Winds will ease slowly through the day after the state was buffetted by northwest winds gusting as high as 50 mph on Sunday. A wind gust of 54 mph was observed at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with a gust to 51 mph at St. Cloud yesterday afternoon.
Temperatures this morning were chilly but still above normal for the season. Sub zero wind chill readings were reported as brisk winds remained as high as 30 mph.
December was warmer than normal statewide and short on moisture. The Ice Box of the Nation, International Falls registered only five days below zero. Their average temperature for December was nine degrees above normal. At the Twin Cities International Airport, the coldest reading for December 2011 was 5 degrees above zero. The last day where the average temperature in the Metro was below normal was December 10th.
So far this winter season snowfall has totaled less than an inch in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and only about five inches in Fargo, North Dakota.
A tier of Minnesota counties near the Iowa border tallied normal precipitation for December. Moisture from the New Years Eve weather system was on the order of a quarter to a third of an inch around the Twin Cities metro.
It will be chilly today and cold overnight, but a moderation in temperatures is seen for Wednesday and Thursday. Highs are expected to reach into the lower 40s again on Thursday and Friday.
The Climate Prediction Center issued an updated outlook for the month of January. Here's the graphic issued December 31st for temperatures.
Precipitation outlook for January 2012 from Climate Prediction Center.
Snapshot of this week's weather from the NWS in Chanhassen, MN.
I think it is time for a little reminder about the normal temperatures this time of year in MInnesota. The thirty year average places the range of the highs from around 14 in the north to 25 in the south. Lows are typically below zero in the Arrowhead and single digits around the Twin Cities.
If we drop to ten degrees by midnight, today will be the first day since December 10th where the daily temperature falls short of average in the Twin Cities. Expect winds to be nearly calm and temperatures to dive this evening over eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Teens below zero are in the offing for northeast Minnesota.
Overnight, a push of milder air over the very sparse snowcover in Dakotas will likely hold temperatures steady after 2am in western Minnesota. Southwest winds are expected to increase later tonight from Fergus Falls to Montevideo.
Here's the outlook map from the Climate Prediction that was issued last week for the middle of this week. Remember the large swatch of the Continental USA favored with above normal temperatures?
Now here's a look at the national temperature map for Thursday morning. Recall the normal low in the Twin Cities is eight degrees. We may be closer to 28 degrees.
An intrusion of cooler air arrives for the upcoming weekend. Although the maximum temperature of 25 predicted for Sunday in the Twin Cities will be slightly better than posted thirty year average high of 23.
I captured this visible satellite image from mid day that depicts the snow cover. The river valleys and larger lakes stand out nicely. The Superior National Forecast mutes the four to six inch snow depth in the Arrowhead Region.
Have friends in Florida? They'll be looking at a low around freezing in Daytona on Tuesday morning and perhaps a couple degrees cooler on Wednesday morning.
How about this outlook from the CPC for early next week? I'll let Paul Huttner try and track down a snowstorm in our neck of the weeks.