John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms. John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold. When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading. John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.
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This week has been designated Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week in North Dakota. The focus today is on summer heat waves. It is difficult to imagine hot weather during a week of cold spring weather, but spring will come back eventually and will be followed surely by some semblance of summer.
This week has been designated Severe Summer Weather Awareness Week in North Dakota. It is an excellent opportunity to set up your designated shelter and develop your household plan in the event of a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning. This plan should include a safe place to go to in the event of a bad storm, usually in the basement, under the stairs or a steady table. Keep old bike helmets there to wear just in case and old shoes are a good idea in case there is storm damage and you have to run there in your bare feet.
A few scattered thundershowers Friday night was not enough to change the fact that this has been a dry spring so far. Soils have been dry due to the lack of winter snow meltwater and an absence of general rain so far. But this is actually quite common and probably preferably to a very wet April. Soggy fields would delay planting, and generous rain is far more likely in late April and May as opposed to March and early April.
This summer, on Aug. 21, an eclipse of the sun will be visible across the United States. The total eclipse will be visible only in a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina. The shadow of totality crosses central Wyoming before swiping across Nebraska into Missouri in a grand arc from west to southeast. Here in Fargo-Moorhead, the sun will be 80 percent obscured, which will create an eerie, thin light at about 1 p.m.
The lack of snow this spring is remarkable. Only 1.6 inches of snow has fallen since March 1. This is the ninth-least amount of snow to fall in spring in Fargo-Moorhead on record. The least amount was a trace in 2010, and that remains the only spring since 1886 to go without any measureable snow. The record for the most snowfall after March 1 is 33.6 inches in 1997. In second place is 31.3 inches in 2013. In third place is 29.6 inches in 1904. Fourth and fifth places are held by the springs in 2009 (28.3 inches) and 2008 (28.1 inches).
The last measurable snow to fall on Fargo-Moorhead was the 1.5 inches March 12. The only other snow since the start of March was a tenth of an inch on March 1. No snow has fallen so far in April, so total snow since March 1 is 1.6 inches. Going back to 1886, there are only nine spring seasons with less snow than we have received so far this spring. There is only one year on record without any measurable snow after March 1, and that was in 2010. However, there are eight other spring seasons with less than an inch and a half.
If someone asks about April weather, what would you think of? A lot happens around here during April, weather-wise. It is the month when trees leaf out and when grass turns green. We usually experience our first 70 degree day of the spring in April. Most years, we get our final few flakes of snow as well.
The average date of the first 70 degree temperature of the year in Fargo-Moorhead is April 18. It came 10 days early this year. Last year it happened March 29. Two years ago, in 2015, the record earliest 70 degree day happened on March 15.
Although there has been some flooding near the Canadian border, the lack of snow has again kept rivers mostly within their banks this spring. This is remarkable considering that serious spring flooding recently seemed to be an almost annual event.
(WDAY-TV / WDAZ-TV) The good news is that travel conditions should be fairly good through Christmas Eve. The bad news, for travelers anyway, is that a combination of snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, and strong winds could make moving around very difficult by sometime Christmas Day into Monday.