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Drought Update

We don't pull the Drought Monitor out a lot during winter, but there were some changes from last week to this week in the latest update issued Thursday. Parts of northwestern Minnesota are no longer "abnormally dry"! However, 56.9% of the state (mainly eastern and northern parts) are still considered at least abnormally dry, Moderate Drought conditions remain across the metro, and 6.95% of the state (up in northern Minnesota) are under Severe Drought conditions.


Partly Sunny Friday - Precip Moves In Overnight

While you may look at that overall day icon and think "oh no - it's going to precipitate all day Friday!" don't worry - it won't. In fact, most of the day will be dry under fairly cloudy conditions. Precipitation chances won't move in until the evening and overnight hours. Morning temperatures will be in the low 20s with highs climbing to the mid/upper 30s.

As we look statewide on your Friday, we do watch some light snow chances across northern Minnesota during the day, but precipitation chances across southern Minnesota move in late. Highs will range from the 20s up north to the 40s down south.


A Mostly Wet Saturday For MSP, But Snow To Our North

Forecast loop: 6 PM Friday to 6 AM Sunday

We continue to track that storm heading into the region Friday Night through Saturday. Precipitation looks to come in two batches: the first Friday Night as some freezing drizzle or light rain. The second comes in on Saturday, when heavier precipitation is expected - mainly rain from the Twin Cities south and east, and wintry precipitation as you head north and west.

Looking at expected precipitation (rain and melted precipitation), up to an inch of liquid could fall here in the metro Friday Night through Sunday morning, with over an inch possible across portions of Wisconsin.

A band of at least 2" of snow will be possible across portions of central and northern Minnesota through the first half of the weekend, with the heaviest totals along the far northern North Shore with over 6" possible in those areas. This system also brings the threat of icing, particularly Friday Night into early Saturday, with a glaze to 0.1" possible in spots.

A few of the storms Saturday could even be on the strong side across southwestern Minnesota - but a better chance exists as you head into Iowa. Damaging winds would be the main threat from any of the stronger storms, but a tornado can't be ruled out near the area of low pressure. Note the earliest tornadoes on record for the state came on March 6th, 2017.


Quieter Second Half Of The Weekend

While Sunday could still start off with a few lingering snowflakes, much of the day should be dry and cloudy. Highs will only reach the low 30s behind that system, and winds will be strong out of the northwest - gusting into the 20 mph range.


Saturday System Looks More Wet Than Wintry For MSP
By D.J. Kayser, filling in for Paul Douglas

There was some actual improvement in the drought update that was released Thursday for the state. Parts of northwestern Minnesota that were under "abnormally dry" conditions are now drought-free. However, most of the metro remains under Moderate Drought, and 6.95% of the state (in areas of northern Minnesota) are still in Severe Drought conditions.

The storm we've been tracking for the first half of the weekend continues to look more wet than wintry for the Twin Cities. While it could start off as some slight icing Friday Night, precipitation across the metro will change to rain Saturday with over half an inch of liquid expected before ending Saturday Night as some light snow. Some strong storms could even be possible in southeastern Minnesota. Meanwhile, off to our north and west from Wheaton to Brainerd to the Arrowhead, several inches of snow are expected.

Clouds stick around most of next week, with another shot of snow possible Thursday. Behind that will be a quick blast of cooler air heading into the second weekend of March.


D.J.'s Extended Twin Cities Forecast

FRIDAY: Cloudy. Overnight mix. Wake up 23. High 37. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind E 10-15 mph.

SATURDAY: MSP mostly rain. Mix/snow overnight. Wake up 32. High 44. Chance of precipitation 90%. Wind E 10-15 mph.

SUNDAY: Flurries possible early. Mainly cloudy. Wake up 25. High 32. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 10-20 mph.

MONDAY: A peek or two of sun. Wake up 17. High 31. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Passing afternoon snowflakes. Wake up 17. High 36. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind W 5-15 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Still cloudy. Some late night snow. Wake up 18. High 31. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind W 10-15 mph.

THURSDAY: Snow showers. Slightly cooler. Wake up 14. High 26. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.


Minneapolis Weather Almanac And Sun Data
March 4th

*Length Of Day: 11 hours, 19 minutes, and 16 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday: 3 minutes and 7 seconds

*When Do We See 11.5 Hours Of Daylight: March 8th (11 hours, 31 minutes, 47 seconds)
*Earliest Sunrise Before DST Begins: March 12th (6:30 AM)
*Latest Sunset Before DST Begins: March 12th (6:15 PM)


This Day in Weather History
March 4th

1935: An extremely damaging ice storm hits Duluth. At the time it was called 'The worst ice storm in Duluth's history'. The storm began with freezing rain and wet snow falling at the Duluth Weather Bureau at 7th Ave West and 8th Street at 10pm on March 3rd. The temperature was 26 degrees. By the morning of the 4th, the snow stopped but the freezing rain continued. The lights started going out in Duluth by 6pm on the 4th due to power lines breaking. By the morning of the 5th, Duluth was virtually isolated from the outside world except for shortwave radio. A local ham radio operator sent the Duluth National Weather Service reports: Four streetcars had to be abandoned in the storm, three of them in the western part of the city. A heavy salt mixture and pickaxes were used to try to free the stuck streetcars. A one-mile stretch of telephone poles along Thompson's Hill was broken off as if they were toothpicks due to the ice.


National Weather Forecast

The potential for wintry weather Friday into Friday Night will stretch from the western United States into the upper Midwest, with a few storms possible in Nebraska, Iowa, and California.

Through Saturday evening we'll be tracking several inches of snow in the western United States, particularly in the Sierras. 1-2" of rain are possible at lower elevations in the west and in parts of the central United States.


Climate change threatens nearly one third of U.S. hazardous chemical facilities

More from NPR: "Nearly one third of the hazardous chemical facilities in the United States are at risk from climate-driven floods, storms and wildfires, according to a new analysis by the Government Accountability Office. The federal watchdog analyzed more than 10,000 factories, refineries, water treatment plants and other facilities that manufacture, store or use dangerous chemicals. They found that more than 3,200 of them are located in places where they face damage from sea level rise, hurricane storm surge, wildfires or flooding from heavy rain. "Recent natural disasters have demonstrated the potential for natural hazards to trigger fires, explosions, and releases of toxic chemicals at facilities," the report's authors note. The report calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to require facilities to prepare for floods, power outages and other effects of climate change."

UN Adopts Landmark Resolution That Aims to End Plastic Pollution

More from Yale Environment 360: "The United Nations has adopted an historic resolution laying the groundwork for a legally binding agreement aimed at ending plastic pollution. "Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic. With today's resolution we are officially on track for a cure," said Espen Barth Eide, Norway's minister for climate and the environment and president of the UN Environment Assembly meeting this week in Nairobi, Kenya, where the resolution was passed. The measure calls for an international negotiating committee to set the terms of a treaty on plastic pollution by the end of 2024. The UN will then convene a conference to adopt the treaty."

Climate change forcing species on the move

More from the Met Office: "In Europe and the UK naturalists have been noting for several decades that the ranges of many species have generally been drifting north and uphill. Since the 1960s there have been a good number of species, especially insects, which have colonised the UK from further south in Europe. Additionally there is some evidence that a number of species which are at the southern end of the range in the UK – those that are found on mountains or nearer the Arctic – have also shifted north. The pioneering work A Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds, published in 2008, produced a series of climate change projections for all of Europe's bird species. It revealed that for the average bird species the potential distribution by the end of this century will shift nearly 550 km north east, equivalent to the distance from Plymouth to Newcastle. The average bird's distribution will also be reduced in size by a fifth and overlap the current range by only 40 per cent. The atlas also showed that three quarters of all of Europe's nesting bird species are likely to suffer declines in range. In 2008, the Climate projections for some of these species show continued decline or even UK extirpation."


Thanks for checking in and have a great day! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

- D.J. Kayser