Great Lakes water levels have approached record lows in recent years. The massive ice cover prevents wintertime evaporation. Deep winter snow pack fuels massive spring runoff, and boosts water levels in the Great Lakes. Both factors will contribute to higher water levels in 2014.
"We'll make a run at 50 today in the metro for the first time in nearly four months," writes Paul Huttner on Updraft. "A milder start and plenty of sun will give us a good shot. The deep snow cover will be the limiting factor to just how warm we can get. Most of Minnesota is still living on a glacier."
The Pacific air mass overhead is plenty mild enough to support temps well into the 50s today in southwest Minnesota, with 70s again today in western Iowa and Nebraska.
The heaviest snow -- up to 10 inches -- can be expected from southeast Minnesota, the eastern Twin Cities and into northwest Wisconsin. And by daybreak on Saturday morning, wind chills will be well below zero.
Thursday's late winter storm is looking like the real deal. There are still track issues to be resolved on Wednesday's model runs, but what looks nearly certain is that eastern Minnesota into Wisconsin will get a major snow blitz with ferocious winds.
Winter storm warnings are out ahead of the next wave of snow due in late tonight and into Monday morning rush hour. More later today, but expect a snow laden Monday morning commute after a pleasantly quiet winter Sunday.
Some indicators early in winter pointed to a potential for a warming trend as we move into February. It does look slightly less Nordic in the next 2 weeks, but I don't see any huge warm ups in sight, yet.
Expect a very difficult commute in the Twin Cities metro with heavy snow falling, poor visibility and snow covered roads Thursday morning. If you must travel, plan on at least double commute times Thursday morning.
The next few days will test our ability to adapt to rapidly changing temperatures. Bursts of light snow will sail overhead, and by the time Sunday evening rolls around you may be shoveling another 2 to 4 inches off your front walk. It's the death of a thousand snowy cut this winter.
This will be one of those classic "Chamber of Commerce" Minnesota winter weekends. It just doesn't get any better than this weekend when it come to great outdoor winter weather in Minnesota.
Get ready for some major ups and downs on your thermometer in the next week. There are indications that after our balmy thaw early next week, another bitterly cold Polar Vortex may take a swipe at the Upper Midwest.
Our first Alberta Clipper of 2014 came in pretty much as scheduled today. Snowfall totals coming into the Twin Cities and other the National Weather Service offices confirm a wide area of 1.5″ to 3.5″ snowfall totals. Here's a quick look at some selected snowfall totals.
There are many benefits from increased ice cover on the Great Lakes. One benefit is that more ice cover means less evaporation and that can help sustain lake levels.
There is a very good chance we'll see a much earlier spring than last year.
The core of the coldest air will pass over Minnesota Monday. Wind chill warnings are in effect until noon Tuesday. Wind chills will range from -40 to -65. In the inner metro urban core, air temps will range from -20 to -27 Monday and Tuesday morning.
The strongest arctic front in nearly a decade descends on Minnesota this weekend. Sunday through Tuesday will probably be the coldest three days of winter in Minnesota.