A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Monday. Much to the chagrin of all the kids who are already out of school today, another fast-moving storm system will deliver snow to start the week. For everyone else out there who has to drive Monday afternoon or evening, heads up that road conditions will be poor at times. Some rain and snow will also accompany today’s storm system, and while there shouldn’t be any accumulation of ice today, the mixed precipitation will contribute to more difficult travel. I expect a final tally of 3 to 4 inches of snow from this system with portions of southeast Minnesota coming in just shy of that. There is a very slim chance of some isolated reports that may exceed 4 inches but I wouldn’t put any money on that prospect.

 
This week’s weather is similar to last week’s with another shot of arctic air moving in behind today’s storm system. Tuesday will be the blustery day of the week, Wednesday and Wednesday night will be the coldest, and temperatures regulate by the end of the week. Despite all this talk of wintry weather, sunshine will be a lot more common this week, especially from Wednesday through Friday.
 
Signs of Spring
 
Love it or hate it, those of us who enjoy outdoor winter activities are on a much tighter clock now. There may be opportunities that pop up occasionally in March, especially the first couple weeks, but dependable conditions for snowmobiling, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing are becoming short-lived. 
 
Meteorological Winter comes to an end in less than 2 weeks, ice shelters need to be off of Minnesota’s inland (non-border) waters by the end of March 2, and we are now less than 3 weeks away from setting our clocks an hour ahead.
 
Spring Flooding Potential
 
The National Weather Service issues 3 Spring Flood Outlooks between early February and the middle of March. Why 3? Spring flooding potential is affected by many factors, from how much precipitation may still be in the ground from late fall rain to our winter snowpack, and most importantly the rapidly changing conditions of late winter to spring.
 
Looking at all the initial data, "the overall risk for flooding along the main-stem of the Mississippi is well above normal this year. Risk for flooding along the tributaries ranges from near normal to well above normal." - National Weather Service, La Crosse
 
I’ll follow this up later with more in-depth information on southeast Minnesota, but the bottom line is there is reason for concern yet again for flooding in some locations this year. Flooding along our smaller rivers like the Zumbro, Root, and Whitewater Rivers is much less predictable than it is along the Mississippi, but there is still plenty of moisture in the top soil and on top of the ground that’s ready to be released once it warms up.

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