Pattern change next week: Highs in the 40s with a shot at 50

Warmest air mass in about 4 months likely next week

Forecast high temperatures Thursday
Forecast high temperatures Thursday, March 23
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

OK, enough of all this snowy talk.

If you’re looking for the wintry details on the forecast through this weekend you can see all that here in Ron Trenda’s Thursday afternoon post.

I feel like writing about some warmer weather. It looks like we have a significant pattern change ahead for next week that may bring us the warmest air mass in about four months.

Upper winds changing

Meteorologists use so-called long wave upper-air patterns to gauge temperature trends in the medium-range forecast out to about a week. A key altitude level for these patterns is 500 millibars about 18,000 feet above ground level.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is Member supported public media. Show your support today, donate, and ensure access to local news and in-depth conversations for everyone.

Thursday’s upper-air pattern shows our cold, snowy low-pressure zone (blue) swirling overhead, but the upper-air pattern for next week is likely to shift significantly.

See how a ridge of higher pressure pops up across the middle of the U.S. next week? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model upper-air (500-millibar) chart shows the likely changes ahead. The loop below runs between 6 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. next Wednesday.

NOAA GFS upper air forecast
NOAA GFS upper-air forecast between 6 p.m. Thursday and noon next Wednesday
NOAA, via Tropical Tidbits

Warmest air mass in 4 months next week?

Models from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts and NOAA’s Global Forecast System are cranking out significantly milder temperatures next week. Both models indicate a break in the snowy weather pattern with a string of highs in the 40s next week.

Forecast high temperatures Wednesday
Forecast high temperatures Wednesday

NOAA’s GFS model is the most optimistic and suggests highs near or above 50 degrees from the Twin Cities into southern Minnesota by next Wednesday.

Snow cover effects

There’s still plenty of snow cover across Minnesota but it’s mostly bare ground now from far southeastern Minnesota into most of Iowa. Southerly winds next week are going to blow in much milder air from those areas as they heat up more quickly.

Snow depth Thursday
Snow depth Thursday
National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center / NOAA

Minnesota’s snow cover may trim a couple of degrees of our warmup next week. But temperatures look likely to stay above the freezing point by the middle of next week. It’s going to take some time, but we’ll be melting some of that snow as next week rolls on.

If we are able to hit 50 degrees in the Twin Cities next week, it will be the warmest day since Nov. 26 when we topped out at 53 degrees in the Twin Cities. So we may feel the warmest air mass in almost four months next week.

Stay tuned.