Winter and spring battle for control of Minnesota the next two weeks

Get ready for a temperature roller coaster ride

The times they are a-changing. Especially on the weather maps.

The weather maps across North America are showing distinct signs of the seasonal transition from winter to spring over the next two weeks.

Meteorologists watch large-scale jet stream patterns called Rossby Waves for clues on big weather changes. And the upper air wave pattern across North America appears ready to change dramatically over the next two weeks.

That will likely flip our weather between brief wintry episodes and milder springlike air masses.

Weekend jet stream

Check out the forecast upper air pattern for the upcoming weekend. You can see the jet stream (loosely represented by the black line) dipping into the Upper Midwest this weekend. Note the blue zone signifying colder air across our region.

Upper air forecast map for 6 pm February 28
Upper air forecast map for 6 p.m. Feb. 28.
NOAA

Pacific flow next week

Now look at the forecast jet stream pattern by next Wednesday, March 3. See how the jet stream lifts well north into Canada?

Upper air forecast map for 6 pm March 3
Upper air forecast map for 6 p.m. March 3.
NOAA

If you follow the lines back to the west, you can see our flow comes from the Pacific Ocean. That blows in milder springlike air masses.

First 50s in sight?

The medium-range forecast maps did an excellent job forecasting the bitter Arctic outbreak a couple of weeks in advance. If they are right again this time, some locations in Minnesota could see the first 50s of the season between about March 7 and 10.

NOAA’s 16-day temperature outlook for the Twin Cities cranks out temperatures in the 50s.

NOAA GFS model 16-day temperature outlook for Twin Cities
NOAA GFS model 16-day temperature outlook for Twin Cities
NOAA via Meteostar

Again, these outlooks are better viewed as trend indicators than absolute forecast numbers. But if they are close, we could see very mild temperatures on several days in the first half of March. There is also some suggestion of a possible rain system. That would do a number on our snow cover. And that could hasten the transition into spring this year in Minnesota.

Stay tuned.

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