Soggy Soils

If there is one positive thing to living through a Minnesota winter it’s that a person comes to appreciate the nicer weather days. This past Sunday was one of those days as the bright sunshine and 60 degree weather certainly made up for last week’s cold rain & snow. Patiently waiting for the single track to open, I picked up my road bike and hit the pavement with my good friend, Jess (the Vine video above).

Our season-to-date precipitation (since March 1) is over 2.50″ above normal. Calculated soil moisture on May 5 shows southeastern Minnesota with abnormally high moisture content, meaning soggy conditions.

CycleCast

We get a few more chances of rain this week but, overall, the rain stays fairly minimal and under 0.50″. A moisture-deprived yet strong cold front swings through Saturday morning resulting in a cool weekend.

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. H: 77 Wind: S 2-4

Tuesday Night: Rain showers after midnight. L: 57 Wind: SE 2-4

Wednesday: Showers and thunderstorms. Total rainfall under 0.50″ H: 73 L: 55 Wind: NE 2-4

Thursday: Cloudy morning then gradual clearing. H: 64 L: 43 Wind: NNE 7-11 gusting to 15

Friday: Sunny. H: 64 L: 46 Wind: SSW 2-4

Saturday: Morning shower. Sunny afternoon. Cooler. H: 56 L: 35 Wind: NNW 10-15

Sunday: Sunny. Remaining cool. H: 57 L: 41 Wind: SW 2-4

You can always get the latest cycling weather forecast and information on my website, 2WheelWeather.com.

Pedal Minnesota

I recently encountered a nice little surprise along the Kenilworth Trail this weekend. A bike tune-up station from Pedal Minnesota and Health Partners was erected right along the bike path. This was the first time I saw (and used) one of these bike stations that offer bike tools and free air for your tires. Look for these stations all summer long as they will be rotating around some of the major biking routes in town.

Patiently Waiting

Snow on the Seat

Tough spring season for the Minnesota mountain biker! Just when the trails were almost ready to open we got blasted by yet another heavy precipitation event, most of which was in the form of snow. May snow in northern MN is not too uncommon but to get snow in southern MN? Definitely weird. A crazy 18 inches fell in Blooming Prairie setting an all-time state record for the most snow ever recorded in May.

May 1-3 Snowfall Totals

The metro (barely) missed the big snow leaving many May snow records untouched. The following is from the Minnesota Climatology Working Group:

The largest amount from a single May storm in the Twin Cities climate record (including Fort Snelling) is 3.0 inches which occurred in 1830, 1892, 1935, and 1946. The last year in that list, 1946 was especially notable because on June 1st of that year, Holman field in St Paul reported 38 degrees F with snow flurries from 2:24 am to 2:55 am, just barely into the month of June, but nevertheless the only documented observation of snow in the Twin Cities area during June.  

Snow in June?!…just think, it could be worse!

Past 7 Day Precipitation

The trails are soaked. In the Twin Cities it was the 5th wettest April (5.22″) of all time and now with May starting off wet, the trails will likely take even longer to open. The Climate Prediction Center shows a 33-40% chance of receiving above normal precipitation across southeastern MN for the month of May.

The moisture is good for the drought…bad for the anxious Minnesota mountain biker.

CycleCast

A stationary storm over Arkansas will continue to spew clouds a showery weather into Minnesota all weekend. Conditions will be getting warmer; 70s by midweek and 80s potentially by mid-May!

Click on this map to get the latest high-res visible satellite image

Saturday: Steady morning rain. Mostly cloudy afternoon showers. H: 55 Wind: N 7

Saturday Night: Cloudy, light mist/sprinkles. L: 45 Wind: N 4

Sunday: Cloudy, decreasing showers. H: 65 L: 52 Wind: N 2-4

Monday: Dry, cloudy morning yet sunny afternoon. H: 69 L: 51 Wind: CALM

Tuesday: Sunny. H: 74 L: 55 Wind: S 4-7

Wednesday: Increasing clouds, showers possible overnight. H: 73 L: 54 Wind: S 4-7

Low Tornado Count

The country has had more snow than thunderstorms this severe weather season. Via the National Weather Service:

From May 2012-April 2013, the estimate is that there were 197 tornadoes rated EF1 or stronger. Where does that stack up historically? Well, we have pretty good data back to 1954. During that time, the previous low for (E)F1 and stronger tornadoes in a 12 consecutive calendar month period was 247, from June 1991-May 1992.

As a result of the low tornado count, fatalities from tornadoes are also down. From May 2012 to April 2013 there were 7 U.S. tornado deaths. This is the fewest in a 12 month period since 5 deaths in Sep 1899 to Aug 1900.

Trail Construction

Dean Parkway Proposed Trail Improvements

Some well-used trails are getting a facelift this spring. The Minneapolis Parks & Recreation is funding a project to improve paved trails along Dean Parkway and the west side of Cedar Lake. The plan is to “redesign and construction of the existing trails and lighting, improvements to known trail conflict areas, lighting, signage, and trail connections to both on and off-street trail systems comprise the project’s scope. These improvements are not expected to change the current use of this popular trail segment that threads through so many urban amenities.”

You can read more about the proposed changes here: http://bit.ly/112WB7q

2WheelWeather

It’s been a year now since my first MORC Weather Blog post. Writing these weekly weather updates continues to be a great hobby of mine. The response has been overwhelmingly positive within the cycling community as many riders depend on the weather forecast to plan out their rides.

I’ve expanded upon this idea in my latest venture, 2WheelWeather. Whether it be a leisurely Saturday afternoon group ride or a competitive long distance endurance race, 2WheelWeather will take the guess work out of the cycling weather.

2WheelWeather puts a strong emphasis on getting the cyclists involved in sharing a cycling experience impacted by weather, cycling photos and videos, or the micro-climates that make their local trails special. 2WheelWeather will be an interactive, national cycling community about weather and it’s impacts on cycling.

2WheelWeather also provides accurate, highly detailed and hyperlocal weather forecasts for events and races. Contact Ride@2wheelweather.com for your CycleCast!

 

A Rude Awakening

Sunday's MN Ironman Bike Ride

Wow, what a weekend! We saw our first 60, 70 and 80 degrees temps as well as the first thunderstorms of the season. We’ve waited a long time for weather like this. The last time the mercury rose to 60 or above was November 22…nearly 7 months!

Normally the area sees 60 degrees by March 29 but this year it took until April 26. MSP got awful close to the record for the latest 60 degree high temp which still stands at April 29, 1874. St. Cloud, however, just set a record for the least number of 50 degree days between December and April. This April has been anything but normal and it’s about to get even weirder.

CycleCast

Just when we thought we were done with the snow, Mature Nature throws Minnesota another curve ball. The rumors are true, a minor snow accumulation on the greening grass is possible by Thursday morning. Yuck.

Tuesday: Increasing clouds. Last warm day. H: 71 Wind: W 9-11

Tuesday Night: Rain showers. L: 44 Wind: NNW 9

Wednesday: Getting colder throughout the day. Rain & snow mix. H: morning 46; evening 35 L: 34 Slushy inch overnight? Wind: N 9 mph

Thursday: Cloudy. H: 45 L: 35 Wind: NNE 11

Friday: Morning rain/snow mix, afternoon rain. H: 44 L: 41 Wind: NNE 9-11

Saturday: Cloudy, morning light rain. H: 58 L: 46 Wind: SSE 7-9

Precipitation type forecast. Map: WeatherBELL

I know, I’m just as disgusted as your are in the forecast. Models keep hinting at several inches of snow across extreme southeastern Minnesota. How much of that will be all snow? Hard to say but a mixture of snow and rain will likely keep the snow amounts down. Maybe 1-2 inches total Wednesday-Friday for the Twin Cities?

GFS Model Total Snowfall Forecast. Map: wxcatser.com

Temperatures also decrease dramatically from the 70s down into the 40s as a vigorous front swings through on Wednesday.

Surface temp forecast shows a cold smack of air arriving Wednesday. Map: WeatherBELL

Temps do rebound into the weekend but continuous cloudy and drizzly weather sticks around as an upper level storms gets cut off from the main jet stream flow and sits over the Midwest until early next week.

500 mb chart showing the cut off storm for the weekend.

The trails were close to opening this past weekend but it looks as through 1-2″ inches of precipitation over the next week will set us back a few days. Hang in there!