Northern lights possible Friday night; quiet weekend weather

Coolest weekend temps on Sunday

Northern lights
The northern lights fill the skies above Washington County, east of Hugo, Minn. The vivid display was visible across much of Minnesota late Thursday. Northern lights may be visible again Friday night, especially in northern Minnesota.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

Updated 5:15 p.m.

Some people captured stunning pictures of the northern lights Thursday night:

Chance of seeing northern lights Friday night

The chance of seeing northern lights Friday night appears to be higher in northern Minnesota than southern Minnesota.

Here’s the Friday night aurora forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center:

Friday night northern lights potential

We may get lucky and catch a glimpse of the northern lights in southern and central Minnesota.

Clouds may also be a problem Friday night, with most forecast models showing clouds increasing from west to east as we go through the evening and overnight hours.

Weekend temps

The Twin Cities average March 25 high temp is 46 degrees. Metro area highs may reach the mid-40s Saturday. Highs in the 40s are expected Saturday afternoon from eastern Minnesota into Wisconsin, with mainly 30s elsewhere:

Saturday forecast highs
National Weather Service

There will be some 20s in northwestern Minnesota.

Sunday highs will range from 20s in western Minnesota to 40s in southeastern Minnesota:

Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Some spots in the metro area will top 40 degrees Sunday afternoon.

Dry weekend in much of Minnesota

Parts of northern Minnesota, western Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin could see a sprinkle or light snow shower on Saturday, but the main snow event this weekend will pass to the southeast, affecting parts of southern and eastern Wisconsin and eastern Iowa.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale (NAM) forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern from 4 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday:

Simulated radar from 4 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday
NOAA, via Tropicaltidbits.com

You can find updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the MPR News network, and on the MPR News live weather blog.

Snow cover

Much of Minnesota still has plenty of snow cover for cross-country skiing and sledding.

Here’s the latest Minnesota snow depth map from the Minnesota State Climatology Office:

Thursday snow depth
Minnesota State Climatology Office

Most of the northern half of Minnesota reported snow depths of 18 inches or higher this week, with snow depths of 30 inches or higher in much of northeastern Minnesota.

Twin Cities metro area snow depths vary from 12 inches or higher in the north metro to around 4 inches in parts of the southwest metro.

There’s little or no snow cover in much of southeastern Minnesota and in parts of far south-central Minnesota.

The official Twin Cities high temperature (measured at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport) has not reached 50 degrees this March:

The Twin Cities high temp was 44 degrees Friday. It was 38 on Thursday.

Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to be in the lower 40s Monday, followed by upper 30s Tuesday then around 40 Wednesday and in the lower 40s Thursday and Friday.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on MPR News at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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