3/27/15: Looking into April

In the short term there will be a band of very light snow today across central and east central North Dakota.  A light accumulation in some locations, but day time heating, even through the clouds should keep the roads generally wet to slushy beyond early this morning.  Best locations for any accumulating snow today will be between Highway 83 and Highway 32 corridors, meaning central and east central North Dakota will be the principal locations for snowfall during the day.

7:45 AM Radar


The snow is associated with a push of warmer air from the Rocky Mountains.  That warm front will eventually push east across all of North Dakota by tomorrow, but today the warmer air will be confined to far western North Dakota.  The High pressure currently in Minnesota will keep the immediate Red River Valley and far western Minnesota out of the snow, although, some flurries are always possible.

8 AM Surface Analysis
8 AM Surface Analysis

Temperatures this afternoon on the western side of the warm front could easily reach the lowers 60s, whereas temperatures in eastern North Dakota will clouds and some light snow will probably stay more in the 30s to near 40°.  That warm front will push east and high temperatures tomorrow should be as warm in western North Dakota, but much warmer across eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.


Projected High Temperatures for Friday, March 27, 2015
Projected High Temperatures for Friday, March 27, 2015


Projected Highs for tomorrow which are probably underdone in most locations (add 3 to 4 degrees at most locations from what is presented)

March 28, 2015 Projected highs


With the warmer temperatures on Saturday will come with a strong wind.  First  from the south then the west.    Wind speeds tomorrow should have gusts into the 30s at most locations with even strong wind in western North Dakota once a front pushes through later in the day.


On Saturday night another cold front, although, more approximately, it would be more of a wind shift line than a cold air push as many locations in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota will record higher temperatures on Sunday than Saturday, although, western North Dakota will indeed be colder.   That wind shift on Saturday night should trigger a period of light rain, maybe mixed with snow across the far northern portions of the state, but generally a rain event.  Amounts look light, but some isolated 0.25 amounts may occur.

Speaking of next week, the mild trend will continue Monday through Wednesday.  Late Wednesday into Thursday a noticeable cold front will push through that will likely mean a cold Easter weekend.  This trend of significant shifts from above to below normal temperatures looks to be continuing through at least the middle of April.  The trend for below average precipitation will also continue.  For the 30 days of April, current thinking suggests the swings back and forth will end up bringing more above than below average temperatures, so my April forecast is projected to finish 1 to 2 degrees above average with precipitation ranging from 50 to 75% of normal.  The grand problem with forecasting precipitation in this climate is our average precipitation this time of year is so low, that just one event will skew the the percent of normal greatly.  But the pattern strongly suggests a below normal precipitation totals at this time.

Because of the wild swings from below to above average temperatures, early planting may be difficult to judge as highs in the 60s could easily be followed by lows in the upper teens to mid 20s, but historically that is fairly common for April.  But confidence is reasonably high that a persistent pattern of cold and or mild for long stretches in April is unlikely, but instead, the pattern for the past several months will hold in place.

Daryl Ritchison