70s and Lake Minnetonka ice-out; shower chance on Sunday

The temperature reached 77 degrees late Saturday afternoon at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That was 17 degrees warmer than our average April 20 high temp, and the warmest temp at MSP airport since we hit 79 degrees on October 3.


Saturday evening update

The evening climate report shows that the MSP airport temperature topped out at 78 degrees between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday.  78 degrees is the average Twin Cities high temp on June 11.


Roughly the southern two-thirds of Minnesota warmed into the 70s, with a few spots in west-central and southwestern Minnesota reaching the lower 80s.

The warmth will continue in some spots on Sunday.

Temperature trends

A cold front will sag southward on Sunday, shunting the warmest temps southeastward.

The metro area and points to the south and southeast will still reach the 70s this Easter Sunday:


Notice the 50s in northern Minnesota and even some 40s near Lake Superior!

Monday highs will be cool across most of Minnesota and much of western Wisconsin:


Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach around 60 degrees on Tuesday, followed by mid 60s Wednesday through Friday.


Saturday's warmth melted the last stubborn ice chunks on Lake Minnetonka:

Here's a portion of the news release for this annual harbinger of spring:

Ice Out 2019 Declared on Lake Minnetonka

April 20, 2019 (Minneapolis) - The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Freshwater, has declared Ice Out for Lake Minnetonka on April 20, 2019 at approximately 1:46 p.m. The longstanding tradition of declaring Ice Out on Lake Minnetonka is the official start to the boating season.

The HCSO Water Patrol unit routinely patrols Lake Minnetonka to monitor ice thickness. Lake Minnetonka is just over 14,500 acres in size with 37 bays.

Today, around 1:46 p.m., HCSO deputies, along with members of Freshwater, were able to safely pilot a patrol boat through all of the lake’s channels and bays without obstruction by ice.

The combination of last week’s snow storm and this Wednesday’s rainfall accelerated the ice melt, dissolving some ice slabs in bays from nine inches of ice and slush to water.

Freshwater and HCSO have jointly declared Ice Out for over a decade. The average Ice Out declaration falls around April 14. The record early Ice Out declaration was March 17 in 2016. The record late Ice Out declaration was May 5, recorded in 1857 and 2018.

Records on Lake Minnetonka ice-out dates from 1855 through 2019 can be found here.

Rain chances

The northern half of Minnesota will have the best chance of scattered showers overnight Saturday night, but the south could see a few scattered showers late Saturday night and early Sunday.

A few scattered showers/isolated t-storms will be possible in Minnesota and western Wisconsin on Sunday. The bulk of the afternoon may be dry in many areas, with the chance of rain ramping up again Sunday evening and Sunday night.

Periods of rain, with a few embedded thunderstorms, are expected Monday across much of the southern half of Minnesota and parts of northeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential rain pattern Sunday through Monday evening:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

River level update

Wednesday’s rains have caused many river levels to rise. There are numerous flood warnings in effect in Minnesota. You can get flood warning updates by clicking on any location on the National Weather Service Twin Cities website.  Areas with flood warnings are shaded green on the NWS main page; here’s how the map looked Saturday evening:

NWS Twin Cities

The latest flood warnings for northwestern Minnesota can be found on the NWS Grand Forks, N.D. site. Here’s how their map looked Saturday evening:

NWS Grand Forks

You can click on any location on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service  (AHPS) site to get hydrographs of recent and forecast river levels. Some locations list levels in feet above sea level, others list levels in feet above a local reference point.

Here’s the Saturday evening hydrograph for the Mississippi River at St. Paul:

NOAA/NWS/U.S. Geological Survey

You can see that the Mississippi River at St. Paul is expected to reach it's new crest on Wednesday. It’ll be well short of its crest on March 31, 2019, which was the seventh-highest on record:

Here’s the Saturday evening hydrograph for the St. Croix River at Stillwater:


Projected river levels are updated on a regular basis, so check back to the AHPS site and the NWS point forecasts for the latest info on the rivers near you. The NWS also posts some flooding details here.

If you’d like to scroll through hydrographs along a certain river, check here.

Hydrographs for the Red River can be found here. The Saturday evening hydrograph for the Red River at Fargo, North Dakota looked like this:


Here’s the Saturday evening hydrograph for the Red River at East Grand Forks, Minnesota:


Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

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