Minnesota Now with Cathy Wurzer

Spring hasn't yet sprung, and other weather updates for the week

A woman works to collect sap from trees in a forest.
Along Highway 89 towards Red Lake. After heavy rain and warming temperatures, water vapor rises from the remaining snow patches in the woods. Near Red Lake, Minn.
Monika Lawrence for MPR News | 2022

While it is officially spring, we are seeing the same kind of wet and cold weather patterns as the past few months. Snow and rain are moving across the state.

MPR Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner joined MPR News host Cathy Wurzer with weather updates including what’s in store for the weekend, a drought and snowfall measure and more.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation. 

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Audio transcript

CATHY WURZER: It is officially spring, but we're seeing the same kind of wet and cold weather patterns as the past few months. Snow and rain are moving across portions of the state. Actually, they're mostly into Wisconsin at this point. We're going to get the details on some of this weather, maybe a calmer weekend into next week, with our Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner. Hey, welcome back.

PAUL HUTTNER: Hey, good to be here, Cathy. Thanks. And, you know, it's not our imagination. This feels like one of the longest winters ever, 113 days of consecutive snow cover in the Twin Cities, that puts us into the top 10 tomorrow, at 114 days. So it's not your imagination. It's been a long winter.

CATHY WURZER: That's so depressing. And add to the snow on the ground, a fresh blanket up north.

PAUL HUTTNER: Yeah, indeed. They had some really respectable snowfall totals, starting in the Red River Valley, Moorhead, 6.6 inches. Pelican Rapids had 6, Brainerd 4 to 5, Bemidji 5 to 6, Grand Rapids 6, Hibbing 7. Duluth had 4 and 1/2. But more on the North Shore, Silver Bay 7.6, about 7 in Grand Marais and Lutsen, 10 a little west of Grand Marais, Cathy. So yes, one more shot of snow even as we start to look ahead to some slightly better weather.

CATHY WURZER: So I have lost track of the rankings. I'm sorry. We were hoping to make a run at top five or something like that when it comes to total snowfall this winter. Where are the Twin Cities and Duluth, for that matter, in these snowfall totals?

PAUL HUTTNER: Duluth is almost there, sixth snowiest winter on record. They're up to 125.4 inches as of 11:00 AM today. Yeah, that's more than 10 feet of snow. The math is correct.

But interesting to note, Brainerd is number two this season, 79.6 inches of snow. Just an inch from the top spot in Brainerd, Spooner, the 8th snowiest Twin Cities-- sorry, but it's only the 8th snowiest winter on record, 81.2 inches so far. That's more than 6 feet of snow, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: I'm going to assume, dangerously so, that we are going to see more snow yet this month into April.

PAUL HUTTNER: That is statistically likely, but I don't see any in the weather maps just yet. And here's where the forecast kind of pivots to the hopeful part, the whispers of spring that I'm starting to see in the forecast models, we're cloudy today, 38.

Tomorrow the sun will come out. I think, in the Twin Cities, we'll be around 40. And it looks kind of sneaky nice, almost an early spring pattern Friday, Saturday, 48 sunshine Friday, close to 50 in the Twin Cities, southern Minnesota Saturday, and then still in the 40s Sunday and Monday, and dry. So that's good.

Now, take this with a grain of salt. But the European models warm things up a bit for next week. It's printing out 50 next Wednesday, 59 in the Twin Cities next Thursday. We'll see if that actually materializes.

But the pattern does look like it's easing up. And I think we're going to see a little more sun and some milder temperatures. So it's going to feel a little better out there in the next week.

CATHY WURZER: I'm hoping the drought's gone now?

PAUL HUTTNER: It's just about gone. In eastern Minnesota, it is gone. They're hanging on to some moderate drought in western Minnesota. But NOAA's forecast is for that drought to end, partially because we've got all this snow sitting on the ground, 2 to 6 inches of snow water equivalent, the water in that snow, across Minnesota, 7 inches in Wisconsin.

That, of course, is one of the reasons we're looking at a higher than average risk of flooding this spring on the rivers. But that shallow frost means more of that snow is going to soak into the soil this spring. So I really think that's going to wipe out the drought in southwest Minnesota also. That is good news.

Of course, I think it was Mark Twain that said it takes a flood to end a drought. So we're going to deal with a little bit of flooding, I think, this spring as well.

CATHY WURZER: Yeah, I know our friends at Stillwater are starting the sandbagging process here today. Say, Climate Cast, of course, coming up, where did you go for this one?

PAUL HUTTNER: Oh, I had a great day yesterday. I went out to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. And it's maple syrup season out there.

I talked with Richard DeVries. He's the maple syrup manager, among other things out there. And, Cathy, it's a good sap flow this year. They started the first day of cooking yesterday.

The snow cover we've had and the shallow frost has produced a good flow for the trees this year. And so I talked to him about the seasonality of maple syrup and maple sap and what weather conditions favor that and how that varies from year to year. And are there any climate change trends with that? So that's tomorrow on Climate Cast during All Things Considered.

CATHY WURZER: All right, and wherever you get your podcasts too. I appreciate it, Paul Huttner. I hope you have a good day.

PAUL HUTTNER: You too. Thanks so much, Cathy.

CATHY WURZER: That's Paul Huttner, our chief meteorologist. By the way, if you're looking for more weather information, check out the Updraft blog. You'll find that at mprnews.org.

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