KMSP - The typical El Nino pattern is finally back. After a hiatus through much of February, California is set to get copious amounts of moisture through the next several days which could spell more drought relief for that part of the country. But, it’s actually these storms that will be directly responsible for the warm up in Minnesota.
The image above is a satellite and radar composite from Friday evening. This shows the overall pattern of the atmosphere in the Pacific. A HUGE mid and upper level low spinning about in the Gulf of Alaska with smaller storms rotating around it. It’s this trough, as they are typically called, that is forcing the jet stream southward which is the blue arrowed line. The green arrows indicate the location of the Pineapple Express… the river of moisture that can flow out of the tropics and into the mid-latitudes. This will bring substantial moisture to the West Coast of the U.S. but with the HUGE trough in place, the river of moisture is further south and setting its sights on California. Well, all of this is great, but what does it have to do with Minnesota? Well, because of the trough, the jet stream and Pineapple express are pulled southward which creates a kink. Well that kink creates a ridge into the central U.S. which allows much warmer air to flow out of the Desert Southwest and into the Plains… and with southerly winds grabbing hold of the central US, it shoots that warmer air all the way into Minnesota. Kinda neat huh?
As for California, its been a pretty disappointing El Nino season so far. While many spots in the state are pretty close to normal, it’s El Nino years that can bring hefty rain and snow which would put a drastic dent in the drought. While improvement has been made since the fall, not nearly as much as many people were hoping… however, that may change in the coming weeks as our pattern shifts back to a more active state. Just look at the amount of rain and snow expected across the West and California just through Monday…
Far more is likely through the rest of next week, and if the longer range holds true, much of March could be VERY wet for the state.