Cool front working south through Minnesota today
40s today and Friday in southern Minnesota, 30s north
41 average high for the metro today
+1.3F so far in November for temps the metro
0.2" snowfall so far in November at MSP Airport
-4.16" rainfall deficit at MSP since September 1st as drought continues
Auroras dazzle Northern lights from Dakotas to Norway this week
Iffy Thanksgiving weekend forecast - models all over the map on temps rain and... yes...snow
A weak cool front (read average front) is sliding south today. As winds shift to the northwest, cooler breezes will blow as slightly more wintery air oozes south from snow covered Canada.
Temps will hover near average later today and Friday, with 30s in northern Minnesota and 40s in the south.
Just in case you've lost track of averages this time of year, the average high at MSP Airport is now 41 and the average low is 27 degrees.
50s return this weekend:
Winds will turn southerly again this weekend. Sunshine, bare ground and southerly breezes from snow free territory in Iowa will help boost temps into the 50s again in southern Minnesota.
This will be a great weekend to get the last of the fall yard chores done.
One thing the models agree on, a surge of even milder air will push north through next Tuesday, with highs pushing well into the 50s...and 60 degrees possible next Tuesday or Wednesday.
It appears at this point that travel conditions will be excellent leading up to Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Weekend forecast: Weather crystal ball still a little murky
Just when you thought it was safe.
The weather models are doing they typical "late November tango" when it comes to next weekend.
The ECMWF (Euro) & GFS agree on a warm push early next week, and then begin to diverge on solutions for Thanksgiving weekend.
The latest versions appear to support slightly cooler (but still above average) temps on Thanksgiving Day in the upper 40s to near 50 degrees with mainly dry conditions.
Black Friday is where things could begin to get dicey.
The GFS is back to the notion of low pressure spinning up and pushing first rain...then possibly snow into Minnesota by late on Black Friday into Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend...with a shot of cold air by Sunday.
This will probably take a few more days to iron out....
Aurora show this week:
It's been a good week for northern lights.
Auroras dazzled both Tuesday night in parts of the Upper Midwest. The show was visible from the Dakotas to Vermont, and as far south as Kansas according to spaceweather.com.
Douglas Kiesling shot this impressive display near Wheaton, MN.
The best displays came from Norway.
The sun has been active this year as we approach the peak of "Solar Cycle 24."
There have been 0 "spotless days" in 2012. Compare that to 260 days (71%) without earthward facing sunspots in 2009 during the deepest solar minimum in a century.
Right now half a dozen sunspots are facing earth, and some are crackling with flares. NOAA predicts a 40% chance of more flares that could trigger northern lights in the coming days.
Keep an eye on the late evening sky!
Posted at 5:36 PM on November 15, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Winter 2012-13
Cold bias NOAA's updated outlook for winter temps in the Upper Midwest
"Equal Chances" for a wet or dry winter
"PDO" Negative phase of Pacific Decadal Oscillation cited in NOAA's outlook
"El Nono" Lack of clear El Nino signal cited
Uncharted & Unfrozen Waters How will record Arctic Sea ice loss factor in?
Trump card? Will longer term trend of milder winters trump iffy CPC outlooks?
Model squirm GFS all over the map on Thanksgiving forecast
4th tornado confirmed from Saturday night's "outbreak"
NOAA updates winter outlook:
We've rounded the corner and we're heading into the home stretch for winter 2012-'13.
NOAA updated the winter outlook Thursday, and it's a fairly radical departure from previous forecasts issued within the past month.
The latest outlook favors colder than average temps for metrological winter (Dec-Feb) 2012-'13 for the Upper Midwest.
The precipitation outlook calls for equal chances for a wet or dry season.
What they say:
NOAA cites the lack of any clear ENSO signal, and the presence of a negative PDO phase as the reasons for a cold bias in the upper Miswest this winter.
AREAS HIGHLIGHTED FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE NORTH CENTRAL CONUS AND ALASKA ARE CONSISTENT WITH NEGATIVE PDO PHASE COMPOSITES. THE LACK OF A STRONG ENSO SIGNAL, ALWAYS-PRESENT UNCERTAINTY IN THE PHASE AND PERSISTENCE OF THE AO OVER THE ENTIRE WINTER SEASON, CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCES IN DYNAMICAL CLIMATE MODEL OUTPUT MAKE EC OR EQUAL CHANCES FOR ABOVE-, NEAR- OR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES THE APPROPRIATE CHOICE FOR MUCH OF THE EASTERN U.S..
These guys are really good, but I'm not inclined to agree with NOAA's outlook.
El Nino "head fake:"
After El Nino's unprecedented head fake late this summer, we're in more uncharted territory when it comes to the possible effects on winter circulation patterns over North America.
Tropical Pacific SST's have actually warmed lately, and a bubble of slightly warmer than average water is still present in the tropical Pacific.
There is still a decent chance that a weak or moderate El Nino could brew up this winter. If that happens, the bias will be for a milder than average winter in the Upper Midwest.
-Longer term trends - background hum of climate change in Minnesota:
Minnesota is near the epicenter of observed warming in North America when it comes to longer term climate trends. This is especially true in winter. Winter temps in Minnesota show a consistent warming signal as much as 4 to 6 degrees F, especially at night.
It's going to take the mother of all negative phase PDO's to overcome that.
-Record Arctic Sea ice melt and recovery
Last summer's record Arctic ice melt is a total wildcard in this winte's forecast. Ice has reformed at an impressive rate this fall, but still lags behind the record low year of 2007.
The fact is, nobody really knows how the extra Arctic Ocean heat content this fall will affect jet stream patterns this winter.
These factors and just a gut feel look at the maps these days leads me to favor my previous forecast fo a milder than average winter in Minnesota, with temps running +1F to +3F for winter as a whole.
But in the dicey game that is seasonal outlooks, your guess may be as good as mine this winter.
Thanksgiving Forecast: Mild or wild?
The soap opera surrounding the weather pattern next weekend continues.
The latest GFS runs have flipped back to the milder solution for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, with rain ending as a few flakes and a colder shot for the second half of the weekend.
I still think we have a good shot at 60+ degrees leading up to Thanksgiving, with at least 50s on Turkey Day. Codler winds are likely for Saturday & Sunday.