12/9/14: Melting Snow

Current snow cover over the northern plains has a general 1 to 3 inch snow pack in locations with snow on the ground with some localized higher amounts.

nsm_depth_2014120905_Upper_Midwest
Snow Depth in the Upper Midwest

 

The actual snow cover numbers from the cooperative observers in North Dakota are presented below.  The highest amounts are in south central  to central North Dakota running from around Ashley to near Jamestown, but even in that area spot to spot variation is quite high.

 

 

Snow Depth Map
Cooperative Snow Depth Analysis from December 8, 2014

 

The snow that is on the ground will likely be disappearing this week as a very mild air mass will be pushing into the area today and then stick around the rest of the week and then may come back again next week.  The cool high pressure that settled into the region yesterday is now in Minnesota and will continue to work to the east during the day.  Low clouds and fog are fairly widespread this morning and with the low sun angle this time of year, those low clouds may stick around for much of the day.  One thing that will help improve visibilities and  help in the erosion of these clouds will be an increasing wind.  The pressure gradient will tighten up today as the high moves east and an area of low pressure works across Canada.  The south wind should increase to 10-20 mph with some higher gusts for many locations in North and South Dakota as well as western Minnesota.

 

Surface Features
Morning Surface Analysis

 

That fairly tight pressure gradient will stick around this week, meaning that the warm up expected will come with breezy conditions most days.  Plus, with the wind more southerly, which is NOT the warmest wind flow in this area, as a westerly wind is better for warmth, the high temperature potential this week will be lessened to some degree, yet temperatures will still be well above seasonal averages.

Turning breezy today with 20s east and 30s in western North Dakota.  Wednesday through Friday should see temperatures warmer each day.  Friday still has the potential (from yesterday’s blog) of recording record or near record temperatures.  Highs in the 50s in western North Dakota and 40s in the east are a real possibility and even eastern North Dakota could have 50° potential if the clouds can stay away.  Next threat of precipitation outside the usual flurries with cloudy days this time of year looks to be on Sunday.  After a briefly cooler period on Sunday and Monday there are strong indications that next week will also record above average temperatures.

Daryl Ritchison