Where's spring? Third winter storm in a week hitting Northern U.S.

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:52 PM GMT on April 15, 2013

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Are we worthy of spring? That's the question residents of much of northern tier of states must be asking themselves this week. The winter of 2012 - 2013 refuses to give way to spring over the Northern Plains and Great Lakes, where snow will once again rule the skies this third week of April. Although the U.S. had an unusually warm winter during 2012 - 2013, ranking as the 20th warmest since 1895, March and the first half of April have been below average in temperature, with March 2013 ranking as the 43rd coldest March in the 119-year record. Two separate April snowstorms have set all time snowiest-day records at two major cities in the Northern Plains, with the latest record to fall the all-time snowiest day for Bismark, North Dakota. On Sunday, Winter Storm Xerxes walloped Bismark with 17.3" of snow, beating the city's previous all-time snowiest day record of 15.5" on March 3, 1966. Sunday's powerful blizzard brought heavy snow, gusty winds of 30 - 40 mph, and near-zero visibility to much of North Dakota, forcing the closure of the entire 350-mile stretch of I-94 through the state on Sunday and Monday morning. Heavy snow and white-out conditions on I-94 in Minnesota closed an additional portion of the freeway in that state, due to a semitrailer crash. Just last week, Winter Storm Walda brought Rapid City, South Dakota its snowiest day on record on April 9, when 20.0" fell at the airport. The 28.2" of snow during April 2013 is now the second snowiest April at the Rapid City Regional Airport, surpassed only by April 1970 when 30.6" of snow fell.


Figure 1. What a difference a year makes: snow was almost non-existent in the Upper Midwest on April 15 last year, but there is plenty this year. Image credit: NOAA.

Spring a slow-show
The cold weather this spring in the Upper Midwest has not been remarkably intense, but it has been unusually persistent, with few breaks from the colder than average conditions. In Fargo, North Dakota, the warmest day so far this year has been 43°F, and the city appears poised to record its latest 50°F on record. According to the NWS in Fargo, the latest day Fargo has hit 50°F was April 17, 1881. The current forecast calls for the temperature to remain below 50° through at least April 24. In Grand Forks, ND, the warmest it has been this year is a chilly 40°F (on January 10.) Spring has also been a slow-show in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where the 2.3" of snow that fell on Marquette on Sunday brought the seasonal total snowfall over 200"--the first time since the winter of 2007 - 2008 the city has eclipsed that mark. The snow depth in the city is 38", the deepest snow this late in the year since 1980. Marquette's warmest temperature so far this year has been 47°F on March 29. Since Marquette usually records their first 50° reading by March 15, they are a month behind schedule. The latest 50° reading since record keeping began in 1961 was April 26, 1965. The latest forecast calls for the temperature to come close to 50° on Monday, then stay below 50° for the succeeding week, so Marquette may beat its record for latest 50° temperature.

Winter not done with the Upper Midwest yet
Winter isn't done with the region yet--a new slow-moving winter storm called "Yogi" is developing over the Rockies of Northern Colorado. The storm promises to bring up to a foot of snow to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and a swath of 6+ inches to portions Northern Colorado and Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota by Thursday. This storm also has the potential to cause one of the year's largest severe weather outbreaks; NOAA's Storm Prediction Center is already calling for a "Moderate Risk" of severe weather for Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri on Wednesday.

Other interesting wunderblogs
It's also been a persistently cold April in Alaska, as weather historian Christopher C. Burt notes in his latest post.

Wunderblogging meteorologist Lee Grenci has an interesting post on why last week's severe weather outbreak had so few tornadoes, despite the presence of a strong cold front and plenty of moisture and thunderstorms.

Jeff Masters

Iron Belt WI April 13 (lilElla)
Bella & snow in Iron Belt WI and snow keeps coming.
Iron Belt WI April 13
Robins Return (martinmotor)
The robins have returned to Minnesota just in time for heavy snow.
Robins Return
April Snow in Wisconsin (pineaire)
Sandhills & geese trying to figure out how to handle the nasty weather in April
April Snow in Wisconsin

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Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FunnelVortex:
Keeping my eye on a broad low pressure the GFS is forecasting at 174 HRS



12Z pretty much kills it

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Wow, big Joe and Ryan Maue Twitter feeds are on an anti-AGW rampage today

Link

Link

Don't shoot the messenger...just sayin !!
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Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Test, test, testing..... are we live
I'm alive and that's all...
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Thanks Dr. Masters!

Spring has somewhat sprung today. A temp of 66f and it isn't even 1pm EDT yet.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7942
Test, test, testing..... are we live
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Looks like a server problem.......Dammit Jeff, I'm a doctor, not a magician....
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
back to normal now... testing...
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Quoting yonzabam:
American robins don't look anything like UK robins. I guess the early European colonisers weren't into birdwatching.





If you discovered a new bird species, what would you call it?

To some extent, it makes sense just to use terms you are already familiar with, rather than to sit around and think of a name which is both descriptive and totally unique.

Sailors would be more likely to be fishermen, soldiers, or carpenters, rather than highly educated biologists.
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Quoting MAweatherboy1:
The NAO is heading for territory we haven't seen in quite some time over the next couple days:



Looks like it may come back down shortly after the spike though.


Well there goes the warm MDR
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Quoting weatherh98:


I'm pulling out my rain dance <3
Or just listen to "TOTO"
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
The NAO is heading for territory we haven't seen in quite some time over the next couple days:



Looks like it may come back down shortly after the spike though.
Member Since: February 11, 2012 Posts: 83 Comments: 7779
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
I bless the rains down in Africa...


I'm pulling out my rain dance <3
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Quoting yonzabam:
American robins don't look anything like UK robins. I guess the early European colonisers weren't into birdwatching.

European robin





What a beautiful bird
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
I bless the rains down in Africa...
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Good morning guys! Thanks for the blog doc.

Looking forward to the upcoming outbreak not too much action outside of the southeast so far!
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American robins don't look anything like UK robins. I guess the early European colonisers weren't into birdwatching.

European robin





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Wide view of the Tropical Atlantic in rainbow

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Quoting FunnelVortex:
Keeping my eye on a broad low pressure the GFS is forecasting at 174 HRS



The models are seeing something the last 24 hrs ... have been informed its nothing tropical I guess we will see in a week

But Africa is starting to send Moisture ..

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Quoting Thrawst:


This was a bad bust: April 11, 2005




I was just pointing out Day 3 Moderate Risks that ended up busting, but yeah, that one is pretty bad.
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Quoting FtMyersgal:


Well not so much in Southwest Florida. South of Tampa we are still dry.


You guys had some good rain though the first week in April but I know what you mean with temps pushing 90 now and with several days of no rain then you are back at square one.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2881
Quoting StormTrackerScott:


Great news for FL's drought situation as multiple Gulf Lows have really helped the drought across the state over the past few weeks.


Well not so much in Southwest Florida. South of Tampa we are still dry.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


T... (testing?)
Hey Pcola
Read you loud and clear.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Quoting pcola57:
T


T... (testing?)
Hey Pcola

Quoting bryanfromkyleTX:
Loving the cooler weather down in Central Texas every 4-5 days. 90 today, but upper 60's later this week with lows upper 30's to low 40's... LOVING SPRING!!!!


Hey welcome to the WU member club (I just made that up btw...)

hi..
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Keeping my eye on a broad low pressure the GFS is forecasting at 174 HRS

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Quoting StormTrackerScott:
Here some storm pics from yesterdays storms as they rolled from West Orlando and to the coast. I actually had hail accumulate in my yard. First time I've seen hail like that here since 1999 and never seen rain as heavy as we had yesterday.




That would put your eye out kid...
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Quoting 1900hurricane:

I wouldn't say that. Just because the convective outlook didn't ever drop below a moderate risk doesn't mean that there haven't been some pretty bad busts, such as April 24, 2007.









This was a bad bust: April 11, 2005



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Here some storm pics from yesterdays storms as they rolled from West Orlando and to the coast. I actually had hail accumulate in my yard. First time I've seen hail like that here since 1999 and never seen rain as heavy as we had yesterday.




Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2881
Thanks for the new blog Dr Masters
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Thank You Dr. Every year has a different twist to it depending on various factors and the relative position of the jet stream come Springtime. All I know is that hundreds of thousands of Florida residents (past & present) are/have been transplants from up North who grew tried of the some of the brutal winters. Shoveling snow every year, and in a year like this, can be pretty tedious.

I have known over 100 such folks/families over the years and several now who came to Florida (from Northern climates) for College or visits and decided to stay; lots of bartenders in the Florida Keys in this category............ :)
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This is Dr Masters past blog for Levi and those who missed post 882 and see what is his take on what ECMWF has on the April MSLP update.
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washington...Pinky truce.?
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858


I am in confusion ... I have this strange sensation when I go outside today ..I can't really describe it ... Its not really warm like it is indoors .. but its really strange . Its something I haven't experienced in nearly a year...


We hit 16° / 61° Today ... been way too long !!!!!
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Well Spring's defiantly here in Florida today, seasonal weather coming today.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 24016
Quoting hydrus:


Great news for FL's drought situation as multiple Gulf Lows have really helped the drought across the state over the past few weeks.
Member Since: February 28, 2013 Posts: 6 Comments: 2881
"One day, You'll look, to see I've gone...But tomorrow may rain so, I'll follow the sun" Hope you like my singing during the lull...
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Loving the cooler weather down in Central Texas every 4-5 days. 90 today, but upper 60's later this week with lows upper 30's to low 40's... LOVING SPRING!!!!
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Thanks for the new blogpost - and pity for all those poor people who still have to suffer winter! In Germany we just enjoyed two summerlike days. Nature is exploding after this long delay of spring. Have a nice day everyone!


Actual temps (in Celsius) - enlarge.
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Test
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Thank you Dr. Masters... Lost you for a bit.
Member Since: October 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 5858
Thank you Dr. Masters... Lost you for a bit.
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Quoting hydrus:


I'm loving this.
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
what happened to WU???


What?
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Thanks for the new blog Dr. Masters..
At one time I lived in Marquette and that was the snowiest place I've ever been..
But the beautiful White Birch trees
more than made up for it..
Also of note..
I understand from what I've been reading that flooding in the Northern Plains is more than possible because of a late melt and continious breaking snowfall records so far this year making for a late plant and shorter season as well..
Thanks again..
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Yes..its the CFS model..for kicks and giggles (maybe?)

Precipitation Models








Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15282
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
what happened to WU???



not sure it was like evere thing got re set or some in but it looks like where back now
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Thanks Doc..Server error appears to be
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Test post.
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
This is data courtesy of Patrick Marsh with the SPC:

* Every Day 3 Moderate Risk has remained a Day 2 Moderate Risk or was upgraded to a Day 2 High Risk.
--> Means no Day 3 Moderate Risk has ever been overforecast.

* Every Day 3 Moderate Risk remained a Day 1 Moderate or High Risk.

* 30% of 10 Day 3 Moderate Risks were upgraded to a Day 1 High Risk.

I wouldn't say that. Just because the convective outlook didn't ever drop below a moderate risk doesn't mean that there haven't been some pretty bad busts, such as April 24, 2007.







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Thanks Jeff...
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.