Well, it is about time we tap into some colder air north of the border. Ten days into the new year and the temperatures are running close to 15 degrees above normal. According to climate statistics we are entering the coldest two weeks of the year. Daylight has already lengthened and Old Man Winter has to play some catch-up. That begins today.
Blustery winds will follow in the wake of the advancing cold front. The leading edge of much colder air is slicing through central Minnesota this morning with a band of mixed precipitation. Temperatures are headed down at most locations today. Winds and wind chill readings will be the weather story today and tonight.
Snow lovers will have to head into Wisconsin for winter recreation later this week. A couple inches of snow are possible overnight as close as LaCrosse and Eau Claire.
NOAA's forecast for the most likely area to receive four or more inches of snow on Thursday is shown here.
If your travel plans take you east on Thursday,you may have some delays headed into Milwaukee and Chicago, where a Winter Storm Watch hs been posted.
This plunge of modified arctic air is targeted for Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here's a look at the NAM temperature forecast for 6am Friday morning. Sub zero minimum readings are likely in northeast Minnesota.
The National Weather Service in Duluth shared this information about the mild January weather in their neck of the woods.
Snapshot of radar at 7am. The general movement has been southeast at 25 to 30 mph.
30 average # of days at or below zero in metro in winter
18 days at or below zero last winter
0 days at or below zero so far this winter
December 9th long term average date for season's first 0 degree temperature at MSP Airport
4 above Weather Lab forecast low temp for Friday morning at MSP
10.3" season snowfall so far at MSP Airport
25.7" average season snowfall to date at MSP
48" season snowfall by this date last winter
.28" liquid total GFS forecast precip for metro next 16 days (would be 2.8" snow at 10:1 ratio)
It took 2 months, but winter has finally arrived.
Last year "winter" began abruptly on November 13th with an 8.3" snowy dumping. One year ago streets were choked with snow drifts and parked cars thicker than mosquitoes in late June.
This year it took until January 11th for the artist formerly known as winter to return.
Our false spring is history, and the weather maps look like winter will finally stick around, more or less.
More like January::
The last two weeks of January look more like winter. Overall we'll see closer to average temperatures. Still there will be some temp swings from below to above average. As a range, it looks like we'll see highs alternating between the teens, 20s and 30s the next two weeks.
The gush of polar to arctic air masses will likely bring some sub zero overnight lows to northern & western Minnesota in the next two weeks. That's good for making some thicker (and more stable) ice on Minnesota lakes.
It appears the best shot at taking a run at zero in the metro will be early Friday morning. I'm forecasting about 4 above at MSP early Friday.
If we don't get there, we may dodge zero a few more days. That could put us at or past the record for the latest zero degree temp ever recorded at MSP.
The chances of getting through this winter witout hitting zero at MSP? In a normal year I'd say you're nuts. At this point I'd say 50/50.
Details from the MN Climate Working Group:
Latest First Below Zero Temperatures in the Twin Cities 1872-2012
"In 140 years of record keeping in the Twin Cities, the official temperature has always fallen below zero sometime during the winter. The latest being January 18th during the winters of 1888-89 and 2000-2001.
So far as of January 9, there has not been a below zero temperature recorded so far at the Twin Cities International Airport. There has never been a winter that has not dipped below zero at least twice in the Twin Cities. The latest into a season that a winter has gone without seeing a below zero temperature was in the winter of 1888-89 and 2000-2001 that lasted until January 18th without going below zero. So far the winter of 2011-2012 is in eighth place for the latest a winter has lasted without a below zero reading at the official Twin Cities recording station.
The long term average for the first below zero reading in the Twin Cities is December 9.
The winter of 2000-2001 only had two days with temperatures that reached below zero The Chanhassen National Weather Service has a tally of the lowest counts of below zero temperatures in past winters."
Twin Cities First Below Zero Temperature: 1872-2012 Winters
Rank Season First Below Zero
1) 1888-89 January 18
1) 2001-02 January 18
3) 1954-55 January 16
4) 1881-82 January 14
5) 2011-12 January 11 (so far)
5) 1913-14 January 11
5) 1974-75 January 11
5) 2002-03 January 11
9) 1877-78 January 4
10) 1969-70 January 2
No big snow in sight:
The colder air has returned, but overall the pattern does not look favorable for any big storms just yet.
As we say in the weather biz....stay tuned!