Cutoff Low: Cooler wetter pattern now, milder by next weekend?

"A Cutoff Low is a weatherman's woe." - Anonymous

Cutoffs are also woe to those who want instant spring. Of course, that rarely happens in Minnesota.

Here's a look at the next developing low swinging into the Midwest over the weekend. The system pushes an impressive rain shield back into Minnesota Saturday night and Sunday. Get used this one, it may hang around most of next week.

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Large severe risk in central U.S.

Take a strong low in spring and park it in the central U.S. and what do you get? A likely severe outbreak that could span a few days.

Here's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center risk area for Sunday, which includes a huge slight risk area and a moderate risk for Texarkana, Texas.

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Anatomy of a cutoff low

So called cutoffs get separated from the more consistent steering currents of the jet stream. That produces slower, more erratic behavior and persistent wet weather. They can sit and spin over the same real estate for days, before finally getting kicked out by another incoming low.

The kicker for this cutoff arrives late next week, meaning scattered rain and chilly temps will stick around most of next week.

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Ironically, cutoffs are a part of the process that eventually leads to warmer spring and summer weather. Chilly pools of air spin south from the northern latitudes, and spin out and "modify" over the mid-latitudes. It's one way cold air is dissipated and mixed in to milder air in spring. Once these cutoffs are done, there is usually very little cold air left up north to come south. Hence, the transition to spring and summer.

I'm tempted to complain about the cool wet pattern, but we are still on the verge of drought in southern Minnesota and no one would listen anyway.

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Overall this looks to be another soaking system for the central U.S. in the next five days. Another inch or two could fall across Minnesota, with heavier totals south and east.

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 Northland snow

Folks in the Northland are digging out once again.

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Duluth NWS

Here's the scene late Friday from Duluth, where most of the snow along the lakefront had already melted.

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Lake Superior Maritime Museum

Rain returns

We get through most of Saturday dry, but you'll notice the increasingly blustery feel as moist southeast winds pick up. By Saturday night and Sunday, bands of rain return. The system looks mostly warm enough for rain into next week, but it looks decidedly cool and damp for a few days.

Any hope for a long nap from Sunday to next Thursday?

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 Much warmer next weekend?

In the good news department, it appears our weather pattern in the Upper Midwest takes a turn for the warmer next weekend. The stubborn upper low slides east, and gives way to a milder southerly flow. Here's NOAA's Global Forecast System take on surface flow for Sunday, May 4.

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If the pattern verifies as expected, temps should return to the 60s and possibly 70s in Minnesota by next weekend into the following week. The Global Forecast System is most aggressive with the warm up at this point. We'll see.

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IPS Meteostar


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Lake Minnetonka Friday. Paul Huttner/MPR News

Ice out progressing

Lake Minnetonka is ice free eight days earlier than last year, and ice out is progressing through central Minnesota lakes.

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Minnesota DNR

Cool weather, wind and rain will make for slow ice out progress the next few days, but the wind may take out many lakes with weak ice.

It looks like most of Minnesota will be ice free by fishing opener this year.

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