3/4/15: The Warmth Returns

It was another cold morning across the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network with low temperatures in the -0s and -10s.

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The strong March sun in combination with not much snow on the ground should allow temperatures to at least get above zero today in most locations, but needless to say it will be a cold day.  Tonight will also have -10s potential, then temperatures will begin to moderate for the weekend.

As the warm air moves in, there may be some very light snow or a rain/snow mix in northern North Dakota on Friday, otherwise, most locations not expecting any precipitation in the near term.  The warm up will be associated with the persistent ridge of high pressure over the western one-third of the United States shifting eastward into the central part of the country.

 

500 mb Height and Anomaly map for next 10 years via ECMWF WMO-Essential
500 mb Height and Anomaly map for next 10 years via ECMWF WMO-Essential

 

This will be a slow process, but in the 6 to 10 day period (much of next week), temperatures are expected to be well above average across the upper Midwest.

850 mb temperature anomalies for March 12, 2015 at 6:00 PM
850 mb temperature anomalies for March 12, 2015 at 6:00 PM

 

Expected temperatures are for highs to be in the 40s and 50s with western North Dakota recording some 60s.  For many locations it will be the warmest air of 2015 to this point.

Day 20 to 25 Forecast
Day 20 to 25 Forecast

After next week’s warmth, there will be a transition back to average temperatures for a few days, then the pattern that has been with us much of the past several weeks looks to be returning.  Although, with lack of snow cover and average temperatures in the near 40° or higher by that time, below average for the second one-half of March will have a different “feel” then below average has been in February or early March.

A round of of expected temperatures this month:

Week 1:  Below Average

Week 2:  Above Average

Week 3:  Near average (warm to cold)

Week 4:  Below average

Precipitation this month only averages near or a bit over 1 inch across much of North Dakota meaning one storm can easily dump a good percentage of the precipitation for the month.  With some switching between warm and cool patterns that is always a possibility, but given that obvious fact, below average precipitation is projected this month as the storm track stay south and north of the state much of the time.

Daryl Ritchison