Streams will run high, dirty again into the “opener”

Radar picture showing moderate to occasionally heavy rain over southeast Minnesota and there is fairly consistent thunder within this round of rainfall.

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At this time there hasn’t been a noticeable change in stream/river levels on local gauges, but that’s likely going to change over the next 12-24 hours and continue through the week.

Here is a projection of liquid equivalent precipitation by the end of this week. Another 2-3″ of liquid equivalent is on the way. Hopefully less, possibly more.

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If there’s an upside, and I think there is, the frost is now out at the Olmsted County gauge, which I hope is a relatively good representation for much of southeast MN. There will be exceptions, of course, as there is likely still frost on the slopes and valley walls that were still holding snow through the last few days.

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We’re in for rain and drizzle today, then a bit of freezing rain/drizzle tonight through Wednesday, then sleet to snow late Wednesday through Thursday. Snowfall totals may exceed 3″ depending on when exactly the transition from a mix to snow takes place Thursday.

Stream level rollercoaster not as dramatic today

Temperatures still hit the 40s today…even upper 40s from the Whitewater to Winona. The graph below is a good sign the majority (but not all) of the snow in and around the river valleys has diminished in the past few days. The MBWW peaked today at less than half the level it did yesterday.

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Then we picked up another shot of this…stuff…which, at least, didn’t amount to much.

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Minnesota Drought Update – Good News?

There is positive news in the long range drought outlook, and hopefully the active weather pattern of frequent storm systems stays consistent through late winter into spring.

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The US Drought Monitor provides a weekly update to overall drought conditions. Today’s drought status doesn’t show much improvement across Minnesota, nor should it, but recent trends in regards to precipitation have been good. Below is today’s updated drought monitor. Note that while 100% of Minnesota is in drought, there’s been a marked decrease in percent area in severe to extreme drought (D2-D4). There is usually minimal change this time of year since our moisture is either not present or sitting on top of the ground in the form of snow. Recent rainfall has actually helped a little, even though we’ve got a deep frost layer.

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Minnesota along with much of the Midwest are in a long term drought, so relief from this drought will be a long process.

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You can see there is a considerable moisture deficit over the past 6 months, and precipitation deficits actually stretch all the way back to August of 2011. In that 18 month period, precipitation deficits range from 5 to nearly 20 inches across southeast Minnesota reporting stations.

On a positive note is the recent precipitation trending above normal for winter, even if snow has been below normal, we’ve had unusual amounts of rain for winter. Call it what you will, but it’s moisture, and the middle of winter is typically the driest time of the year for us. Hopefully trends continue. Images below show the departure from normal in the last week and the amount of precipitation in the last 30 days.

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And the groundwater monitored is finally making a comeback after the lowest recorded level in that station’s history. I’d have put a southeast MN station on here, but levels haven’t been updated since November.

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Weekend Fishing Weather – Southeast MN

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Bottom Line: Mild and gusty Friday turning much colder and windy Saturday afternoon

What the graph above is telling you is that temperatures are going to spike above freezing Friday morning, nearing the 40s in the afternoon, it will warm up again briefly Saturday morning, and then the bottom drops out on temperatures from Saturday afternoon until the end of next week. So, if comfort is what you’re after – get it while it’s hot. Enjoy if you get out, and feel free to drop a report on the message board.

With Friday’s warm up, it will still be gusty. Winds will range between 15-25mph Friday, occasionally gusting as high as 35mph. There will be more clouds than sun Friday AM, but more sunshine in the PM if all goes to plan. Clouds return Friday night with a chance for a little, light snow, Saturday morning will turn milder, back above freezing with winds out of the west 10-20mph until about Noon, then it’s going to turn very windy and much colder through Saturday afternoon with wind gusts pushing 45mph. We’re back down to single-digit temperatures Sunday, and Monday’s high may just barely reach above zero if at all.