Not Warm Yet – Will Spring Come Someday?

Yesterday it rained here, again. Now we’ve got a new “winter storm warning” for much of the USA along with yet more snow on the way. It’s not warm yet. Will spring come someday? Someday soon? Please?…

Spring-Buster: Cold Front to Send Temperatures Plunging in Midwest, East After Late-Week Warmup
Brian Donegan
Published: April 12, 2018

It may be a while before you can put your jacket away for the season. The much-anticipated warmup for the second half of this week will exit as quickly as it arrives, with much colder temperatures returning to the Plains this weekend and spreading toward the East Coast by early next week.
Spring-Busting Cold Returns

The stubborn upper-level trough, or southward dip in the jet stream, that has dominated the central and eastern states since March will return and send temperatures back below average in many areas by this weekend.

A surface cold front and an upper-level trough will cause temperatures to plunge once again in the Midwest and East by early next week.

At the surface, a cold front, associated with a potent spring storm in the nation’s midsection late this week, will slide eastward and drag a chilly air mass – by April standards – along with it.

(MORE: Winter Storm Xanto Forecast | Severe Weather Forecast)

The northern Plains will be shivering as early as Friday, with the colder air spreading into the central Plains and upper Midwest by Saturday. That air mass will remain over those regions Sunday while also spilling into much of the Mississippi Valley and parts of the mid-South.

Temperatures could be as much as 20 to 30 degrees below mid-April averages from the northern and central Plains to the mid-Mississippi Valley, translating to highs only in the 20s and 30s with lows in the teens.

In addition, a backdoor cold front – a cold front that moves south or southwest along the Northeast Seaboard and eastern Great Lakes – will drag an initial shot of cooler air into the Northeast and mid-Atlantic this weekend before that main chilly air mass arrives Monday.

Winter Storm Xanto to Bring Heavy Snow, Some Ice From the Northern Plains to the Great Lakes; Blizzard Warnings Issued
Jonathan Belles
Published: April 12, 2018

Xanto? What the heck is a Xanto? /sarc;

Winter Storm Xanto (pronounced ZAN-toe) will bring blizzard conditions to parts of the northern Plains, then spread a swath of heavy snow, even ice, into the Upper Midwest and northern New England into early next week.

Blizzard warnings have already been issued by the National Weather Service in parts of western and central South Dakota, much of central and western Nebraska, northeastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas. Communities in this warning can expect impossible driving conditions including whiteout conditions and gusty winds. Cities in this warning include Pierre, South Dakota and Valentine and North Platte, Nebraska.

Winter storm warnings extend from parts of Washington state to the Dakotas.
Difficult driving conditions can be effected in these warnings, including periods of blowing and drifting snow, gusty winds and downed tree limbs through Friday.

Winter storm watches extend into the Upper Midwest, including the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and parts of northern Michigan. Communities in this watch may see difficult driving conditions including periods of blowing and drifting snow, gusty winds and downed tree limbs Friday night into Saturday.

So winter in April. Blizzards in Springtime. Yeah, global warming must be the cause for so much cold… /sarc;

But I’m sure it’s just some local little weather odd thing…. NOT!

Timing the Snow


Snow will expand eastward into the northern Rockies and northern Plains while continuing in the Cascades and far northern Sierra.
Thursday night, a band of snow is expected to reach eastward into the Upper Midwest potentially as far east as central Minnesota and northern Michigan. Moderate to occasionally heavy snow will persist in the northern and central Rockies and in the northern Plains.
Blizzard conditions may develop as soon as Thursday night from northeastern Wyoming into western South Dakota.
Winds will be very gusty across the entire western half of the country, with the highest wind gusts expected from Wyoming and eastern Montana southward into the Four Corners region. Some gusts could exceed 60 mph well south of where snow is expected. Sustained winds will likely be in the 30-40 mph range during much of the day.


Xanto will bring snow and strong winds to parts of the northern and central Rockies into the Dakotas, western and central Nebraska, northern Minnesota, far northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Blizzard conditions are possible in western South Dakota, western Nebraska, and northeastern Colorado. Near-blizzard conditions are possible in eastern Wyoming.
Precipitation will transition from rain to snow during the day from west to east across southeastern South Dakota, Nebraska and northern Kansas.
Snow will be heavy and wet and could be hazardous to shovel even without considering winds.
Friday night, snow will be heaviest from Nebraska and central and eastern South Dakota eastward into central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan. A band of snow or a mix will extend eastward from southern Minnesota through the central Great Lakes.
Minor accumulations of ice are possible from southern Minnesota eastward to northern and central Wisconsin and northern Michigan late Friday into Friday night.


Snow, heavy at times, accompanied by strong winds will continue from eastern South Dakota and eastern Nebraska into parts of the upper Mississippi Valley and the northern Great Lakes.
A mix of rain-and-snow is likely somewhere in the central Great Lakes with rain for much of the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes.
Some freezing rain is likely to bring accumulations of ice to parts of southern Minnesota, central or southern Wisconsin and central Michigan.
A band of sleet, freezing rain, or snow will also spread into parts of central and upstate New York and northern New England.

Other than everything from the Pacific Cascades to New York, nothing much. You folks in Texas and Florida don’t need to worry about this one…

How Much Snow?


Snowfall amounts will likely push a foot in the Cascades, Washington’s Olympic Mountains, and the higher peaks of the northern Rockies.

Parts of South Dakota and Nebraska are also expected to pick up over a foot of snow.

While amounts in other parts of the High Plains may not reach a foot, the combination of snow plus high winds will lead to dangerous whiteout conditions, at times. The weight of snow coupled with high winds may lead to some tree damage and power outages, as well.

Upper Midwest, Northeast

At least 6 inches of new snow is likely across a swath of western and central Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
This could include the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

Parts of this zone may see over a foot of snow, particularly from northeast Wisconsin into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Michigan.

At least some accumulating snow is expected as far south as northern Kansas, Iowa, and southern Wisconsin.

Accumulating snow is also expected from the Appalachians to parts of western, central and northern upstate New York and northern New England. Some of the higher peaks of the Adirondacks and northern New England could pick up over 6 inches of snow through early next week.

Welcome to Spring… make sure your snow shoes are warmed indoors and you have your cooking and warming gear cleaned up and in good working order. Don’t take your snow tires off the car just yet.

But Wait! There’s More!

Ice Potential

Not typically something you see often in mid-April, accumulating ice, mainly in trees, powerlines, and other elevated surfaces, is possible from parts of Wisconsin to Maine.

Some of those accumulations across northern Lower Michigan, upstate New York, northern Vermont, northern New Hampshire and northern Maine may be enough to lead to some tree damage and power outages, especially considering strong winds would only add to the stress on trees and powerlines.

So where’s the Warming we were promised? It is my opinion that anyone and everyone who planned on the warmth ought to be reimbursed for their heating and repair bills by the folks who made the warm predictions. THEY said it was going to be hot. Well, put up or shut up. Give us our warmth, or hand over the cash to run the heaters. They made a contract with us, it’s time to deliver the warmth goods.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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19 Responses to Not Warm Yet – Will Spring Come Someday?

  1. philjourdan says:

    While above freezing, all the precipitation this past Monday fell as snow. Last Saturday as well. Then we get a few days in the 70s and 80s before it dives back to the 30s. At least we are not getting 20s now.

    Spring is a long time in coming this year.

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    We will be getting a 30% chance of snow on Friday morning as well here in the Denver Metro area. Only had a couple days in the high 60’s and low 70’s so far this spring, and those have been dry and windy.

  3. ossqss says:

    This fellow does very well, but is sometimes cranky!

    Twitter feed

  4. tom0mason says:

    How are the wind and solar subsidy farms standing up to the weather onslaught? I’ve search for latest news but so far only reports from February and March are found.
    Here’s one from March

  5. John F. Hultquist says:

    Anyone interested in weather should have a look at “Variance and Standard Deviation.”
    From: Math is Fun

    Point is, slowly progressing cold springs are not unprecedented.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    Not unprecedented, but not what the Warmistas predicted either ;-)

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    Today was a nice day after yesterday’s showers and last night’s heavy rain and hail. Merely light sleet showers to ignore while weeding. Plants are budding out and blooming as they in a hurry, nearly 2 weeks late for some of them. I would say that the North Valley is about 2 weeks later than warmer springs and no breaks yet as it is supposed to be colder for the next week. As much as 20 degrees F colder then normal for this time of the year, Nearly freezing on some nights for this next week. Snow 2 to 4000feet elevation. For the middle of April! Oak trees are leafing out. Dogwoods are in bloom. I guess they can’t wait any longer…pg

  8. cdquarles says:

    Plant budding is a threshold phenomenon with two main variables. 1. Daylight length as determined by blue light absorbing pigments and 2. Soil temperatures. Soil moisture and air temperatures (local to the plants) are lesser factors.

    Thus we see things that happened here this year (and every few years, both previously and subsequently). The cherry trees bloomed in late February (Winter) as they almost always do. Rarely will they bloom in mid-February and rarely in early March. Then the cold followed the two week or so thaw and the blooms were killed. A big cold snap about 10 years ago happened in mid-April and killed a few trees.

    Winter weather, where I am, is the most variable. As winter transitions into spring, the volatility decreases, but is still present into late May (recalls 1974, when a big mid-March thaw was followed by a major tornado outbreak, a deadly one, in early April, followed by big swings through May and a big cold nap before Memorial Day … I walked to school that morning with high winds and temps 34F). It didn’t stay warm until June rolled in. As spring transitions into summer, the variability reaches its low point, continuing as summer transitions into autumn. The volatility then increases as autumn transitions into winter. Summarized, we have three seasons: rainy, summer and dry.

  9. beng135 says:

    One good thing about the cold here in west MD is that nothing is coming out other than daffodils, cold-season grass, etc, and so the chance/effect of cold nipping emerging plants is lessened.

  10. Bruce Ryan says:

    I was in Scottsdale yesterday running some errands with my girlfriend. It was a cool day for Scottsdale, somewhere in the late 70’s. The flowers were in bloom and the wind was blowing, most comfortable and pleasant. I imagine it will be towards 100 in a few days down there. Add a mister and a drink in hand and it’s still awfully nice.But wait for the real summer to arrive and its a chore to get out to your car in a parking lot. Thankfully I’m abiding in Prescott which hangs out at 5000 ft elevation, the big bugaboo being the brightness of the sun.
    I don’t know what I’m getting at, there is no correlation in my narrative with the cold of the upper midwest, the incessant rain of the coastal pacific northwest, no, the only point is I hope you are enjoying the weather you have wherever you are. Some days are heaven, some days just are.

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    There’s actually a couple of things from your comment that are worth “getting at”.

    1) The “loopy” jet stream tends to make it hot where the hot equatorial air is running to the poles to dump heat; and colder where the cold arctic air is running back to pick up more heat to dump. Watch the meridional loops to choose your “climate”. CO2 and “averages” irrelevant and wrong idea.

    2) Temperature IS a function of atmospheric density, to some extent. Folks all over the planet choose their “climate” by choosing their altitude. (Well understood in Ecuador, BTW)

    3) WARM is GOOD! The BBQ, the pool, the drink in hand. Some people work 50 weeks in the hope of having just one week of that to enjoy… Do not fear the warmth.

    FWIW, I was in Phoenix on that summer day when they shut down the airport due to the tarmac starting to melt in the sun. Something like 125 F officially and 129 F at the airport and far hotter on the tarmac. Yes, it was unpleasant in the car as the AC was just not good enough (Mercedes has had a problem that way… they need to send their AC guy to Phoenix in August for a month…)

    Yet, back at the hotel, in the pool, it was glorious.

    Only downside was we had to get into the hot tub to cool off. They had strips of black tile on the bottom of the pool to keep it warm with free solar heat. That summer, that time of year, it was 114 F and while cooler than the air, was more like a bathtub. We’d dunk, then haul out to evaporatiivly cool. The Hot Tub, by law, could not exceed 105 F and had no “solar assist”… so we would get in the hot tub for a cool dunk, and do the warm plunge into the pool… (Shade and beer after either was just glorious… and in the mornings it was better, but we were coming back from driving around at noon on That Day and even though 2 to 3 PM was about as hot as it could get, the pool was calling us. The evaporative cooling worked a champ and the “bathtub warm” was actually pleasant.)

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    Per Cherries and bloom loss:

    This tends to be thought of as a bad thing, and for us it is. But pondering it, from the POV of the tree…

    When a climate shift is underway, new seedlings would be very prone to frost kill and damage. The tree puts out a lot of energy to make all that fruit and seeds, and is facing “variable times” perhaps headed into “bad times”. Having a “loss of crop” then, for the tree, means energy conserved until conditions stabilize more (and it can set seed at a more beneficial time) and not wasting baby trees finding themselves sprouting in adverse conditions.

    So from the POV of the multi-season long lived trees, this could very well be a good thing to do. Make seeds and fruit when things warm “on time”; don’t when it’s dodgy.

  13. Larry Ledwick says:

    This item from twitter:
    AFP news agency
    28 minutes ago
    Italy, France and Spain saw a historic drop in wine production triggered by unusually long winters.

    Makes you wonder if the wine crops are a leading indicator for general climate cooling?

  14. E.M.Smith says:


    I saw that same story on Reuters. You “scooped” me ;-) I was thinking it might make an interesting article… Plenty of more fish so no worries…

    Plants are GREAT climate indicators. They don’t lie. Each plant has very specific things it needs. Know your plants, you know your climate. (For example, the regular tomato needs 50 F or more for 3 nights in a row for pollen to spout, and fertilize. Cold nights, no tomatoes. There are some Russian tomatoes selected for a lower temp, about 40 F to 45 F, and I’ve grown some of these Crimean tomatoes (due to cold evenings here..)

    For grapes, it is an even more interesting indicator. You get more sugar with higher temperatures, but less tannins. Lower temperature give more tannin so a better bottle age, but lower sugar. Some varieties, like Zinfandel or Cabernet, really need warmth to make a good bottle, but not too much or the flavors are thin. Others, like German Rieslings, are very crisp, acid and sharp from the lower temperatures, but only enough sugar to make a 9% alcohol wine…

    The upshot is that you can know roughly the average temperature ( % alcohol ) and the peak (loss of acids / too much acids) along with some other details; just from the label and the taste. German ice wines, for example, require the grapes to be picked ripe but frozen…

    So not only is the loss of ( something like 20% of grapes) a big clue (from a “late spring”, BTW) but we’ll get even more clue as the 2017 / 2018 vintages hit the shelves. A bunch of 11% Cabernet will tell you it was very cold the whole season. Wines described as “spicy” and “tart” will further inform not that many hot individual days. (As, to a lesser extent, does “Lots of fruit character”. Admonitions that it will need “Lots of bottle age” to “fully develop” means “full of tannins from a cold season”. Also watch for a flood of “Ice Wine” from Germany… Some warm years, nearly none. Cold years, lots more.

    I’d not call it an “early indicator” but more a “contemporaneous indicator”. It is almost exactly the same as the “Degree-Days” metric developed to predict such crop growth issues, but without the human intervention / “dick with factor”… Doing A / B of the “degree day” maps and the wine testimony will tell you how accurate vs diddled those maps have become.

    Also, start watching for citrus juice prices and amount of “smudging” needed. In cold years, freeze losses drive citrus juice up a LOT and you get frantic calls for folks to work middle of the night setting out “smudge pots” (kerosene or Diesel burners) in the orchards (IF the government hasn’t banned them too…)

    As Germany / Northern France is only just warm enough for some grapes, that area will be very sensitive to changes at the margin. Spain ought to be less impacted, but I think they have planted a lot of heat loving varieties, so got whacked anyway. Plus, IIRC, the water wasn’t quite as much as expected. (Spain makes more wine that France, BTW… Exploring Spanish and Portuguese wines is a real treat!)

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Since this ties in here with the cold in Europe, as usual Joe’s maps are interesting.
    (this is a cross post from WOOD post from the other day but fits better here in context with the above) EM you might want to grab screen shots of his maps for future reference.

    Interesting item on weather bell from Joe Bastardi
    This April is the third coolest April so far in the satellite era behind 1983, and 1997
    He makes some interesting observations about the impacts of moisture and off shore sea temps in the eastern Pacific.
    (go to the Saturday summary from one day ago video clip scroll down)

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    And now we see the beginning of the Climatology scientific community starting to slowly dial back their dire predictions of global warming and shift the threat to some other aspect of our weather and physical processes (shift from warming to higher wave height in this case).

    Honest you still need to worry but after intense study we have discovered new information that shows we need to worry about other things than we first thought – – honest – – – trust me!
    We just need a little more money and time (and a bigger computer) to figure out the ocean dynamics behind these higher wave heights and how bad they will damage coastal areas.

    Really this time we know exactly what to study to pin this all down. We are from the Government and we are here to help – – – – – and help – – – – – – and keep helping – – – –

  17. Maybe worth noting that there are a lot of things winemakers do to fix the problems due to non-optimal weather. Round here (SW France) I see a lot of tankers full of grape-sugar from Spain after harvest, as the must is chaptalised to achieve the desired alcohol level. Natural levels here would be around the 10-11% alcohol, yet almost all bottles are 12% with only the local wines for local people (fill your own containers) varying each year. There are also machines available to remove water from the must by either freezing it out or by reverse osmosis, and excess tartness is treated by adding Calcium Carbonate. Not enough acid can also be treated by adding Tartaric Acid. I expect the cheap wines have quite a few adjustments of their chemistry to achieve a standard quality as far as possible. Data on those adjustments is collected by the government on the forms for notification of harvest, but may not be easily available to peons.

    The main indicator of the year’s weather will thus more likely be in the quantity produced rather than the alcohol content or tannin/acid content, unless you look only at the “bio” wines. Even there, there are some sneaky ways to avoid having to mention the chemistry changes. For example, a too-acid wine (from not enough sun) can be fermented in a cuve that has been freshly-coated inside with a lime-based render. AFAIK concentration of the must is still allowed to increase sugar levels after a poor harvest, but then that also implies some pH adjustments too.

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    Yes, they do all that. But at least here in California it isn’t so much. (Partly as our weather is quite reliably near ideal).


    Yes, great fun to watch them try ti figure out what “spin” might work this time…

    Reminds me of that proto-squirrel in the cartoon “Ice Age”: He knows he’s screwed it this time, and the Bad Thing is slowly catching up, as he scrambles to avoid it, but just can’t let go of that nut…

  19. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yep Scrat is one of my all time favorite cartoon characters – sort of a modern (prehistoric) Wyle Coyote.
    Scrat gone nutty

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