Storms to Start May

While temperatures stayed in the 60s all day Monday we’re looking at upper 70s to near 80 the next few days.  A warm, southerly flow of moist air returns early this week resulting in the dramatic warm up.  The average temperature remains 3 degrees above average this April and, according to Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley, every month since October has been slightly warmer than average.

May Comes In With A Bang

Severe thunderstorms are likely to fire across the state from west to east Tuesday evening.  The warm, moist air in combination with an approaching cold front will set the stage for thunderstorms to develop.  Enough shear (winds changing speed and direction through the height of the atmosphere) will be present to create supercell storms capable of producing large hail and damaging straight line winds.  Isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out especially west of I-35 before 10pm Tuesday.  The severe threat will be highest between 5pm Tuesday and midnight Wednesday morning.  With the strong winds accompanying these storms, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of tree limbs down on our area trails come Thursday.

MN is in the "slight" risk for severe storms

Drought-Denting Rains

Minnesota farmers will be happy to hear that more rain is on the way.  Unfortunately, for area mountain bikers, this means that the trails might be too soggy to ride.  The latest QPF (quantitative precipitation forecast) shows much of Minnesota receiving over 1″ of rain through Thursday.

Total rainfall through Thursday morning

Many locations received above normal precipitation for the month of April.  Some of that precipitation was in the form of snow with Orr picking up 17.5″.  In the last 9 months, only February and April have reported above normal precipitation according to the University of Minnesota climatologist Mark Seeley.  The recent rain has been good for Minnesota agriculture as much of the state remains in a drought.  More rain this week is like liquid sunshine to area farmers.

With the chance of severe weather Tuesday evening stay very weather savvy.  Know where to go and what to do during severe thunderstorms.  Heed any watches and warnings when/if they are issued.  A NOAA Weather Radio is always a great thing to have.  We just want everyone to stay safe this severe weather season.

Near 80 Next Week

A close encounter with Bullwinkle this week in Grand Marais near the Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.  The growling you hear in this video is not the moose but the photographer’s dog.

If only Saturday could have been sunny and warm.  Then again this is April in Minnesota, right?!

The weather wasn’t the best for biking Saturday.  A light rain was falling throughout southern MN with temperatures early Saturday in the 30s and 40s.  Ouch.  A cold, raw rain, indeed.

Even though it may seem like April has been cool, the average monthly temperature so far is 50 degrees which is 3 degrees above the average.  April-to-date in Minneapolis has been warmer than last March which is to be expected but for many Midwest cities this April has been cooler than this past March.


Rainfall from Saturday should stay under 0.25″.  Sunday will be drier area wide and better for riding.  A few light showers may quickly move through Sunday night with a better chance of rain Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.  The first week of May will be warmer with highs near 80 by midweek.

Hourly Temperature, Precip. Potential and Rainfall Tuesday-Thursday



Cooler Into the Weekend

I’d like to take a moment to applaud MORC for a job well done.  The hard work by all the volunteers and the exceptional organizational skill of the members is truly amazing.  Of course there are other organizations like the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers who are currently in the process of building a new mountain bike trail in Carpentersville outside Chicago.  Or the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club in Virginia who is working overtime to keep up maintenance on their rapidly growing system of trails.  Out of them all, however, I still think MORC is the best in the country.  I’m a little biased I guess.  After all, they let me blab about nerdy weather stuff.

Aurora Alert

Aurora over Harvey, MI Monday night

The northern lights have been putting on quite a show the past few nights. The sun is in an active stage of it’s 11-year solar cycle so expect to see more of the green glow low on the horizon.  Skywatchers in northern Minnesota or even away from the city lights may want to head outside whenever this green blob gets close to Minnesota.

La Nina Fading

Climate scientists are expecting La Nina (cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean) to end by the end of the month.  While El Nino and La Nina doesn’t give us much insight into the day-to-day weather changes across the U.S. it DOES help with seasonal forecasting.  El Nino and La Nina conditions are the most useful factor climatologists look at when determining above/below normal temperatures/precipitation.  So basically, with La Nina going away by May, climatologists will have a tougher time forecasting the summer season ahead.  Read more about it here.

Soggy First Week in May?

The first few days in May could be a little damp in the woods.  The 8-14 day rainfall outlook shows southern MN in a 33% chance of receiving above normal rain.

8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook

It also looks like the beginning of May will be warmer than average.  The Climate Prediction Center has the entire state with a decent probability (50-60%) of above average temperatures.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

Storms and showers early Wednesday morning left under 0.10″ of rain over our area trails with Theodore Wirth receiving 0.08″ and Lebanon Hills just 0.06″.


Temperatures have dropped a good 20 degrees from where they were on Wednesday.  Sunshine allows for some good riding through the end of the week but then things get a little interesting Friday night.  Rain starts to creep into southwestern MN Friday.  A strong northeasterly flow of cold, dry, Canadian air will keep the bulk of this rain south of the metro area trails…at first.  The rain eventually pushes into the metro Friday night and it may, for a brief time, change over to a rain/snow mix.  A change back to rain is expected early Saturday with clearing in the afternoon.

The bulk of the rain will stay south of I-94.  Rainfall amounts may be upwards of a 0.50″ for the metro trails and closer to 1.00″ in southwestern MN.  Jacket weather is likely into the weekend as temperatures stay in the 50s.