Posted at 6:13 PM on January 17, 2013
by Paul Huttner
Alberta Clipper sails through Minnesota early Friday
Light snow likely from the metro north
Coating to 1"+ in the metro by early Friday AM
1" to 3" possible in central & northern Minnesota including St. Cloud, Brainerd, Iron Range, Duluth, International Falls, Ely & North Shore.
40F Friday? 40 possible in metro Friday as warmer air gushes in from snow free areas to the south
Flash Freeze Saturday as season's coldest arctic front plows through
Deep Freeze Sunday as sub-zero temps invade Minnesota
Bottoming out at -17F by Monday morning in the metro? (Latest GFS output)
40+ hours below zero in the metro? (Sunday evening to Tuesday noon?)
Moderation next week temps in the 20s (above zero) by Thursday
Signs of snow?? Snow chances on the horizon next Thursday & again Sunday-Monday Jan 27th & 28th?
Lake-Effect Arctic blast will produce prolific "lake-effect" snows downwind from the Great Lakes this weekend
Charlie Brown Thaw:
It's almost like a cruel hoax.
Like when Charlie Brown tries to kick the football...and Lucy keeps pulling it out at the last second.
The mild air wins briefly Friday...almost as if to tease us with how spring could feel...beofre the advancing arctic front charges in Saturday to pull the rug swiftly and decisively out from under any sustained warm up.
Minnesota sits on the boundary of Pacific and Arctic air masses through Saturday.
To the south, temperatures reached the balmy 50F mark in eastern Nebraska Thursday with 40F into northwest Iowa. To the north, temps of -25F are lurking...just waiting to pounce on Minnesota this weekend.
Temps may make the 40F mark in the metro and I wouldn't be shocked to see a 50F reading along the Iowa border Friday PM.
Friday's incoming milder Pacific air is getting a few degrees of "enhanced warming" as sun warms bare ground over snow free areas of Nebraska and Iowa.
Enjoy Friday's thaw.
Weekend: Flash freeze to deep freeze
My wife Amber got on a plane today to Tucson. Good timing. She evacuated just in time to avoid what are likely the coldest days of this winter.
Saturday's arctic front looks to be the coldest in 4 years.
This will be one of those old fashioned, window rattling cold fronts. You'll know it when it arrives early Saturday up north...and Saturday PM & evening in the metro.
Flash Freeze: Saturday night's temp crash will be dramatic. Depending on which model solution you choose, temps will fall from near 30F at noon Saturday... to around -5F by early Sunday AM.
Bottoming Out: Again, it's a choice of model perspective.
I have little doubt temps will reach -30F in parts northern Minnesota by Monday morning.
My best read on the magnitude of this arctic shot is the Twin Cities looks to bottom out Sunday, Monday & Tuesday morning somewhere between -10F and -18F.
Twin Cities suburbs like Lakeville and Waconia and Ham Lake will likely see -20F or colder. With our changing climate and urbanization, it's getting increasingly hard for the inner metro core to reach -20F.
Wind will be a factor, especially Sunday. With sub zero temps; any breeze can drive wind chills into the danger zone.
-45F wind chill in Grand Forks and -42F in most of northern Minnesota? That's not just respectable...but dangerous chill levels. We're used to cold around these parts...but late Saturday night through Wednesday will be one of the few periods in Minnesota where we can truly call the weather "life-threatening" if you're caught outside for any prolonged period.
"Black Ice" (water vapor from car exhaust freezing instantly on roads) may work it's way back into our winter weather lexicon , and could be a factor for our Monday AM commute.
Boy Scout motto on this one...."Be Prepared."
It looks like the cold wave will ease starting next Wednesday. Temps should recover into the 20s by Thursday.
There are signs that a low pressure system may develop Thursday and bring some snow to Minnesota.
How much? Way too early to say...but it looks like the first decent chance of something "plowable" in quite some time.
The models seem to be hinting at another potential system Sunday & Monday January 27th & 28th.
The "snow drought" this year is not as deep as last winter, and it has to snow sooner or later.
Lake-Effect Snow Machine Kicks In:
One amazing aspect of these bitter arctic outbreaks is the prolific lake-effect snow totals that are generated downwind from the Great lakes.
Check out Thursday's NASA MODIS Terra image looking at Lake Superior. You can clearly see the distinct plumes of lake effect snow rolling downwind into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Amazingly....you can even see some lake-effect snow plumes generated from Lake Nippigon!
As colder air blows over relatively warm waters, heat and energy are released into the bitter air above...and wrung out in these intense, focused lake-effect snow bands.
Check out the forecast for some prolific, 1 to 2 foot snowfall totals in the next 5 days.
Want really deep snow? Book a vacation to northern Wisconsin or Michigan's U.P. in the lake-effect Snow Belt after this arctic outbreak.