Posted at 9:48 AM on November 20, 2010
by Mark Seeley
Saturday morning, November 20th brought the coldest temperatures to the state of Minnesota since last March 2nd. Many observers reported lows in the single digits, though it appears below zero F readings were not reported. Some of the coldest places included:
Roseau and Warroad 1 degrees F
Fosston and Grand Marais 5 degrees F
Crookston and Park Rapids 6 degrees F
Thief River Falls, Wadena, and Hallock 7 degrees F
Floodwood, Embarrass, Crane Lake, Bemidji, and Detroit Lakes 9 degrees F
Duluth Airport 10 degrees F
These temperatures and those forecasted for next week (more single digit lows) will accelerate soil and lake freezing around the state. So get out and mulch the garden if you have been waiting for the soils to freeze up.
Update: 1:45pm Sunday:
Temperatures have warmed above freezing as expected in the metro, but remain just below freezing north and west.
The freezing rain advisory has been extended this afternoon northwest of the Twin Cities.
Use extreme caution walking and driving today, and we may get some refreeze tonight into Monday morning as temps fall below freezing again.
This event shows just how vulnerable UNTREATED roadways and walkways are to ice events.
Even though this was a relatively minor icing accumulation (generally around .10" in most areas) the IMPACT was large because roadways were largely untreated. There was a good forecast of light snow and/or freezing rain going into Saturday night. Had the roads been simply pretreated they would have been wet instead of icy, and we would likely not have had nearly the number of accidents we saw in the past 24 hours.
Update 12:30am Sunday:
MNDOT and others reporting literally HUNDREDS of spinouts and accidents overnight into Sunday morning. Roads are just plain impassable in many areas. Untreated roads, driveways and sidewalks are glare ice!
Here are some storm reports form NWS spotters.
- 1 Se Maple Grove [Hennepin Co, MN] storm chaser reports FREEZING RAIN of E0.10 INCH at 11:10 PM CST -- 0.10 inch ice accumulation over past two hours. roads are ice covered and nearly impassable. multiple accidents and roll overs on 694 west bound in the maple grove area. 694/94 east bound is closed due to a multi car accident involving a semi truck.
-Victoria [Carver Co, MN] nws employee reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 10:46 PM CST -- significant glazing of roads. numerous cars either in ditch or unable to gain traction.
-Blaine [Anoka Co, MN] trained spotter reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 10:00 PM CST -- minor ice accumulation.
-Brooklyn Center [Hennepin Co, MN] storm chaser reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:25 PM CST -- glazing of roads.
- Victoria [Carver Co, MN] nws employee reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:25 PM CST -- significant glazing of roads. numerous cars either in ditch or unable to gain traction.
-Annandale [Wright Co, MN] law enforcement reports FREEZING RAIN of U0.00 INCH at 11:51 PM CST -- many vehicles leaving the roadway.
Conditions will improve by midday Sunday as temperures warm above freezing.
Roads in much of central Minnesota including the metro are like a skating rink late Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Freezing rain advisories are in effect through Sunday morning.
A band of freezing rain has coated everything, including sidewalks and power lines. The good news is accumulations will be on the lighter side, generally under .10" or so. That should not cause widespread power outages due to down trees or lines.
The bad news is it only takes .10" to form glaze ice on roadways and walkways. Be careful walking! Many ER visits during icing events are from people who fell while walking! Once roads are treated they will be better, but I personally observed several cars skidding and slipping uphill in the west metro Saturday evening. Roads are glaze ice in many areas.
MNDOT reports numerous accidents overnight.
Warmer temps Sunday:
The icing should last into Sunday morning, but warmer air will push temps above freezing by late Sunday morning, and that should help conditions improve as the ice begins to melt.
I'm still tracking a potentially major travel headache for Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Snow, wind and cold temps may create a travel nightmare Wednesday and Wednesday night into early Thanksgiving Day.
Right now Tuesday looks like the best travel day before Thanksgiving. Fortunately travel may improve (no big storms) Friday thorugh Sunday of next weekend. Plan accordingly.