Spring Outbreak: Milder days, Thursday severe risk, fine Fishing Opener?

The season formerly know as spring has finally arrived to stay.

Just in time.

  • This is one of the biggest weather weeks of the year in Minnesota.

  • May is here.

  • The biggest tornado outbreak in Twin Cities history occurred 49 years ago Tuesday.

  • Thursday may bring the first real severe risk for many.

  • Fishing Opener weekend arrives Friday into this weekend.

As waves of boat laden trailers stream north Friday, the ice may actually be gone in most Minnesota lakes this year.

Perfect timing.

1505 msp

Temps headed in right direction

It finally feels like spring when you walk outside this week. Your heavy coat will feel neglected as temps rise through the 60s and push well into the 70s by Thursday. The week stares dry with ample sunshine today and Tuesday.

Scattered rain and thunder creeps into the forecast lexicon Tuesday night, with the best chance for heavy to severe storms rolling in Thursday.

1501 kky

Low pressure gathers steam in the Rockies and pushes into the Midwest this week. The result is a southerly flow that warms Minnesota at first, then taps Gulf moisture to the south to increase shower and thunderstorm coverage north of a developing warm front.

Here's the 48 hour surface loop from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

1505 allfcsts_loop_ndfd (1)

South of the warm front, the first real shot of summertime heat. Temps soar into the 90s in Kansas by Tuesday, and thermometers may touch 100 degrees in a few spots.

1505 MaxT2_centplains

Farther north it's 50s and 60s tomorrow for Minnesota. But the developing heat dome wont stay south forever. Spring and summer-like heat will work north eventually.

1505 MaxT2_uppermissvly

The contrast of air masses this week will drive strong convection with the incoming low by Thursday. NOAA's Storm prediction Center places all of southern Minnesota in a severe risk zone Thursday.

1505 risk

NOAA's Global Forecast System hints at a strong surface low in western Minnesota Thursday. That could put the metro in the warm sector, meaning temps in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees for those towns that get some prolonged sunshine in between storms.

1505 Thur
GFS Thursday via NOAA

Fishing Opener 2014: Weather Stars align for (mostly) good weather?

Minnesota State Attorney General Walter Mondale and Minnesota Governor Karl Rolvaag display their catch on opening day of the 1963 Minnesota fishing season. Courtesy: Minnesota Historical Society

I'm cautiously optimistic about good weather for the Fishing Opener this weekend.

Thursday's low pulls out of northern Minnesota with a few lingering rain storms Friday, but it appears right now a weak bubble of high pressure could build in this weekend. That may mean plenty of sun and light winds with mild temps just in time for Saturday and possibly Sunday.

Here's the Global Forecast System meteogram for the metro, but it may be representative of conditions up north also.

1505 opener

If things pan out, this could be a much better weather scenario than last year when many northern Minnesota lakes were still ice choked. Ice out is progressing nicely up north this week. You can track ice conditions on your favorite lake here.

1505 ice out
Minnesota DNR

Here's more on last year's conditions and Fishing Opener climatology from the Minnesota Climatology Working Group.

2013 Minnesota Fishing Opener Weather

The cold and cloudy weather (and sometimes snowy) has delayed the progress of spring in Minnesota. Spring phenology is lagging about a week and a half in the Twin Cities and about five weeks behind 2012. Lake ice out has also been delayed. In 2012 the entire state was ice free by April 10. As of mid April this year, lakes in southern Minnesota are losing their ice from about one to two weeks later than the median ice out dates calculated since 1950.

There's been ice on lakes in northern Minnesota in some past years for the fishing opener. The most dramatic was 1950 with lakes still iced as far south as Osakis and Mille Lacs. 1950 was the latest ice out season for the 20th century and many of the late ice out records for lakes with long period of records stem from 1950. In more recent years there have been some lakes father north with ice on them for the fishing opener. These years include: 1966, 1979, 1996, 2008, and 2009.With 2009 there were just a couple lakes in the far northeastern tip of Minnesota still had ice on them.

Minnesota's Fishing Opener weather is typified by partly cloudy to cloudy skies, morning temperatures in the low 40's, and afternoon temperatures climbing to near 70. Three out of four years are free of measurable precipitation. A trace of snow has been reported in northern Minnesota on at least five of the last 64 fishing openers. On at least four occasions, some lakes were still frozen for the opener. Generally there is enough wind to be felt on the face, maybe enough to 'fly' a flag. Weather on Minnesota fishing opener dates is highly variable. 64 years of fishing opener weather data are summarized here to offer a glimpse of what is 'typical' and what is 'extreme'.

Opening day temperatures have started as low as 24 degrees at International Falls (1996,2004), with freezing temperatures possible even in Minneapolis (31 degrees in 1979). On the warm side, St. Cloud saw 92 degrees in 1987, Minneapolis reported 91 in 1987, and International Falls reached 88 in 1977. The average early morning temperature varies from the high 30's in the northeast to the high 40's along the southern border. The average afternoon temperature generally ranges from the mid 60's along the northern border, to the low 70's in the extreme south. Along the shore of Lake Superior, highs are held in the mid 50's.

Stay tuned!

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.