cities.  Officially, it was 79 degrees, but airports around the metro did record temperatures in the 80s as Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie was the leader at 82 degrees.  80 degrees or more has occurred previously in the Twin Cities during the month with March 23rd being the earliest day of the year.  This record will likely be broken today.


With Friday’s 79 degrees smashing the old record of 71 set in 1930, five out of the last seven days have set new high temperature records in MSP.  The record for consecutive days is five, which occurred five different times: June 26-June 30, 1931, June 16-June 20, 1933, July 10-July 14, 1936, February 16-February 20, 1981, and the last stretch between March 4-March 8, 2000.  The trend in-between record dates certainly indicates the climate is much warmer now than a half century ago.


The Twin Cities should see it’s earliest 80 degree reading Saturday as I’m projecting temperatures to reach around 82 degrees.  Some clouds may hamper maximum sunlight late in the day during peak heating, keeping the air a bit cooler.  Temperatures will drop off next week as an unsettled wetter pattern arrives on our doorstep.


Heavier thunderstorms appear possible on Monday, but the dynamics for a severe weather outbreak do not appear all that favorable.  The Storm Prediction Center did go ahead and issue a slight risk of severe thunderstorms on Monday across south central and east central Minnesota.  With these storms, we are looking at hail less than an inch in diameter, and gusty winds as the main threats.



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