Spring weather: Lion growling into new month

MARSHALL – One thing you can predict with Minnesota weather is that it’s unpredictable. Especially at this time of year.

And after a shot of spring last weekend, it appears winter is on its way back. Again.

A week removed from getting anywhere from 3 to 8 inches of snow, the region got a spring teaser Sunday with temperatures climbing into the upper 50s and lower 60s. The up-and-down weather pattern continued Monday and got even more bizarre with a tornado spotted just miles away from where blizzard warnings were in effect.

To recap: Between March 27 and today, the area was witness to a major snowfall, then temps in the 60s, then another blast of cold air and tornado warnings on the same day Monday.

Welcome to spring in Minnesota.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Sally Johnson said what transpired Monday is rare, but not out of the question at this time of year.

“I’ve worked in other parts of the country where there have been winter warnings and tornado warnings at the same time, and that just speaks to the nature of the variability of springtime,” she said. “We’re changing seasons. We still get those really cold air intrusions and mix that with the warming ahead of it. That’s when you get the chance of severe weather and severe winter weather in the same day, or the same hour.”

Plenty of snow fell in northwest Minnesota on Monday – up to 18 inches in some areas – while southwest Minnesota was spared the brunt of the storm, at least when it comes to snowfall.

Most of southwest Minnesota received only a dusting of snow, while strong winds blew throughout the night and into Tuesday morning. While little snow fell, that combination did result in dangerously-icy roads.

What lies ahead for the remainder of the first full week of April? Wednesday could’ve been considered the calm between the storms.

Another blast of winter is expected to hit Minnesota sometime today and into Friday, with snow expected both days in the area. A total of anywhere from 5 to 9 inches could fall before things clear out Saturday. The NWS has issued a winter storm warning for today and Friday for Lyon, Lincoln and Murray counties. A rain/snow mix is expected to change to all snow this afternoon, and snow will likely continue to fall into Friday morning.

“There will be snow,” Johnson said. “And there will be wind again. We’re in the Northern Plains, so one thing that usually accompanies these systems is strong winds. Definitely keep an eye out.”

Johnson said the NWS is calling for below normal temps for the rest of the month. Temps will climb back into the 40s after Friday – about 10 degrees below normal for this time of year.