-12F coldest temp at MSP Airport so far this winter on January 22nd
-10F to -16F likely low at MSP early Friday morning
Wind Chill Advisories include the metro until noon Friday
Wind Chill Warnings for western Minnesota and the Dakotas
Midler days ahead 30s possible by next week
Wetter days ahead? pattern change may increase snow chances last next week
Our narrative in Minnesota is that the cold is just no big deal.
We sleep in heated homes. Drive our (hopefully) heated cars to a heated workplace. Back home again to a cozy fireplace. Repeat.
Talk to an Arizonan about winter cold. When they shudder, remind them that they do the same thing in reverse from May to October when it's 100F+. AC home, AC car, AC office. Where's the pool?
It's all about climate control.
Our latest swipe from the Canadian Arctic is here. We can toss terms like "NWS revised wind chill" around until Friday.
The good news? This may be the "last coldest" air mass of the winter.
March...yes March and "Meteorological Spring" is a mere 29 days away.
If I close my eyes and daydream, I can almost feel that 1st mild March spring day... sitting in the sunshine on my front stoop as the last of the snow drips away and strange colorful birds start showing up in the yard.
Blame the "Arctic Oscillation:"
Say what? It sounds like a bad medical condition associated with cold & flu.
The "AO" is actually a good indicator of how cold it will get over parts of North America & Europe a week or two in advance. The Negative Phase AO brings cold incursions south into North America and Europe. The Positive AO tends to produce milder weather over Minnesota & much of the USA.
Here's a more detailed description from NOAA's "Arctic Theme Page."
The Arctic Oscillation (AO) appears to be the cause for much of the recent changes that have occurred in the Arctic. Its effects are not restricted just to the Arctic; it also represents an important source of variability for the Northern Hemisphere as a whole. The AO has been described as "a seesaw pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between positive and negative phases. The negative phase brings higher-than-normal pressure over the polar region and lower-than-normal pressure at about 45 degrees north latitude. The positive phase brings the opposite conditions, steering ocean storms farther north and bringing wetter weather to Alaska, Scotland and Scandinavia and drier conditions to areas such as California, Spain and the Middle East."(University of Washington)
The AO was strongly negative during last week's arctic outbreak....but should flip back to positive next week. That should allow some moderation in our temps.
Latest trends are unclear for the direction of the AO after next week. If it stays positive...expect a continuation of milder than average temps. If not...winter may hang tough this February.
Coldest night of winter?
The incoming arctic air mass peaks Thursday night into Friday morning. As high pressure settles overhead with calm air early Friday morning, temps will plunge.
We've hit -12F so far at MSP for the coldest this winter last Tuesday morning. The models are cranking out --11F (Euro) to -16F (NAM) to -20F (GFS) Friday morning for MSP.
At this point I'm leaning toward the Euro number of -11F...but the range could be anywhere from -10F to -14F at MSP and the inner urban core Friday morning.
We may fall just shy...or possibly take the "award" for the coldest morning of the winter Friday in the metro.
We warm into the 20s this weekend, and 30s still appear likely by next Wednesday & Thursday.
It's all uphill from here! (Or is it downhill?)
Signs of snow ahead?
This is still far enough out to be in the "wishful thinking" phase...but I see signs that out persistent northwest flow (cold & dry) may be transitioning into a southwest flow (milder & wetter) by late next week. NOAA's CPC supports the idea of a midler pattern emerging.
The GFS is flipping back and forth as usual...but seems to revisit a pattern that drives 2 significant rain/ice/snow events into the Upper Midwest in the next 2 weeks.
The 1st one seems slated for next Friday & Saturday February 8th & 9th. This one ahs Euro support as well...which lends more credence to the idea of significant snow.
The second chance is a deep storm along about February 12-13th. This one could have a deep Gulf of Mexico moisture tap...and that scenario could inject enough moisture to produce potentially heavy wet snows for Minnesota.
Of course all of this still falls under cautionary modifiers like "possibly" and "potentially" but the trends are encouraging...and fit with CPC's idea of a wetter pattern as we emerge into late winter in the Upper Midwest.
Weather toes and fingers crossed.
Posted at 6:00 PM on January 31, 2013
by Paul Huttner
Friday morning brings the coldest morning of the year to many Minnesota locations.
Today in Updraft we look at the perfect recipe for cold. What weather elements conspire to make a cold Minnesota winter night? Weekend Clippers may bring a few bouts of light snow. We preview RadarScope, a popular radar app for your smart phone.
-10 to -15F likely in the inner metro core Friday morning
-20F to -30F in northern & western Minnesota early Friday
Wind chill warnings & advisories until noon Friday
That's how comedian Lewis Black describes -20F in Minnesota in winter. He's got a point.
This is one of those times when weather is literally life threatening in Minnesota if you get caught outside for too long.
Wind chills Friday morning at 7am approach -30F in the metro, and -41F in Duluth and International Falls.
MinnArctica: Recipe for bitter cold
What elements make for the coldest night of the winter?
1) A bitter arctic air mass: Temps upstream hovered around -46F at Yellowknife in Canada's Northwest Territories Thursday morning.
2) Clear skies: What little heat there is radiates out to space with a "cloud blanket."
3) Light winds: With the "inner isobar" of arctic high pressure overahead, winds die off. That allows the atmosphere to "stratify" and the coldest air collects near the ground. It's counterintuitive, but breeze nights are actually warmer as wind mixes the air.
4) Snow cover: The "albedo" of fresh snow cover is perfect for reflecting sunlight that would heat the atmosphere during the day, and radiating back into space at night. Nights with fresh snow cover are easily 10F colder than nights without snow in winter.
Clipperville: Weekend snow chances
A series of weak Alberta Clippers will sail through this weekend in the northwest flow over Minnesota.
Best chances for up to an inch of snow?
Friday night & Saturday, Sunday night & Monday night.
RadarScope: Detailed radar imagery for the "weather enthusiast"
I'm throwing a few Smartphone weather apps your way now and then. I'm not selling here...or judging, I'll leave that up to you. Just informing on what I find that you might want to check out.
Here's RadarScope... a radar app that gets a lot of good reviews. This is more detailed doppler data for the serious user. Cost? $9.99
RadarScope is a specialized display utility for weather enthusiasts and meteorologists that allows you to view NEXRAD Level 3 radar data and severe weather warnings. It can display the latest reflectivity, velocity, and other radar products from any NEXRAD radar site in the United States and Puerto Rico, with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. These aren't smoothed PNG or GIF images, this is real Level 3 radar data rendered in its original radial format for a high level of detail.
Whether you are scanning reflectivity for a mesocyclone's tell-tale hook echo, trying to pinpoint the landfall of a hurricane's eye wall, or looking for small features like velocity couplets in the storm relative radial velocity product, RadarScope gives you the power to view true radial NEXRAD weather radar on your Android smartphone or tablet.
RadarScope displays tornado, severe thunderstorm, and flash flood warnings issued by the National Weather Service. When warnings are in effect, you can tap the warning button in the upper right corner to browse the list of active warnings, select a warning to view the details, and even zoom to the selected warning on the map.