Melty, snowy, rainy, slushy -- any way you wear it, a wet weather week


The Minnesota meltdown is underway.

Thankfully, this one does not involve the nervous system or a nuclear reactor. It's just the gradual dissolution of a winter's worth of woe.

Temperatures cracked the 50-degree mark over almost all of Minnesota on Monday. The Duluth News Tribune reports it had been 114 days – nearly four months – since the Twin Ports had last seen 50 degrees.

Cooler weather that's moving in overnight will slow the snowmelt but will bring new moisture Tuesday morning. Forecasters expect a mixture of rain and snow to pass through central and southern Minnesota, possibly leaving an inch or two of wet snow or slush by mid-day Tuesday.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for central and southern counties through noon.

As for Monday's balmy temperatures, they produced minor street flooding in the Twin Cities, where crews were working to get storm sewer drains clear of ice and snow to handle the runoff. A Minneapolis official tells MPR the city was fielding 40 to 50 calls per hour from residents reporting flooded intersections or alleys.

FOX 9 reports the city had identified 220 intersections where catch basins needed clearing. FOX says Minneapolis had eight crews deployed and each can clear 20 to 30 intersections per day.

The outlook for the rest of the week shows a respite in the runoff. Forecasters says temperatures will be nearly steady in the 30s in the Twin Cities on Tuesday and won't climb out of the 20s on Wednesday. Fear not, though, the wintry break is a brief one and highs should climb back into the 40s for Thursday and Friday.

Considering the big snowpack that accumulated this winter, the spring flooding outlook is not too bad. Last week's projection from the Weather Service called for only moderate flooding even in the Red River Valley.

In addition to all the snow that's going away, there's also a lot of lake ice nature needs to dispose of. That's especially true on the biggest lake of all. The News Tribune offered video over the weekend of the ice that's piling up on the shores of Lake Superior.

For the first time in two decades the lake was nearly covered with ice this winter. That will make it a challenge for the Coast Guard to clear a path for the shipping that's scheduled to resume next week. The first cutter of the season ventured out last week and a Coast Guard official tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's dealing with ice that is up to three feet thick on the Duluth side of the harbor and 42 inches thick on the Superior side.

Last year many Minnesota lakes weren't clear of ice until it was nearly summer. Mille Lacs Lake put on a particularly memorable show with an ice-out that featured a miniature glacier rolling right up to the doorsteps of lakeside homes.

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