Weekend thaw: Milder with little or no snow through next week?

Lamb-like early March looks favorable for spring flood forecast

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Raspberry Island in 2019. Image via City of St. Paul.
Huttner, Paul

Flood risk in the Upper Midwest is like the same watched pot every spring. There’s almost always a risk of flooding somewhere. It just depends on how the variables play out.

Saturated soils and significant snowpack across the Upper Midwest means a significantly elevated chance of flooded rivers across the Upper Midwest this spring.

But flood forecasters at the North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen have to be happy with the way the weather maps look lately. The combinations of milder temperatures and little or no precipitation for about the next 9-10 days is almost ideal for mitigating early spring flood risk.

Freeze-thaw

Temperatures over the next week look perfect for gradually reducing snowpack across the Upper Midwest. Days above the thawing point will melt snow. Nights below freezing mean that snowmelt will gradually be released into area rivers.

Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
NOAA via Weather Bell

Mostly rain and snow-free?

The upper air forecast maps continue to advertise a mild zonal (westerly) Pacific airflow across the Upper Midwest for the next 1-2 weeks.

Upper air forecast map for 6 pm March 12
Upper air forecast map for 6 pm March 12
NOAA

That also means few, if any, significant storms. Little or no snow in the forecast is good news for keeping river-rises in check. No sign of heavy rain is even better.

European model (ECMWF) snowfall output
European model (ECMWF) snowfall output through March 7
NOAA via pivotal weather

Starting Saturday, most models favor highs in the Twin Cities and much of southern and western Minnesota at or above 40 degrees 4 of the following 7 days. The European model cranks out a high of 53 degrees for the Twin Cities a week from Friday.

Stay tuned.

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