Instant spring this week: Soaring temps, heavy rain, spike flood threat

Get ready for more weather whiplash, Minnesota.

Our weekend snow event gives way to soaring temps and potentially heavy rain this week. That combination on deep, water-laden snowpack over frozen ground is precisely what flood forecasters dread the most.

The result will be tens of thousands of new (temporary) lakes in Minnesota by Thursday. Urban street flooding could reach epic proportions, and small streams may exceed bankfull later this week.

In other words, welcome to just another weather week in Minnesota.

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Deep snow piles at the Weather Lab. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News

Storm recap

Our weekend snowstorm delivered as predicted in many ways. But winter storms in Minnesota are like boxes of Cracker Jack: each one comes with a free toy surprise inside.

The free surprise in Saturday's system was the models locked onto the warm air layer late, then underestimated its staying powers over the Twin Cities Saturday afternoon. That produced a few more hours of rain, and cut snowfall totals by about 2-4 inches in the Twin Cities.

Here's a look at the "correlation coefficient" mode on the Twin Cities Doppler. Watch the rain-snow line crawl east Saturday afternoon.

Overall snowfall totals behaved pretty well after we lowered snowfall forecasts Friday afternoon about 24 hours before the snow hit. The heaviest snowfall of up to a foot fell across west-central Minnesota. Pelican Rapids and Herman win the state's Golden Snow Shovel Award with 15 inches.

Twin Cities snowfall totals ranged between 4 and 7 inches.

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Here are snowfall totals from northern Minnesota.

You can check snowfall totals in your town here.

50 degrees this week? 

Parts of southern Minnesota could hit 50 degrees Wednesday afternoon. That's a shock to the system, and a fast way to jump-start snowmelt. In fact, highs in the 40s look common over the next 10 days.

It looks like we're about to turn the first corner on the road to spring.

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NOAA via Weather Bell.


Light freezing rain and rain showers develop across Minnesota Tuesday. The mother lode of moderate to heavy rain pushes north from the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday into Thursday. Cold air drives a little wet snow behind the system late Thursday.

Here's a look at the next, milder, inbound system via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Global Forecast System model.

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NOAA GFS Wednesday and Thursday via tropical tidbits.

Heavy rain potential

Widespread rains will total 1 to 2 inches across most of central and southern Minnesota this week. There could be localized totals over 2 inches in southern Minnesota.

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The sudden warmup and heavy rainfall on frozen ground will cause a flush of water to runoff via the lowest available route. We go from deep snow to deep water this week. You can see NOAA's latest flood forecast here.

Stay tuned, and clear those storm drains if you haven't already.