In the wake of Thursday's record snowfall, the recipe was initiated for record cold. Light winds, clearing skies and a fresh deep snow cover allowed the mercury to tumble to record lows this morning.
Record minimums for April 20th
21 F- record at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
Old record 26 in 1888
16 F- record at S. Cloud
Old record 20 in 1897
8 F - Ties record at Duluth set in 1926
4 F- International Falls
Old record 18 in 1966*
Sub zero readings were common in northeast Minnesota.
...MORNING LOW TEMPERATURES FOR SATURDAY APRIL 20TH...
...LOCATION... ...TIME... ...MIN...
EMBARASS (ST. LOUIS MN) (COOP) 600 AM APR 20 -14 F
BABBIT (ST. LOUIS MN) (COOP) 700 AM APR 20 -11 F
ROBINSON (ST. LOUIS MN) (MNDOT) 553 AM APR 20 -9 F
5 E SEA GULL LAKE (COOK MN) (RAWS) 604 AM APR 20 -9 F
CRANE LAKE (ST. LOUIS MN) (AWOS) 552 AM APR 20 -9 F
ELY (ST. LOUIS MN) (1457 FT)(AWOS) 612 AM APR 20 -8 F
3 NNW COTTON (ST. LOUIS MN) (MNDOT) 629 AM APR 20 -7 F
5 S ELY (ST. LOUIS MN) (1455 FT)(RAWS) 604 AM APR 20 -7 F
SOUTH FORK KAWISHIWI RIVER (LAKE MN) 630 AM APR 20 -7 F
6 NW ASH LAKE (ST. LOUIS MN) (MNDOT) 614 AM APR 20 -6 F
COOK (ST. LOUIS MN) (1406 FT)(AWOS) 636 AM APR 20 -6 F
3 E ORR (ST. LOUIS MN) (COOP) 553 AM APR 20 -5 F
3 WNW TWIG (ST. LOUIS MN) (MNDOT) 552 AM APR 20 -4 F
SILVER BAY (LAKE MN) (AWOS) 614 AM APR 20 -4 F
4 SW ORR (ST. LOUIS MN) (1325 FT)(RAWS) 608 AM APR 20 -3 F
4 SSE MAKINEN (ST. LOUIS MN) 648 AM APR 20 -3 F
11 SSE BRULE (BAYFIELD WI) (RAWS) 506 AM APR 20 -2 F
3 SSW CABLE (BAYFIELD WI) (WIDOT) 619 AM APR 20 -2 F
More overnight minimums can be found here.
The early afternoon visible satellite image displayed the fresh snow cover quite nicely, although the forest in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin masks the snow.
Impressive snow depths this morning were depicted by this graphic from the Midwest Regional Climate Center. Note how the snowfall has rimmed the Red River.
The snow depth at Fargo this morning was 8 inches, with 2 inches on the ground in Grand Forks, ND. Compare that to the 27 inches on the flat in Duluth, and 32 inches at Babbit.
More moisture is on the way for later in the weekend and into Monday. Once again it appears that the heaviest liquid precipitation will skirt the Red River Valley.
Most of the precipitation is likely to fall as a chilly rain and a wet snow combination. I'll monitor the potential for the rain turning to all snow.
You'll recall that LaCrosse, Wis., has already set two daily record rainfalls this month. The total precipitation (liquid content) for April at LaCrosse is already over 5 inches (5.16).
Looking for something that perhaps gives you a warm rush? How about this forecast from the National Weather Service for high temperatures next Friday.
Craig Edwards(3 Comments)
Winds howling down the length of Lake Superior combined with falling snow are creating white-out conditions along the north shore as well as the south shore of the lake.
A winter storm warning remains in effect Thursday night for the area highlighted in pink. Gale warnings are in effect for Lake Superior. Winter weather advisories are shown in blue for lighter amounts of snow overnight.
The National Weather Service is monitoring the flood threat in Eau Claire, Wis., and issued this statement this morning.
THE FLOOD WARNING CONTINUES FOR
THE EAU CLAIRE RIVER NEAR FALL CREEK .
* UNTIL LATE FRIDAY NIGHT.
THE RIVER HAS CRESTED. THE FORECAST IS STARTING
AT THE MAXIMUM VALUE OF 12.4 FEET...AND IT WILL CONTINUE TO
FALL BELOW FLOOD STAGE FRIDAY MORNING.
Gale force winds battered Duluth Harbor today.
Winds gusted to over 50 mph in Duluth this morning, but are expected to slowly subside overnight.
This forecast from the NWS Duluth regional forecast model indicates wind gusts, in knots at midnight tonight.
Each long barb is 10 knots or approximately 12 mph. Shorter barbs are 5 knots.
Snowfall totals were over 10 inches in some parts of southwest and west central Minnesota in the past 24 hours. Eleven inches accumulated in Vesta, Minn.
Now about the drought: A dent in the precipitation deficit is made with much welcome moisture in southern Minnesota.
There is more progress to be made, and the pattern continues to favor wetness for the region with the highest moisture deficit since late summer.
The surface low that was elongated from Des Moines, Iowa to Springfield, Ill., Thursday morning will consolidate and is forecast to move to Lake Huron on Friday.
This image shows the surface temperatures and winds at 1 p.m. CDT Friday
More precipitation is being depicted on the forecast models for Saturday night and Sunday as a push of milder air rides over the snow cover of southern and central Minnesota.
A moderation in temperatures, which resemble spring, does not appear in the short term forecast. The normal maximum temperature in the Twin Cities for April 16 is 58 F.
Wish I had better weather news. The cold and wet pattern shows little signs of changing in the next ten days.
Sunshine and light winds combined to make it a feel-good day on Wednesday. Let's repeat that formula one more day!
There looks to be a better opportunity to reach the lower 50s in southern Minnesota on Friday as a push of milder air gains a little more momentum in the Central Plains.
A convergence of winds in the mid atmosphere on Friday night and Saturday will result in the development of precipitation. Some of the pecipitation could fall as sleet/freezing rain and snow in northeast Minnesota late Friday night.
The forecast from the NAM delivers a quarter inch or more of liquid precipitation from 1 a.m. CDT Saturday to 7 a.m. CDT on Saturday.
The NWS forecast from the Duluth office has the details:
Friday Night: A chance of rain or freezing rain after 1a.m.. Low around 29 degrees. Southwest wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
Saturday: A chance of rain and snow before 10 a.m., then a chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46 degrees. Southwest wind 5-10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
Precipitation continues to track east on Saturday. The most likely time period for rain in eastern Minnesota comes Saturday morning.
Meteorologists from NOAA NCEP have integrated their talent with the model data and delivered this forecast for liquid precipitation amounts on Saturday.
A change in the wind ushers in colder air on Easter Sunday. Tempeatures remain steady or fall slightly in the afternoon.
A chilly wind stirs up the hot dog wrappers at Target Field on Monday afternoon.
Expect winds to gust up to 25 mph on Monday afternoon.
Enjoy the next couple of days.
Nice summary of the upcoming weather from the NWS Office in Chanhassen, MN:
The unseasonably chilly temperatures have kept the severe weather threat to a minimum in 2013! Anybody recall hearing thunder recently?
Not much to write home about when it comes to mild spring-like temperatures, but we'll be pleased to see readings in the 40s later this week.
In March of 2012, St. Cloud tallied 24 days of 40 F or better. So far, this March, the temperature has yet to reach 40 F. From January through March in 2012, St. Cloud recorded 35 days of 40 F or warmer. On January 5, 2012 the high temperature was 53 F in St. Cloud.
There has not been much of a run-up on the thermometer in 2013 over Minnesota.
Here's some wishful thinking to urge on spring:
Temperatures finally climb to near normal for daytime maximums by the end of the work week. Readings in the 40s are most likely to be found over a snow-free landscape in far southern Minnesota on Thursday and Friday.
Looking ahead to the weekend, I see another cold front approaching on Saturday. This front will usher in colder air and produce the chance for rain/snow showers.
The GFS model projects a bulls-eye of precipitation around the Twin Cities on Saturday morning. Temperatures are likely to be well above freezing as the precipitation falls.
NOAA's forecast of maximum temperatures for Saturday.
Local forecast highs for our neck of the woods on Saturday. Highs could be held done some if overcast skies persist.
Boy's basketball tourney snow storm myth:
The Minnesota State Climate Office staff, with some preliminary work done by meteorologist Ron Trenda, posted the most recent data on the occurrence of a snow storm during the boy's basketball tournament in Minnesota.
Here is one nugget that sums up the truth of the matter: From 1913-2012 10 years out of 100 had 4 inches or more of snow over "tourney time" (travel day plus the days of the tournament) This means that 10% of the tournaments had a "tournament snowstorm."
A complete summary of the weather over the years for the Boy's HS basketball tourney can be read here.
I'll be tracking the potential "backslide" on the temperatures that may arrive later in the weekend.
Craig Edwards(2 Comments)
Biting winds continue this morning. The wind chill reading was 23 below zero at Fergus Falls at 6 a.m. CDT and well below zero over Minnesota.
Shortly before daybreak winds were gusting to 45 mph at Grand Marais along the north shore of Lake Superior.
Despite March sunshine, it will feel bitterly cold if you are venturing out today. Bundle up. The temperatures are more typical of mid-January.
The high in the Twin Cities metro today will be around 20 F. The normal high for this time of year in Minneapolis/St. Paul is 43 degrees.
Additional snow cover was added to the landscape in the past 48 hours. The snow depth as of Monday morning was as 26 inches at International Falls and 17 inches at St. Cloud.
This is National Flood Awareness Week. Hydrologists are monitoring the water equivalent in the snow pack, the frost depth, the temperature trends and the potential for additional precipitation.
When I worked at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen our field observers would take a core sample of the snow pack and report that water value to our office on Tuesday mornings. This information was combined with the analysis made by the staff at NOAA's Remote Sensing Center in Chanhassen.
Through the month of March and into early April, the North Central River Forecast Center hydrologists will track the flood potential.
From the Minnesota State Climatologist Office earlier this month:
Most recent release from the North Central River Forecast Center for the flood risk of moderate flooding on the Red:
Heavy snow to fall over northern Minnesota tonight.
Dense fog and periods of drizzle, perhaps freezing drizzle, will hamper travel in much of the southern two-thirds of Minnesota and into Iowa and Wisconsin.
Check out the weather headlines across the nation. There is a lot of weather going on in the USA.
As the Spirit of St. Louis Airport checks in with sunshine and 74 F this afternoon, we peer out the window and gaze at snow cover and a persistent fog. Yes, temperatures are in the middle 70s in portions of Missouri this afternoon, while in our neck of the woods, a wintry mix is expanding in eastern North Dakota and west central Minnesota.
Here is the developing snow that may be mixed with sleet and freezing rain this evening before changing to all snow overnight.
Screen capture regional radar 3:30 p.m. CST. Source: Weather Underground
As the precipitation develops through the evening it will spread into northern Minnesota depositing several inches overnight. A winter storm warning stretches from Detroit Lakes through Bemidji to International Falls into Tuesday morning.
Total snowfall in portions of northern Minnesota will range up to nine inches by 10 a.m. CST Tuesday.
NOAA's NCEP forecast of the most favored region to receive 8 or more inches of snow is outlined in green.
In the local Twin Cities Metro region, fog will thicken overnight and there will be periods of light drizzle, perhaps freezing in outlying ares. Be cautious when traveling later tonight and Tuesday morning.
On the heels of this mid-winter conundrum, a blast of arctic air will invade the upper Midwest on Tuesday night and Wednesday. Be prepared for bitter wind chill readings on Wednesday into Wednesday night.
Thursday and Friday mornings are likely to be well below zero over the state. The fresh snow cover over northern Minnesota is expected to enhance the overnight bone chilling cold.
One final note: There is a risk of severe thunderstorms well to our south on Tuesday in the much warmer air mass. The Storm Prediction Center paints this region outlined in red in a moderate risk.
A moderation appears to be shaping up as we reach the weekend.
The rain gauge at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport accumulated nearly a half-inch (0.49) of precipitation on Sunday. This is a record for Jan. 27, beating the old record of 0.42 inch set in 1916. The observer measured 3 inches of snow on Sunday at the airport.
Check out some snowfall reports by clicking here.
A dense, icy fog blanketed a large part of Minnesota with temperatures below the thawing point of 32 degrees this morning. Visibility was as low as a quarter-mile from Duluth through the Twin Cities to Albert Lea. Travel with caution. Visibility is expected to improve later this morning.
A sharp contrast in temperatures is seen on the map above, with highs as mild as the 60s in Illinois. Last night, around 10 p.m., a thunderstorm was reported to the west of Chicago at the Dupage County Airport.
A mixture of freezing rain/sleet and snow is expected to form in western Minnesota later today. This wintry mix should change to all snow tonight.
Travel will be very hazardous through the night in northern portions of Minnesota, where a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the potential for 4 to 8 inches of snow.
In the Twin Cities lighter amounts of snow are on tap for later tonight and Tuesday.
The upper Midwest is in the path of a blast of Arctic air on Wednesday.
Source:NOAA/College of Dupage
NAM forecast at approximately 5 thousand feet on Thursday at noon displaying the impressive onslaught of perhaps the coldest air mass of the season. Temperatures and wind field paint the icy cold quite nicely. In this case, bright red is extreme cold.
Below normal temperatures are expected through Saturday.
The high quality snowflakes that accumulated on Sunday have already settled several inches. Chanhassen measured 13.5 inches on Dec. 9. By 6 a.m. today the snow depth was down to 8 inches.
Snow that accumulated in my yard on Sunday has settled about 4 inches from the 12.5 inches measured on Sunday evening.
How do you measure snow?
It's much easier when the snow falls with little wind as it did Sunday in the Metro. Observers are instructed to take about 10 spatial measurements and average them for a best-derived snowfall estimate. Official snowfall measurements are to be taken at six-hour intervals, beginning at 6 a.m. The total of the measurements is considered the daily snowfall or the snow storm total.
Water equivalent is collected in a gauge, as the one shown here.
During the winter season, the funnel and measuring tube are removed so the snowfall can collect in the 4-inch gauge. Once the snow has stopped, the observer takes the gauge indoors, melts the snow and pours the water into the measuring tube.
We are early into the meteorological winter, which began Dec. 1. But snowfalls can clobber us in late autumn, as we experienced in the Halloween Blizzard in 1991.
Snow lovers were cheated last winter. This recent dump of snow should be sufficient for cross country skiing and snowmobiling for some time. Here's a link from the
Minnesota DNR on tracking conditions on the recreational trails.
Look for another very chilly night. Temperatures will drop off quickly this evening over the snow cover with nearly calm winds. Rising temperatures are expected in the early morning hours.
Still tracking the potential snowmaker for the weekend. Models are tracking the next low pressure a little farther to the south. You'll recall the low pressure on Sunday traveled pretty much along the Iowa/Minnesota border.
The GFS model run from 6 a.m. CST paints this forecast of the surface low for Saturday evening. Masked by the precipitation, the low is in southeast Iowa. The heaviest precipitation, shown for this six-hour period, over southeast Wisconsin, may fall as a cold rain.
Our colleagues at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen present this nice graphic of the potential snow for Saturday.
In case you missed it, the low at the Twin Cities International Airport late last night was 2 degrees above. It was the coldest temperature recorded at MSP this season. Monday was the first day this month when the temperature average was below normal.
Monday brought the coldest temperatures of the season to much of the state. If you were standing at a bus stop that's likely not breaking news to you. The mercury at the Twin Cities International Airport was on a slow decent toward zero when clouds moved in last night.
The temperature dipped to 2 degrees at MSP, which is the coldest temperature since a low of of 1 on February 11th.
As the daylight continues to grow shorter, combined with the low sun angle and snow cover, it becomes increasingly difficult to warm the surface of the northern landscape.
Maximum temperatures today will remain well below normal, but a moderation is in store for Wednesday and Thursday. For today:
20 F Monday's maximum temperature in the Twin Cities
-20 F Monday's minimum at Roseau, MN
The far southwest corner of Minnesota and Sioux Falls, SD missed out on much needed moisture from the weekend snowfall. Snow also bypassed the drought area of northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Grand Forks, ND and Sioux Falls, SD both reported a snow depth of only two inches on Monday morning.
7.76 inches Moisture deficit for 2012 at Fargo, ND
9.73 inches Moisture deficit for 2012 at Sioux Falls, SD
The National Weather Service in Chanhassen posted this map of the total snowfall for Saturday and Sunday:
Snowfalls of this magnitude and coverage are not rare, but based on the winters we've experienced of late, this was quite a snow dump, particularly in central Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. The type of snow depth that puts a smile on the face of skiers and those that enjoy a snowmobile ride.
Be cautious if you wish to take a snowmobile across a lake. Snow is insulating the formation of ice and there wasn't much depth to the ice layer prior to the weekend snowfall.
Don't look for much in the way of additional snowfall the remainder of the work week.
As a meteorologist, I'm frequently asked, "When's the next chance for snow?" It comes with the territory. There is a tendency to over reach by believing long term computer models. The models did pretty well on the last system.
We'll be keeping our eye on the computer runs for possible snow on Saturday and Sunday. The emphasis is on possible.
You'll note on this model forecast for Saturday evening the relatively mild air extending into northern Illinois. Here's an interesting weather highlight for 2012 out of Chicago, which set a record yesterday for the longest period without measurable snowfall:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL 401 AM CST TUE DEC 11 2012 /501 AM EST TUE DEC 11 2012/
...LACK OF SNOWFALL RECORD BROKEN AT CHICAGO...
MONDAY DECEMBER 10TH MARKED THE 281ST CONSECUTIVE DAY WITHOUT
MEASURABLE SNOWFALL AT CHICAGO...SURPASSING THE PREVIOUS
CONSECUTIVE DAY RECORD THAT HAD BEEN SET IN 1994. THIS IS NOW
THE LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME WITHOUT MEASURABLE SNOWFALL IN CHICAGO
ON RECORD. THE LAST DAY WITH OFFICIAL MEASURABLE SNOWFALL IN
CHICAGO WAS MARCH 4TH. ROCKFORD CURRENTLY STANDS AT THE SAME
AMOUNT OF DAYS...WHICH IS THE FOURTH LONGEST SUCH STRETCH IN ITS
PERIOD OF RECORD.
Here's a visible satellite image captured late morning on Monday giving you a good idea of the snow cover -- the forested area of northeast Minnesota may mask some of the snow depth:
Landscape outside the Eden Prairie weather lab late Sunday afternoon:
Posted at 6:35 AM on November 7, 2012
by Craig Edwards
Filed under: Cold
The thermometer did not have much of a workout in November. High temperatures in the Twin Cities have ranged from 39 to 47 degrees.
44 degrees Tuesday's maximum in the Twin Cities
0.31 inches of rain at the International Airport Tuesday
0.8 inches of snow in Eau Claire sets a daily snowfall record for Nov 6
Don't expect much from Mother Nature today. More of the same, but with the hope of increasing sunshine in eastern Minnesota as the day progresses. Western Minnesota was already experiencing clear skies. Dry weather is on tap through Thursday night.
Thursday should be one of the better days we've had of late for outdoor chores.
We continue to monitor the storm about to hammer New York the next 24 hours. The onslaught of wind and rain is imminent. Radar image 742 a.m. EST:
GOES water vapor enhance image from 7 a.m. EST:
The Storm Prediction Center posted this analysis of the pressure pattern as of 6 a.m. CST:
The National Weather Service in New York City issued this statement at 430 a.m. EST:
...HIGH WIND WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 4 AM EST THURSDAY...* LOCATIONS...NEW YORK CITY...LONG ISLAND...COASTAL
CONNECTICUT...HUDSON COUNTY...AND SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER COUNTY.
* HAZARDS...DAMAGING WINDS.
* WINDS...NORTH 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 60 MPH.
* TIMING...THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT.
* IMPACTS...WINDS OF THIS MAGNITUDE WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING
DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES...AS WELL AS MINOR PROPERTY
The latest forecast from the North American Model shows the storms slow progress and position at 10 p.m. EST tonight:
On Friday a storm system will begin to get better organized and strengthen in the Central Plains. We'll look for milder air to surge north from Missouri and Iowa into southern Minnesota overnight Friday and into Saturday.
Saturday's forecast maximum temperatures from the National Weather Service:
By midday on Saturday the storm center will be tracking toward Minnesota. As the center of low pressure moves into the state there may be a set up for a band of thunderstorms to develop mainly over southeast Minnesota. It is typical for a system like this to develop what is known as a "dry slot," where the strong jet stream splits the moisture.
Precipitation forecast from GFS model for Saturday. Surface pressure pattern is valid at 6 p.m. CST Saturday:
NOAA's Prediction Center picks up and this and paints a minimum amount of rainfall over much of Minnesota on Saturday:
We could use the moisture. Let's see how this pans out over the weekend.
Temperatures will nosedive on Saturday night and Sunday. Highs on Monday are expected to hold in the 30s statewide.
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.
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.
This GFS model image of the wind speeds at about eighteen thousand feet paints a wind max, depicted by the red shading, over the northern Rockies. This means a push of milder air across Minnesota and Wisconsin today, along with stiff winds. Colder air and a few flurries are expected as the system moves east of the region on Tuesday.
As we monitor the computer model output we look for consistency in the movement of short wave troughs in the jet stream. The timing on these, sometime minor systems, presents a challenge with accurately predicting a burst of snowfall. We know from experience, it only takes an inch of snow falling at rush hour to create a commuter nightmare.
Perhaps portions of central Minnesota may see an inch or two later this week. We remain moisture starved in much of central and southern Minnesota.
Some of you may recall December of 1983. I was reminiscing last evening about the Christmas Eve of 1983 when I traveled to Chicago. I'd never been so cold. In the Twin Cities there was a stretch from the middle of the month to the end of the month where temperatures frequently dropped to twenty degrees below zero. On December 23rd the low temperature at the International Airport was thirty below with a strong wind. On December 19th 1983 the low was thirty-five below zero (not the wind chill).
In January of 2009 I snapped this image of the temperature readings inside and outside the Eden Prairie weather lab. Remember my valley location has a cold bias (not unlike Embarrass, MN).
The International Airport registered twenty-two degrees below zero on January 16, 2009.
The fast moving west to east jet stream may have have few kinks dash across the northern tier of states this week. There might be a bout or two of snow possible on Wednesday night and Thursday night.
Looking into the second month of the meteorological winter, the Climate Prediction Center shows a strong confidence in above normal temperatures for much of the continental USA. Remember as we move into the middle two weeks of January we are encroaching on the coldest seasonal temperatues of winter, based on the thirty year normals.
While working as a forecaster at the Indianapolis NWS Office in the 1970s, the computer models were getting good enough to extend a forecast out about seven days. For the most part, they were fairly accurate through seventy-two hours. We applied a number of what was known as cook book rules in forecasting snow amounts. Many are still basic enough to use today.
One of the standard synoptic forecasting techniques was to expect the heaviest snow to accumulate about 150 miles north of the track of the center of lowest pressure. That was close to the case for last Saturday's snowfall of six inches from Clear Lake, Iowa to Cumberland, Wisconsin.
Looking out at the long range GFS, I can't find a system that has the potential to produce signifcant snow in the Upper Midwest between now and December 24th. But I'm experienced enough to doubt model output data after five days, particularly in the winter months. I know this much, daylight is continuing to grow short and we are gradually approaching the historically coldest days of the season.
Our friends at the State Climate Office have posted this graphic of the probability of a White Christmas in Minnesota. Here's a statement they included with the image; The best chances of having a white Christmas is almost guaranteed in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and a good part of the Arrowhead. The chances decrease to the south and west and the best chance for a "brown" Christmas is in far southwest Minnesota where chances are a little better than 60%.
You can dive into more details of their research by clicking on their White Christmas post.
Cold air is still coming, but so is the moderation. Once we get through the next forty-eight hours of winter chill there will be a nice bump-up in temperatures for Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
The GFS has been consistent with readings in the lower to perhaps the middle 30s on Sunday. Here's a snapshot of expected surface temperatures and winds for noon on Sunday.
Before I turn the weather fun back to the Chief meteorologist, Paul Huttner, I'll leave you with this extended temperature outlook for the next 8 to 14 days from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. I'll not include an editorial comment.
This is not a magnitude of warmth or cold but a confidence level of above or below normal temperatures. May the wind be always at your back.
Snowfall graphic from Chanhassen NWS from Saturday and Saturday night.
A large swath of Minnesota missed out on the Saturday snowfall. Lakes will ice over and the ice will thicken at different rates depending on the micro-climate. Snow covered lakes/ponds are likely to be insulated somewhat in southeast Minnesota and ice may be slow to thicken despite the cold temperatures.
Before venturing out on regional lakes please check for ice thickness with the DNR. Here's a link on ice safety.
Once again the moisture deprived region of from Redwood Falls to Ortonville missed out on Saturday's precipitation.
The snow to water ratio varied from the Twin Cities to Winona. Rochester received 3.4 inches of snow with 0.34 inches of liquid. In Chanhassen, the snowfall was 3.2 inches with liquid precipitation 0.16 inches. That difference in moisture content identifies the challenge of predicting snow amounts based on expected liquid precipitation.
A cold week is in store for the Great Lakes region. I'll avoid using the term "warm-up", but a moderation is expected on the weekend.
In other weather news, more heavy rain is on tap from Indiana into Kentucky and Ohio. Louisville, Kentucky has accumulated nearly 64 inches of moisture in 2011, 22 inches above normal for the year.
Here's a snap shot of the radar from early this morning.
It's times like these where a meteorologist gets pumped about the profession. Sorting through the computer models, matching the satellite data with previous computer model output and tracking surface weather make the job challenging and sometimes even rewarding.
Here's the infrared satellite imagery at mid afternoon. The large scale circulation over the southwest corner of the US appears to be more tame than the weather reported from southern California to Colorado. Winds have gusted from 60 to 80 miles an hour from near Los Angeles to Las Vegas in the past eighteen hours. The national news networks are delivering the details of this savage weather.
Meanwhile another surge of cold air is sweeping through Albert, tracking toward the Dakotas and Minnesota as indicated in the enhanced (red) cloud tops.
These two separate systems are likely to meet up from Minnesota to Missouri on Saturday.
Here's an image of the mid level jet stream from noon today. The wind field is approximately 18k feet.
The closed circulation of the upper low stands out over southern California and Arizona. Wicked winds have been induced at the surface as a result of the topography and the atmospheric dynamics of this system.
By noon on Saturday, as shown by the NAM, the low in the southwest has weakened and continues to track east, but no longer a closed circulation. At the same time a trough has been craved out in North Dakota. These two forces of nature will combine to create the problematic weather in southeast Minnesota.
The reflection of weather on the surface is what television weathercasters typically deliver to the viewers to keep the meteorology simple. But significant precipitation is induced by factors at cloud level of 5K and greater.
Here's the consensus track of the surface low from NOAA for the next couple of days. Indeed a favorable track for snow in our neck of the woods, but not a particularly deep center of low pressure.
Put this altogether and it still targets the best chance for accumulating snow over southeast Minnesota. NOAA's Environmental Prediction center indicates the most likely area for four or more inches of accumulation on Saturday.
Want the condensed version of this story? See this snapshot from the Chanhassen NWS Office.
Tune in tomorrow morning for details of your weekend weather forecast.
An east to west band of light snow accompanied an invasion of colder air into Minnesota overnight. Snowfall from Duluth to Alexandria southward tallied up to an inch in isolated locations. Most places accumulated a half inch or less, including the measurement at the Twin Cities International Airport.
The narrow band of light snow and remaining cloud cover will continue to push through the southeast corner of Minnesota this morning. Afternoon temperatures will hold close to seasonal normals. Colder air is poised to invade the Upper Midwest on the weekend and extend into Tuesday. Indeed, with the low sun angle and shortendaylight hours you'll experience the chill of a Minnesota winter.
Meteorologists are still pondering the model data to determine the northward extent of a snow system coming out of the Colorado region on Friday. Southeast Minnesota, from Albert Lea to Rochester and Hastings looks to be the most likely area for the potential for accumulating snowfall late Friday night through Saturday.
Current thinking from the NOAA Prediction Center on the favored region to receive four inches or more of snow on Saturday.
Forecasting snow amounts is problematic due to the lack of a definitive center of low pressure. Here is the graphic of the track of the lowest pressure for the next couple of days. Note the weakness of the surface low as the system moves through Iowa.
Let's see how this plays out in the next forty-eight hours. There is still plenty of time to refine the forecast before the first flakes fly.
Today's World Sunlight Map shows daybreak in Minnesota.
(Click images to enlarge)
25 degrees in the metro this morning!
March 30th - last time it was this cold in Minnesota (Nearly 8 months ago)
19 degrees - forecast low in the metro Thursday morning!
70% chance - Weather Lab estimate for a "plowable" snow in Brainerd, Duluth & Iron Range by Saturday night
30% chance - Weather Lab estimate for season's first 1" snowfall at MSP Airport Saturday night
71% of peope first heard about storms in Tuscaloosa tornado outbreak on TV & radio
5% first heard of storm though "social media"
It's finally here.
The coldest air mass in nearly 8 months has invaded Minnesota. This one feels different. Last night's bracing, window rattling northwest wind made you hunch over and step lively to get into the car.
The temps plunged to 25 this morning at MSP, with a few teens up north. Wind chills made it feel like teens and single digits in Minnesota this morning.
Yes, it's back!
Our wintery preview peaks tonight and early Thursday, as temps bottom out in the teens south with a few single digits north.
Temps will begin to moderate Thursday and should reach the 40s again (with a shot at 50 in the south) by Friday afternoon.
Saturday Snow: Trending north
The forecast models are fairly consistent with the track of our potential weekend winter storm. The latest runs seem to favor a surface low track near La Crosse by Saturday night.
If the GFS is right, the rain snow line looks to be setting up from near Redwood Falls to St. Cloud most of Saturday.
The temperatures profile for the storm appears to be warm enough for motly rain in the metro, changing to a little burst of wet snow as the storm slides by later Saturday night.
Moisture fields also show a rapid drop off in precip totals along the southern edge of the storm, with system precipitation totals as low as .25" in the metro.
The track, temp and moisture fields still suggest the heaviest "plowable" snow band setting up along an Alexandria-Brainerd-Iron Range-North Shore line. These areas could be in line for potentially 6" or more by early Sunday morning.
Tracks can still change...stay tuned on this one!
Mild Thanksgiving Day?
The early look at Thanksgiving trends mild. Assuming bare ground and some sun (which seems likely at this point) southerly winds should help boost temps to near 50 again in southern Minnesota.
"Old Media" still rules in severe weather outbreaks
Many people these days get a forecast or radar snapshot from their smart phone.
But in last year's devastating tornado outbreaks in Tuscaloosa and other markets, TV and radio were still king.
Research from Raycom Media (yes, a TV company) shows that as many as 71% of all people first heard about the coming storms from TV, with radio the second choice.
Only 5% of people first heard about the storms through Internet or mobile devices. Of those who did sample the Internet, 50% went to TV or radio websites for information.
"Chances are you know someone who has been affected by the floods, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes this past year. You may have even been impacted yourself. In Alabama, on April 27, a series of tornadoes destroyed more than 13,000 homes and killed 246 people in a matter of a few hours. The storms hit very close to home -- physically and emotionally -- with our Montgomery, Birmingham and Huntsville stations directly affected.
It was impressive to see the stations spring into action with life-saving information for our communities as the storms approached and then with wall-to-wall coverage of the aftermath.
In an effort to fully understand our viewer's needs in the wake of the storms, the senior management at Raycom Media commissioned me to do a survey in our three affected DMAs as well as Tuscaloosa, the area with the most damage.
We learned that 71% of adults living in these affected areas first learned about the approaching storms through TV. Schools and businesses were closed early in an effort to get people off the roads and 75% of residents were at home when the storms hit. Seventy-nine percent were tracking the storms on TV as they impacted their communities.
It is probably not surprising that viewers relied on their local stations more than any other medium for information on the storms. This was true for every age group, including 18-24 year-olds, and was particularly true in African-American households, which relied on television at a higher rate than the population in general.
We received many comments putting emotion behind these numbers. Many said that next time, they would "stay tuned to the weather reports" and "keep a close eye on the news" in order to stay safe. Some went so far to say they would "make sure I have a battery-powered TV." I conducted a focus group recently and when the conversation turned to one local meteorologist, one of the participants said: "He saved my life." No other endorsement is needed.
Power was an issue, especially in Huntsville. Many in that area reported they could not watch TV because of power outages. So they turned to radio, which ranked as the second-highest medium during the crisis. Because TV stations have partnered with radio stations during breaking weather and news events, radio listeners were actually able to get the same information as TV viewers were.
Although only a few (5%) of respondents reported going to the Internet for information tracking the storms, half of those were going to a station websites. Additionally, 5% were receiving information on mobile sites. Stations were active in distributing information via their own broadcasts, on the radio, on the Internet and even on mobile to keep their communities safe."
It seems people may still depend on the "live and local" severe weather information they get from local media most during severe weather outbreaks.
When asked what lies ahead regarding the winter season, meteorologists often shape the outlook relative to normal, knowing that the wide swings in daily temperatures don't adequately define your ultimate winter experience.
Look at the tempeatuers so far this October. We enjoyed highs in the 80s earlier this month, but the past two days saw highs only in the upper 40s. We actually expect a couple of near normal days for today and Friday. That would be highs in the 50s.
Since the new thirty year normals have tossed out the relative cold readings of the 1970s and added the decadal warming since 2000, the new normals for our region have warmed, particularly in the winter season. If you have been paying attention, you'll not be surprised to learn that our coldest average minimum temperatures in January, in the Twin Cities, have gone up four degrees. For example, the average low on January 15th went from plus three degrees to plus seven degrees. Substantial indeed!
In late September NOAA issued this temperature outlook for the months of December 2011 to February 2012. Let's say we end up three degrees below normal for this three month period, known as the meteorological winter. That would actually be close to the old normal. We are comparing apples to apples, but the apples have a sweeter flavor for some of us.
An updated winter season outlook from the National Weather Service will be issued soon. It will be interesting to see if there is consistency in the outlook of favoring below normal temperatures.
In the short term, pretty quiet and seasonal weather is on tap for the upper Midwest. Winds will still be brisk today. If you are planning on doing some yard work, expect the winds to be on the light side Friday and Saturday. Ideal conditions will be found for gathering your leaves. Been holding off on the outdoor painting? Now's the time to attend to that as well.
If you're still looking for more moisture. Here's an idea of the limited rainfall expected through the weekend.
I prefer to stall on mentioning wind chill readings being in the teens in some places at daybreak.
Cold enough for ya?
The Nation's Icebox lived up to its name this morning. The temperature at International Falls plummeted to -46 overnight. MPR colleague and UM Professor Dr. Mark Seeley tells me that's the coldest reading in the border city since 1968. The temperature also hit -46 that year in International Falls.
Several locations in northern Minnesota also hit -40 or colder early Friday.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
921 AM CST FRI JAN 21 2011
...FRIGID TEMPERATURES CHILL THE NORTHLAND...
THE FOLLOWING ARE OBSERVED LOW TEMPERATURES THROUGH 900 AM FRIDAY
JANUARY 21 2011. TEMPERATURES ARE IN DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
TEMP LOCATION ST COUNTY SOURCE
---- ----------------------- -- -------------- -------
-46 INTERNATIONAL FALLS MN KOOCHICHING ASOS
-46 BABBITT MN ST LOUIS COOP
-43 EMBARRASS MN ST LOUIS COOP
-43 BIGFORK MN ITASCA RAWS
-43 ASHLAKE MN ST LOUIS MNDOT
-43 EFFIE MN ITASCA RAWS
-40 BIRCHDALE MN KOOCHICHING MNDOT
-39 MINONG WI WASHBURN RAWS
-38 KABETOGAMA MN ST LOUIS COOP
-38 CRANE LAKE MN ST LOUIS AWOS
-37 HILL CITY MN ITASCA RAWS
-37 ELY MN ST LOUIS RAWS
-36 LONGVILLE MN CASS AWOS
-36 PINE RIVER MN CASS AWOS
-36 SEAGULL LAKE MN COOK RAWS
-36 WRIGHT MN ST LOUIS COOP
-34 GUNFLINT LAKE MN COOK COOP
-34 HAYWARD WI SAWYER RAWS
-33 GRAND RAPIDS MN ITASCA AWOS
-33 MCGREGOR MN AITKIN AWOS
-33 AITKIN MN AITKIN AWOS
-33 HIBBING MN ST LOUIS RAWS
-33 BRAINERD MN CROW WING ASOS
-33 MOOSE LAKE MN CARLTON AWOS
-31 SILVER BAY MN LAKE AWOS
-31 TWO HARBORS MN LAKE AWOS
-31 SIREN WI BURNETT AWOS
-30 GORDON WI ASHLAND RAWS
-26 SUPERIOR WI DOUGLAS AWOS
-26 PHILLIPS WI PRICE AWOS
-24 DULUTH MN ST LOUIS ASOS
Temperatures also hit brutal levels in southern Minnesota with many locations plunging to -20 to -30.
In the metro, the Urban Heat Island was in full effect. While the "official" temperature at MSP Airport stalled at -16 overnight, close in suburbs dipped to -20 or colder including...
Eden Prairie -21
UM Campus St. Paul -22
Here are the numbers for southern Minnesota & western Wisconsin.
MAX/MIN TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION TABLE FOR
CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
1025 AM CST FRI JAN 21 2011
VALUES REPRESENT HIGHS YESTERDAY...LOWS OVER THE LAST 12 HOURS
AND PRECIPITATION OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS
ASOS AIRPORTS - WEST CENTRAL/CENTRAL/SOUTHERN MN/WEST CENTRAL WI
WITH PRECIPITATION/SNOWFALL/SNOW DEPTH REPORTS
.BR MSP 0121 C DH00/TAIRZX/DH06/TAIRZP/PPDRZZ/SFDRZZ/SDIRZZ
: MAX MIN SNOW SNOW
:ID LOCATION TEMP TEMP PCPN FALL DEPTH
EAU : EAU CLAIRE WI : 8 / -22 / T / T / 20
MSP : MINNEAPOLIS MN : 9 / -16 / 0.01/ 0.1/ 12
STC : ST CLOUD MN : 9 / -29 / T / T / 14
ASOS AIRPORTS - WEST CENTRAL/CENTRAL/SOUTHERN MN
WITHOUT PRECIPITATION/SNOWFALL/SNOW DEPTH REPORTS
AXN : ALEXANDRIA MN : M / M /
MIC : CRYSTAL MN : 8 / -22 /
FCM : FLYING CLOUD MN : 7 / -21 /
RWF : REDWOOD FALLS MN : 11 / -24 /
STP : ST PAUL MN : 9 / -17 /
AWOS AIRPORTS - WEST CENTRAL/CENTRAL/SOUTHERN MN/WEST CENTRAL WI
AEL : ALBERT LEA MN : 9 / -26 /
AQP : APPLETON MN : 10 / -27 /
BBB : BENSON MN : 12 / -27 /
ANE : BLAINE MN : 14 / -20 /
CFE : BUFFALO MN : 7 / -28 /
CBG : CAMBRIDGE MN : 5 / -29 /
CNB : CANBY MN : 13 / -21 /
FRM : FAIRMONT MN : 10 / -18 /
FBL : FARIBAULT MN : 9 / -29 /
GYL : GLENCOE MN : 6 / -30 /
GHW : GLENWOOD MN : 9 / -27 /
GDB : GRANITE FALLS MN : 11 / -25 /
HCD : HUTCHINSON MN : 10 / -28 /
21D : LAKE ELMO MN : 9 / -27 /
LVN : LAKEVILLE MN : 7 / -29 /
LJF : LITCHFIELD MN : 7 / -27 /
LXL : LITTLE FALLS MN : 9 / -29 /
14Y : LONG PRAIRIE : 9 / -30 /
DXX : MADISON MN : 12 / -24 /
MKT : MANKATO MN : 9 / -24 /
MGG : MAPLE LAKE MN : 6 / -29 /
MVE : MONTEVIDEO MN : 12 / -20 /
JMR : MORA MN : 7 / -27 /
MOX : MORRIS MN : 12 / -27 /
ULM : NEW ULM MN : 9 / -24 /
OVL : OLIVIA MN : 10 / -20 /
OWA : OWATONNA MN : 7 / -26 /
PEX : PAYNESVILLE MN : 7 / -32 /
PNM : PRINCETON MN : 5 / -33 /
RGK : RED WING MN : 10 / -27 /
ROS : RUSH CITY : 6 / -27 /
D39 : SAUK CENTRE MN : 11 / -27 /
SAZ : STAPLES MN : 7 / -33 /
JYG : ST JAMES MN : 10 / -22 /
SGS : SOUTH ST PAUL MN : 10 / -17 /
ACQ : WASECA MN : 9 / -24 /
BDH : WILLMAR MN : 9 / -29 /
RPD : RICE LAKE WI : 6 / -31 /
LUM : MENOMONIE WI : 10 / -22 /
OEO : OSCEOLA WI : 7 / -29 /
RNH : NEW RICHMOND WI : 7 / -28 /
RCX : LADYSMITH WI : 6 / -25 /
: COOPERATIVE WEATHER OBSERVATION SITES
.BR MSP 0121 C DH06/TAIRZX/TAIRZN/PPDRZZ/SFDRZZ/SDIRZZ
: OBS MAX MIN SNOW SNOW
:ID LOCATION TIME TEMP TEMP PCPN FALL DEPTH
: IN MINNESOTA
ALBM5: ALBERT LEA MN : DH0800/ 10 / -23 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16
ADVM5: ANDOVER MN : DH0600/ 8 / -27 / 0.03/ 0.5/ 19
BTHM5: BLUE EARTH MN : DH0600/ 11 / -18 / 0.00/ M/ M
CFAM5: CANNON FALLS MN : DH0610/ 8 / -27 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 21
MPXM5: CHANHASSEN WFO : DH0600/ 5 / -25 / T / T / 11
CHNM5: CHANHASSEN MN : DH0700/ M / M / 0.00/ M/ M
CHKM5: CHASKA NW MN : DH0600/ 5 / -29 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 14
DSLM5: DASSEL MN : DH0800/ 2 / -28 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 18
FIRM5: FAIRMONT MN : DH0700/ 10 / -17 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 20
FORM5: FOREST LAKE MN : DH0700/ 10 / -23 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 12
GLDM5: GAYLORD MN : DH0700/ 7 / -23 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 19
HSTM5: HASTINGS L/D MN : DH0600/ 9 / -22 / 0.02/ T / 15
HCSM5: HUTCHINSON MN : DHM / M / M / M/ 0.0/ 19
JORM5: JORDAN MN : DH0655/ 5 / -28 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 12
LNGM5: LONG PRAIRIE MN : DH0600/ 5 / -31 / 0.01/ 0.1/ 17
MLRM5: MELROSE MN : DH0700/ 3 / -29 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 14
MLCM5: MILACA MN : DH0730/ 6 / -30 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 13
LSAM5: LWR ST ANTHONY MN : DH0600/ 8 / -15 / 0.00/ M/ M
MVDM5: MONTEVIDEO MN : DH0700/ 10 / -24 / 0.00/ 0.0/ M
MRAM5: MORA MN : DH0700/ 4 / -27 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 7
NUMM5: NEW ULM 3 SE MN : DH0800/ 8 / -26 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 21
NMAM5: NORTH MANKATO : DH0700/ 8 / -21 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 17
RDWM5: RED WING L/D MN : DH0600/ 11 / -25 / 0.01/ M/ M
REWM5: REDWOOD FALLS MN : DH0500/ 10 / -22 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 18
RCEM5: RICE MN : DH0700/ 8 / -32 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 10
SCSM5: ST CLOUD ST MN : DH0600/ M / M / 0.00/ 0.0/ 12
SHRM5: SHERBURN MN : DH0700/ 9 / -17 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 10
UMNM5: ST PAUL U OF MN : DH0800/ 7 / -22 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16
WASM5: WASECA MN : DH0800/ 8 / -26 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 13
WELM5: WELLS MN : DH0800/ 8 / -22 / 0.00/ M/ 11
WLDM5: WILD RVR ST PARK : DH0800/ 6 / -30 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 15
ZBRM5: ZUMBROTA MN : DH0700/ 9 / -28 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 9
: IN WISCONSIN
AGSW3: AUGUSTA WI : DH0800/ 7 / -27 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 19
BMRW3: BLOOMER WI : DH0800/ 6 / -25 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 15
BALW3: BALDWIN WI : DH0700/ 6 / -29 / 0.00/ M/ 26
CBLW3: CUMBERLAND WI : DH0700/ 7 / -26 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 11
DRDW3: DURAND WI : DH0800/ 10 / -27 / 0.00/ M/ 18
HOLW3: HOLCOMBE WI : DH0700/ 8 / -29 / 0.00/ M/ M
JIMW3: JIM FALLS WI : DH0630/ 9 / -18 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16
LDSW3: LADYSMITH WI : DH0530/ 10 / -33 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16
RILW3: RICE LAKE WI : DH0800/ 5 / -31 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 16
ROBW3: ROBERTS WI : DH0800/ M / M / 0.01/ 0.3/ 12
SCFW3: ST CROIX FALLS WI : DH0700/ 9 / -28 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 13
STAW3: STANLEY WI : DH0800/ 8 / -28 / 0.00/ 0.0/ 13
Welcome to what will likely be the coldest morning of the winter Friday.
A bitterly cold arctic air mass is has invaded Minnesota, and the core of the coldest temperatures will settle in over Minnesota Friday morning.
The so called "Siberian Express" is a cross polar air flow that can deliver barbarically cold air to Minnesota from Siberia by way of the North Pole.
Temperatures plummeted to -40 near the center of the high pressure system in Saskatchewan Thursday morning, and readings may approach that number in northeast Minnesota Friday.
In the south, temperatures will bottom out in the -15 to -25 degree range. The most extreme computer model (GFS) is cranking out an air temperature of -31 at Twin Cities Airport Friday morning.
While the Urban Heat Island may prevent readings in the inner city from getting that cold, it's going to be plenty cold no matter how you slice it. I still think temperatures may plummet to -20 to -22 at Twin Cities Airport Friday morning, with -25 possible in the outer suburbs.
Skin can freeze in minutes:
We're tough Minnesotans but this is serious cold folks. Your skin doesn't care how "macho" your mindset is. At wind chills of -30, your skin can literally begin to freeze in minutes. Check out the NWS wind chill chart for the gory details.
Cold wave is brief but brutal:
While -20 to -30 is routine in a northern Minnesota winter, it's tough to reach -20 to -25 in the metro. It just doesn't happen that often. That's why this week's brief but brutal cold snap is not as common as you might think.
If we plunge to -25 in the metro, it would be the coldest air in about 15 years. The last time temperature plunged to -25 in the Twin Cities was February 2, 1996.
"Extreme Cold Warning":
The cold wave even has NWS trotting out a new experimental warning product. NWS issued an "Extreme Cold Warning" for northern Minnesota into early Friday. The new product will be used in situations where extreme cold when temperatures hit -35, regardless of any "wind chill."
Ironically, the coldest ambient air temperatures are usually reached near the center of arctic high pressure systems, where there is little wind to enhance the wind chill effect.
Clipper Friday PM:
An Alberta Clipper will follow right on the heels of the arctic cold Friday morning. Snow will spread from west to east, and could arrive in the metro later Friday morning and continue through the PM. The system should be mostly light, with snow totals around an inch or less in most locations.
Thaw next week?
Temperatures will quickly rebound into the teens this weekend, and may push 32 by next week. That's going to feel really nice when compared to Friday morning.
In the mean time, stay warm!
Posted at 8:43 AM on January 20, 2011
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Cold
Black Ice Alert:
There are numerous accidents on Minnesota & Twin Cities' roadways today. Temperature near zero is causing car exhaust to freeze on roadways, and (invisible) "black ice" is the result. Expect icy spots from black ice (and a little snow) today as the arctic air moves in.
Arctic front (finally) arrives:
The well advertised arctic front is here. The front is moving south through Minnesota and Wisconsin today as arctic air pours in behind it.
Temperatures are below zero in northwest Minnesota and North Dakota, and will stay below zero all day. Temps will remain steady or begin to fall below zero in southern Minnesota later today into tonight.
Wind Chill advisories have been hoisted for chills in dangerous the -25 to -35 range by tonight.
Widespread temperatures below -30 and even -40 are gripping central Saskatchewan near the arctic high pressure center Thursday morning.
The core of that coldest air will pass right over northeast Minnesota Friday morning. Look for temps colder than -30 in northeast Minnesota, near the usual suspects of Tower & Embarrass.
In the metro, Friday morning will be a great test of the Urban Heat Island (UHI). Some models are cranking out -23 to -29 at MSP Airport Friday morning.
-29 could happen, but my instinct says -20 to -22 are better numbers. If the UHI is strong, temperatures could easily hover near -15 at MSP Airport while it's -25 in the outer suburbs Friday morning!
If we plunge to -25 in the metro, it would be the coldest air in about 15 years. A quick check of records shows that last time temperature plunged to -25 in the Twin Cities was February 2, 1996.
An Alberta Clipper will follow right on the heels of the arctic cold Friday. Snow will spread from west to east, and could arrive in the metro later Friday morning and continue through the PM. The system should be mostly light, with snow totals around an inch or less in most locations.
Cold won't last:
Temperatures will moderate quickly above zero this weekend, and a bigger warm up moves in next week. Temperatures may push 30 to 32 degrees by next Tuesday or Wednesday!
No big snows in sight:
As I posted yesterday, it looks like a persistent northwest flow will keep the big snow at bay for a week or two. We may have actually broken the back of our "megasnow" pattern for a while.
Stay warm, and endure our (thankfully) brief arctic invasion!
"So how cold will it get this week Paul?
That's the mantra question from friends and my colleagues at MPR this week.
Plenty cold is the answer....and maybe the coldest in many years by Friday morning. One wonders if you can really feel the difference between -20 and -25 anyway...or if you'd ever want to!
The GFS model is cranking out a temperature of -25 for MSP Airport Friday morning.
If we plunge to -25 in the metro Friday morning, it would be the coldest air in about 15 years. A quick check of records shows that last time temperature plunged to -25 in the Twin Cities was February 2, 1996.
Here are some factors going into the forecast for this week's nose dive, which should bottom out Friday morning around 7 am.
1) Current temperatures in central Canada. Temperatures "upstream" in the arctic air mass have been running between -30 and -45 degrees around Yellowknife and Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories. Temps colder than -30 were as close to Minnesota as Lake Winnipeg Tuesday morning.
Bottom line, the air mass is plenty cold enough to plunge temperatures to -20 to -30 in Minnesota this week.
2) Air mass trajectories: It looks like the coldest core of the arctic air mass will pass through northeast Minnesota and Ontario Friday morning. That should place the coldest temps up north. (can you say Embarrass?) The Twin Cities will be on the edge of the coldest air to the north.
3) High pressure center: The "inner isobar" of arctic high pressure is forecast to pass right over Minnesota and the Twin Cities Friday morning around 6am. That's an ideal time for calm air, clear skies and fresh deep snow cover to generate "maximum radiational cooling."
If no clouds sneak in from the west (due in later Friday), that should allow temperatures to reach the maximum cooling potential of the arctic air mass around 7 am Friday morning. (Oh joy!)
4) Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect: On clear mornings with light northerly winds, there is a very noticeable (pronounced) UHI effect at MSP Airport, which lies just south of downtown Minneapolis. Studies have shown temperatures can be as much as 10 degrees (or more) warmer in UHI's than in the surrounding "countryside."
It could easily be -25 in the suburbs and -15 to -20 at MSP at the same moment.
In reality, it probably doesn't make a huge practical difference whether we reach -17 or -25 Friday...it's going to be really cold either way. But Minnesotans love to know...for bragging rights if nothing else!
Right now I'm leaning toward a low of about -22 at MSP Airport Friday morning, with temps of -25 in the outer suburbs and -30s up north.
Stay tuned as we tweak the forecast temps of the incoming air mass this week.
Twin Cities Almanac for January 18th:
(Data from Weather Underground)
The "Deep Snow" full moon arrives at 3:21pm Wednesday.
NOAA plane over the Pacific boosts data for forecast models:
NOAA aircraft is flying missions to gather data over the North Pacific this winter. The plane gathers real time data, then feeds it into the forecast model initial conditions for the usually "data poor" North Pacific.
Here's the write up from NOAA:
"NOAA has dispatched one of its highly specialized aircraft to collect atmospheric data over the North Pacific Ocean to enhance forecasts of winter storms for the entire North American continent.
NOAA's high-altitude, twin-engine Gulfstream IV-SP jet will be stationed at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan through February before repositioning to Honolulu in March. From these locations, the aircraft will be tasked by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction -- a division of NOAA's National Weather Service -- to collect information such as wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature and humidity. The data will be sent via satellite to global operational weather forecasting centers and fed into sophisticated computer forecast models.
"By expanding our reach to Japan, we are able to gather data upstream of winter storms, thereby gaining more lead time for emergency managers and responders to prepare for the impacts of severe winter weather on lives and property," said meteorologist and flight director Jack Parrish with the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations."
I've often talked about how the models can't get a good picture and "lock on" to incoming winter storms until they reach the North American surface grid and upper air (weather balloon) network. That often leaves less than 48 hours of good, solid model data before winter storms hit Minnesota. The new data may help improve model forecasts on winter storm before the reach the Pacific coast...and maybe help forecasters in Minnesota.
It's here, right on schedule.
The week's first taste of arctic air has invaded Minnesota as expected today.
Temperatures are colder than -20 in northwest Minnesota this morning, with wind chills in the -30s.
Temps could reach -10 in the metro tomorrow morning, with -20s to -30 north. Friday could bring the season's coldest air mass, with lows pushing -15 to -20 even in the urban core of metro. The GFS is cranking out a respectable -22 for MSP Airport Friday morning!
Coldest week of the year on average:
This is on average the coldest week of the year in Minnesota. The Twin Cities average high of 21 degrees and low of 3 degrees (above zero) sounds really good this week. Instead we're dealing with -21 and colder in parts of Minnesota.
It takes about a month after the winter solstice for temperatures to bottom out in the northern hemisphere. Daylight slowly creeps back into the Arctic Circle in January, but the sun angle and intensity is just too low to start warming arctic air until February.
Our average temperatures start to rise later this week and next week. Increasing daylight and slightly more incoming solar radiation will boost temperatures over the next month.
Our coldest air masses of the year invade from the Arctic Circle this time of year.
Our average temps by February 20th? High of 30 & Low of 14. I know...it's slow progress.
Milder next week: Here's some positive thinking. After this week's cold wave it looks like the cold will mercifully ease next week. In fact, temperatures may approach 30 above zero in the next two weeks.
Brighter days ahead:
Have you noticed how much brighter the days are? We've gained about 30 minutes of daylight in the evening in the past month. We're now gaining about 2 minutes of daylight each day. Sunset is now after 5pm in the metro and the evenings are noticeably brighter on clear evenings.
Hang in there, it's a sign that a seasonal warm up is closer than we might think during our January doldrums!
Stay warm, and be cool.
You knew it would happen sooner or later.
You know, that one week where we feel like we should just get out of Minnesota for good....NOW! Okay, enough drama. But do get ready for a couple of arctic air surges this week. The arctic outbreaks should easily being the coldest air so far this season, and possibly the coldest air we'll see the entire winter.
This air mass has the potential to be a pipe busting, battery draining, tree cracking shot of arctic air.
Let's break down the details.
Tuesday: The first salvo of arctic air is already pouring south into Minnesota. Sub -zero temps have been pooling north of the border, and we'll feel the bite of arctic air across all of Minnesota by Tuesday morning.
Temperatures will plunge to -20 to -25 in northern Minnesota Tuesday morning, with highs staying below to near 0 in the north. Wind chills will be in the dangerous -25 to -40 range.
In the south temps will fall to 0 to -7 Tuesday morning. Highs Tuesday will stagger into single digits above, with sub-zero wind chills.
Wednesday: Wednesday's saving grace will be light winds, as the center of a bubble of arctic high pressure drifts over Minnesota. It will still be cold though, as the core of the first arctic air mass drifts overhead. The sun will shine, but bitter air and reflection off of fresh snow cover will render any warming nearly useless.
(wow...There's a real day brightener!)
Lows Wednesday morning will be in the -20 to -25 range again up north, with lows near -5 south. Highs near 0 north with single digits (above) south.
Thursday & Friday: The second and stronger arctic front will bring the "mother lode" of bitterly cold air into Minnesota Thursday & Friday. Temperatures may actually fall below zero during the day Thursday on bitter northwest winds. Wind chills could reach -25 to -40 by Thursday evening.
Thursday night/Friday morning may (hopefully) be the coldest of the entire winter season. Lows in northern Minnesota could reach -30. Lows by Friday morning in southern Minnesota (including the metro) could reach -15 to -20.
The forecast models have been all over the place with the magnitude of the coming cold wave. I'm leaning on the colder side with this forecast for a couple of reasons.
1) Air temperatures are currently running between -30 and -50 in north central Canada with this air mass.
2) Forecast models often underestimate the magnitude of arctic outbreaks in Minnesota.
Even though it looks like we'll get a brief and somewhat glancing blow of arctic air this week, this should easily be the coldest air mass so far this season.
Extreme cold won't last: Want some better news? It looks like temperatures will recover into at least the 20s (above zero!) later this weekend and into next week. At least the cold won't last.
Top 5 record winter snowfall in sight:
We've piled up 53.9" of snowfall so far this winter season in the Twin Cities. That's close to the seasonal average of 55.9" for the entire winter!
If we get just average snowfall the rest of the winter (about another 26") that would put us close to a top 5 winter snow status for the metro. Here's the data from Twin Cities NWS.
Prepare for cold this week..after all this is Minnesota in winter!
A shot of snow Monday morning has laid down yet another fresh coating of white in most of Minnesota. Today's snowfall makes it 15 of the past 17 days with at least a trace of snow in the metro and most of "Minne-snow-ta" in January.
Here are some snow totals from the morning snow burst.
Deephaven (west metro) 1.3"
Two Harbors 3.1"
International Falls 1.9"
La Crosse 1.2"
Snow will continue to focus on northeast Minnesota and Wisconsin today with additional 1" to 3" totals common. Occasional snow may fall in southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities with up to another 1" in some areas.
Milder air pushes north:
Some milder air will push north into southern Minnesota today with this system, before cold air pushes south again tonight and Tuesday. Temperatures may push 30 in southern Minnesota today.
Note the huge temperature contrast from north to south...with -20s pooling in central Canada.
More details on the snow system. (original post 12:08 am)
System & track: Albert Clipper tracking through from NW to SE
Timing: Quick burst of snow early Monday morning. Snow may be "on and off" at times the rest of the day.
Intensity/duration/accumulation: Light to moderate snow pulse early morning. Occasional snow (intermittent) through the day. Total accumulations 1" to 2" in metro. 3" to 6" possible in southern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin. 2" to 4" possible in northern Minnesota.
Primary impact: Metro: Snowy AM drive. Some snow may linger for PM drive.
Expect more traffic hassles today, and allow extra time (again) to get around. At least the MLK Holiday means there should be a little less traffic on the roads, and the kids will love playing in snow when the temps push 30 degrees by late afternoon!
How fast does snow fall?
Have you ever stopped to think how fast snow falls? It turns out snow falls about 3mph on average. That's about as fast as you walk. Snow can form at 5,000 or 10,000 feet above ground level, so a snowflake that falls from 8,000 feet may take 30 minutes to reach the ground.
That's a leisurely stroll to land on your driveway where you can shovel it.
Arctic air still on the way:
It will turn colder as the first taste of arctic air pushes south Tuesday. Lows may plunge to -10 in the metro by Wednesday morning...and -15 in the outer suburbs. It still looks like the coldest shot of air comes Thursday into Friday morning. Temperatures should plunge below zero Thursday...and could hit -15 to -20 Friday morning. Stay tuned as we tweak the magnitude off this week's arctic cold snap.
Late evening models runs tracking Thursday & Friday's clipper systems farther north. That will likely mean less snow for the metro. Thursday system may bring a coating to 1". Friday may bring another 1" to maybe 2" at the outside.
Also, GFS tonight backs off on severity and duration of arctic air late next week into next weekend. It may not get that cold, for that long...possible a couple of sub-zero nights late next week.
Get ready for a parade of Alberta Clippers.
The "tall ships" of weather are heading for Minnesota in a fast moving upper flow from the northwest.
Each system looks to bring a quick hitting shot of 1" to 2" of snowfall to Minnesota. In total the systems could lay down a total of 3" to 6" over the next week, before the mother lode of arctic air finally breaks off and heads south late next week.
Here's the rundown on what could be as many as 4 different clipper systems sailing through Minnesota over the next week.
Clipper #1: Thursday:
Timing: Snow pushes into eastern ND & NW MN in the morning. Snow spreads toward the metro by about lunchtime....pushing east into WI by around PM drive.
Intensity/duration/accumulation: Light snow intensity with a duration of about 3-4 hours. Accumulations around 1".
Primary impact: Metro: Post lunchtime and early PM rush Thursday.
Clipper #2: Friday:
Timing: Snow in eastern ND & western MN by lunchtime. Metro snow spreads west to east during late PM or early evening, with bulk of the snow Friday night.
Intensity/duration/accumulation: Quick onset & shot of more moderate snow intensity with a duration of about 6-7 hours. Accumulations centered on about 2". (Range 1.5" to 2.5"?)
Primary impact: Metro: Friday night travel. Slick roads linger early Saturday AM. Weekend temps look seasonably cold but not arctic. Metro highs in the teens Saturday. Lows near 0 Sunday morning with single digit highs Sunday PM.
Clipper #3: Monday:
Timing: Crystal ball gets murkier...and timing can easily be off on systems this far out. There could be a brief shot of light snow Sunday night, but the bulk of this clipper appears to arrive late Monday.
Intensity/duration/accumulation: Light snow with a duration of closer to 12 hours? Accumulations around 1-2".
Primary impact: Metro: Monday night & Tuesday AM rush.
Clipper #4: Wednesday?:
It's too far out to have credible detail, but it appears another inch of fluff is possible before the mother lode of arctic air surges south late next week.
Arctic outbreak to follow late next week?
The well advertised and somewhat delayed arctic outbreak appears to be on track for late next week into next weekend. (January 20th-25th)
A series of increasingly bitter chunks of arctic air should break off from the Arctic Circle and be driven south by a strong northwest jet stream late next week.
The GFS is still cranking out lows in the -20 to potentially -25 range for next weekend...with daytime highs struggling to reach -5 to -8.
If the GFS verifies, there could be a period of 48 hours plus of continuous sub zero temperatures in much of Minnesota including the metro.
Our latest "slow motion" version of "Snowmageddon 2010-2011" continues today.
Pesky, persistent light snow will fall in eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. At one point this morning snow was falling from Roseau and Ely all the way south into Tennessee.
While snow intensity has been light in the metro and much of northern Minnesota, it has piled up more quickly in southern Minnesota along the I-90 corridor.
Here are some totals from around Minnesota early Tuesday:
Winnebago & North Mankato 6.5"
Redwood Falls 5"
Albert Lea 4"
St. Cloud 2.5"
Silver Bay 1.3"
Brainerd & Embarrass 1"
Snowfall totals around the metro early Tuesday generally range from 1" (east) to 3"(SW) so far:
Chanhassen NWS 3.3"
Twin Cities Airport 2"
Forest Lake 1.3"
Expect spotty snow to continue today and wind down tonight. Most areas can expect up t another inch of accumulation...bringing overall metro snow totals into the 2" to 4" range by tonight.
Arctic Front this weekend: Siberian Express next week?
We catch a cooler break Wednesday from snowfall, with another shot at light snow both Thursday & Friday afternoon. Then things take a turn for the colder as we head for the weekend.
It appears our first arctic front may be a bit of a glancing blow this weekend. The front should push south Saturday, ushering in our first taste of arctic air. Lows may dip below zero this by Sunday morning with highs struggling to make the teens above zero this weekend.
Another clipper may slide through late Sunday into Monday with a few more inches of snow, and the potential for another snowy Monday morning rush hour.
It appears the "mother lode" of arctic air will come roaring south from the Yukon Territory behind the arctic front Monday evening. By Tuesday, bitterly cold air (probably winter's coldest air mass?) will invade Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.
It appears next Tuesday could be the coldest day so far this winter season with sub zero highs and overnight temperatures plunging to at least the teens below zero.
Temperatures may moderate some next Wednesday before another shot of bitter arctic air surges south later next week.
January Thaw on the horizon?
Often after bitter arctic outbreaks we see our January Thaw in Minnesota. As the bitterly cold air is (at least temporarily) drained out of Canada, upper winds often change and start blowing from the Pacific Ocean instead of the Yukon & Siberia.
The medium range forecast models are suggesting this pattern shift may occur in the January 25th- 30th time frame. It's still a long way out...but stay tuned for news of a potential warm front that could push temperatures toward 40 degrees as we head into the last days of January.
Weather fingers and toes crossed on that one!
A big lazy sprawling upper level low pressure center is feeding "snow globe" conditions in much of the central USA.
While not particularly intense, the prolonged snow shield with this system is huge. Snow is flying Monday from Tulsa to Thief River Falls.
We call these systems "inverted trofs" (NWS abbreviation for trough) on the weather map. These elongated areas of low pressure are not tightly wound up like the mega storms that can produce wind driven, hard hitting blizzards with heavy snow. But inverted trofs can be significant snow producers over time.
The slow moving system is slogging through the Midwest, and will continue to send waves of light to at times moderate snow into the Upper Midwest through Tuesday. The system is bucking drier air on the eastern side, and that may lead to spotty snowfall coverage at times from the metro north and east.
Heaviest snow from St. Peter to Glencoe Monday PM.
Some significant Minnesota totals:
There are some impressive (6"+!) snowfall totals from South Dakota, Iowa and southwest Minnesota already Monday afternoon.
Here are some snowfall totals as of Monday PM.
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SIOUX FALLS SD
325 PM CST MON JAN 10 2011
..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
1245 PM SNOW 1 N SPENCER 43.16N 95.15W
01/10/2011 M5.5 INCH CLAY IA CO-OP OBSERVER
0110 PM SNOW SIOUX CITY 42.50N 96.39W
01/10/2011 M12.2 INCH WOODBURY IA OFFICIAL NWS OBS
0120 PM SNOW MARION 43.42N 97.26W
01/10/2011 M6.5 INCH TURNER SD CO-OP OBSERVER
0125 PM SNOW GREGORY 43.23N 99.43W
01/10/2011 E5.0 INCH GREGORY SD CO-OP OBSERVER
0230 PM SNOW 3 SSE SIOUX FALLS 43.50N 96.71W
01/10/2011 M5.1 INCH MINNEHAHA SD TRAINED SPOTTER
SOUTHEAST SIOUX FALLS. STORM TOTAL.
0300 PM SNOW WINDOM 43.87N 95.12W
01/10/2011 E3.3 INCH COTTONWOOD MN CO-OP OBSERVER
0300 PM SNOW SIOUX FALLS 43.54N 96.73W
01/10/2011 M5.8 INCH MINNEHAHA SD AMATEUR RADIO
0306 PM SNOW BRUNSVILLE 42.81N 96.27W
01/10/2011 M8.3 INCH PLYMOUTH IA CO-OP OBSERVER
0315 PM SNOW VERMILLION 42.78N 96.93W
01/10/2011 M8.5 INCH CLAY SD CO-OP OBSERVER
0322 PM SNOW HURON 44.36N 98.22W
01/10/2011 M8.1 INCH BEADLE SD OFFICIAL NWS OBS
Closer to the metro, there are some 3"+ totals coming in from south central Minnesota.
Here's the data from Twin Cities NWS.
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
312 PM CST MON JAN 10 2011
..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
0300 PM SNOW LITCHFIELD 45.12N 94.53W
01/10/2011 M2.0 INCH MEEKER MN TRAINED SPOTTER
0.18 INCH LIQUID
0305 PM SNOW MANKATO 44.17N 93.99W
01/10/2011 M3.0 INCH BLUE EARTH MN TRAINED SPOTTER
0117 PM SNOW ST JAMES 43.98N 94.63W
01/10/2011 E3.5 INCH WATONWAN MN TRAINED SPOTTER
0114 PM SNOW WINNEBAGO 43.77N 94.17W
01/10/2011 E3.0 INCH FARIBAULT MN TRAINED SPOTTER
Here at the Huttner Weather Lab in the west metro, I measured just under an inch (.80") of "powdered sugar" snow as of 4pm Monday.
Expect the snow to continue through Tuesday as the system slogs slowly east. I still expect snowfall totals in the greater metro area of 2" to 4" inches by Tuesday night.
Heavier snowfall of 5" to 10" is possible in south central Minnesota.
Impressive snowfall totals over 1 foot are likely with this system in much of northern Iowa.
Extreme Cold Warnings:
As if we need another reason to question our sanity for living in Minnesota. NWS is rolling out a new warning. Get set for the "Extreme Cold Warning." Feels like an event in the "X-Games" for winter weather terminology.
Here's the scoop from the Twin Cities NWS:
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
1150 AM CST SAT JAN 8 2011
...EXPERIMENTAL USE OF EXTREME COLD WARNING TO START MONDAY...
BEGINNING MONDAY...JANUARY 10 2011...AND CONTINUING THROUGH APRIL 15
2011...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICES BASED IN THE DAKOTAS AND
MINNESOTA...INCLUDING CHANHASSEN...WILL BEGIN ISSUING AN
EXPERIMENTAL EXTREME COLD WARNING.
OCCASIONALLY...TEMPERATURES FALL WELL BELOW ZERO WITH LITTLE OR NO
WIND. CURRENTLY THE ONLY WAY TO HEADLINE VERY COLD TEMPERATURES IS
WITH THE USE OF WIND CHILL ADVISORIES OR WARNINGS. THE EXPERIMENTAL
EXTREME COLD WARNING WILL BE ISSUED IN THE RARE SITUATIONS WHEN AIR
TEMPERATURES FALL TO DANGEROUS LEVELS BUT THERE IS LITTLE OR NO WIND.
EXTREME COLD WARNINGS WILL BE ISSUED AS NON PRECIPITATION WEATHER
PRODUCTS...NPW...AND WILL USE THE VALID TIME EVENT CODE EC.W FOR
WIND CHILL ADVISORY...WIND CHILLS 25 BELOW TO 34 BELOW.
WIND CHILL WARNING...WIND CHILLS 35 BELOW OR COLDER.
EXTREME COLD WARNING...AIR TEMPERATURES 35 BELOW OR COLDER WITH
LITTLE IF ANY WIND.
THERE MAY BE SOME INSTANCES WHERE AN EXTREME COLD WARNING IS
ISSUED WHEN AIR TEMPERATURES ARE BETWEEN 30 BELOW AND 34 BELOW.
TIME OF YEAR...LENGTH OF OCCURRENCE AND IMPACT WILL BE SOME OF THE
CONSIDERATIONS IN THESE CASES.
IN ALL OF THESE CASES THE ABOVE CRITERIA WOULD NEED TO BE MET OVER
A WIDESPREAD AREA...NOT AN ISOLATED LOCATION...AND FOR A
SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TIME...AT LEAST SEVERAL HOURS.
COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS...
COMMENTS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE FOLLOWING WEB ADDRESS...
NWS CHANHASSEN EMAIL CONTACT AT TODD.KRAUSE@NOAA.GOV
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THIS PRODUCT AND OTHER EXPERIMENTAL
PRODUCTS CAN BE FOUND AT:
Thankfully I don't see us reaching the -35 criteria for any extreme cold warnings (even with our weekend arctic front) in the near future. You can let Todd Krause (one of the best!) at our local Chanhassen NWS know what you think of the criteria.
A major arctic outbreak is on the horizon, and it could bring the coldest air in 15 years to Minnesota.
The so called "Siberian Express" is a cross polar air flow that can deliver barbarically cold air to Minnesota from Siberia by way of the North Pole. The "Express" should arrive next weekend (by January 15-16), and could produce a prolonged cold wave of nearly one week.
It's still early and the models could change, but the latest model trends bring the mother lode of cold air into Minnesota in waves. The first wave surges south next weekend. The second and coldest wave of this battery draining, tree cracking arctic outbreak may surge south by about January 18th, and last until Friday January 21st before the cold eases.
Several model runs have been consistent in bringing the core of the coldest air right over Minnesota on about January 18 and 19, when temperatures could reach -25 in southern Minnesota and colder than -40 in the north. If we plunge to -25 in the metro, it would be the coldest air in about 15 years. A quick check of records shows that last time temperature plunged to -25 in the Twin Cities was February 2, 1996.
A major cold wave is likely on the horizon. Stay tuned as we try and pin down the timing and magnitude of the barbaric arctic outbreak over the next few days.
The good news is, after the cold wave there are hints at a possible January thaw by about January 23rd.
Next "micro clipper" Friday:
It looks like our next (and last) in a series of "micro clippers" will push into Minnesota overnight into Friday. The next system may have enough moisture to squeeze out another inch or so of arctic fluff in much of Minnesota by Friday PM.
Decent weekend; snow by Monday?
The weekend looks cold, but decent for Minnesota. Saturday & Sunday should feature plenty of sun (a few clouds on Sunday?) with highs in the single digits north and teens south, with sub-zero lows at night.
The next snow chance after Friday appears to be Monday into Tuesday. Models are split on the track of this system. Some suggest it may slide south, and some suggest the system has the potential to produce at least a couple of inches for the metro, with heavier totals in southwest Minnesota & Iowa.
As we say in the weather biz...stay tuned!
Radars are lighting up with snow across Minnesota once again today.
The next in our series of "micro clippers" is laying out another swath of light snow, and again it will be just enough to produce some greasy skid stuff today.
Expect the "snow globe" to last into the afternoon before tapering off later today. Most of the snow should fall between rush hours in the greater Twin Cities metro...but the system could still leave behind enough snow to slow down traffic heading into the PM rush hour.
Accumulations with this mini clipper should be light, generally under an inch. The next clipper may bring another dusting late Thursday into Friday.
At least it will feel a bit warmer out there in southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin today. Temperatures should approach 20 degrees as the clipper pulls in some slightly warmer air on the front side. It must be January if we think 20 degrees is "warmer!"
Temperatures will remain in the single digits above zero on the back side of the system in northern Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas.
Siberian Express ahead?
Somebody asked me the other day when that "week of brutal sub-zero weather" is headed our way. I regret to inform you, that I think I see the chunk of bitter arctic air that may deliver the coldest air in two years to Minnesota.
The medium range forecast maps are pretty consistent the past few runs that a huge chunk of bitterly cold sub-zero arctic air will migrate south from the Arctic Circle in about 10 days. This "Siberian Express" weather pattern may deliver bitter temperatures as cold as -20 in the metro, and -40 up north.
This may be the coldest arctic outbreak in two years. The last time it was that cold was in January of 2009 when temperatures plunged to -22 in the metro, and -42 in International Falls.
January Thaw to follow?
I've been scanning the weather maps in hopes of our legendary "January Thaw" and I think I may see light at the end of the tunnel. Often times after a bitter arctic outbreak, the weather pattern will compensate by pulling in some much milder air behind the bitter cold.
Looking way out in the medium range forecast....I think there is a glimmer of hope that could happen after the cold wave passes heading into the last week of January.
It's too early to say it will happen for sure...but at least there's hope for those who would like a break from sub freezing (and sub zero) temperatures.
Hang in there!
Welcome to a real January in Minnesota.
A big spinning pool of frigid low pressure called the "polar vortex" is large and in charge this month Canada and the northern USA. The polar vortex roams around the far north in winter, but migrates southward at times. When it does, the slowly spinning whirl deals Minnesota and the Upper Midwest bouts of cold and (generally light) snow.
The polar vortex today is swirling over Hudson Bay and looks to be in no big hurry to move on this month.
You can think of the polar vortex as a big bicycle wheel of low pressure. It spins slowly, and each time one of the "spokes" passes overhead, it brings a shot of light snow. These clipper like spokes generally deliver a dusting of arctic fluff.
Snowy PM Drive today:
The next spoke in the polar vortex wheel is spinning through Minnesota today. Look for a swath of snow to spread from west to east today from near Ortonville and Morris this morning eastward to the Twin Cities by mid afternoon.
Snow accumulations should generally be light, with around an inch expected for much of central and southern Minnesota. Where snow is persistent in some areas, a little more could accumulate...a little less in other areas.
With surface and pavement temps in the teens, it won't take long for roads to ice up today. Expect icy road conditions to develop today from west to east, and PM drive in the metro could produce some slick & slow travel. This will be a light snow by recent "storm" standards...but could have a higher impact due to the cold temperatures.
Long range outlook: Arctic outbreak ahead?
All atmospheric signs point to continued cold and bouts of snow for the next two weeks. As much as I'd like to see a warm up, I just don't see it in the cards though mid-month. In fact, there are signs of a significant arctic outbreak later next week, around or after January 13-15th.
If the medium range models verify, we could see sub-zero air and bitter wind chills lock in for a few days to a week over most of Minnesota and much of the eastern USA by late next week. The cold may push all the way south to Florida once again. Minnesota (including the metro) may not climb above zero for a few days if this pattern takes hold.
Slight chance of a "January Thaw" on the far horizon?
There are some (very slight) hints at a possible January thaw around or after the 20th.
As the core of the coldest arctic air drains south out of Canada in winter, it is often replaced by a much milder Pacific air mass. It's still iffy, but there are some signs that could happen around or after January 20th.
Weather fingers & toes crossed on that one. In the mean time expect a shot of snow this afternoon & evening and real January cold to dominate through mid-month.
Stay tuned, and stay warm!
Posted at 5:33 PM on December 7, 2010
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Cold
After a mild and wild weather year, Old Man Winter set up shop early this year. And that was just the appetizer. The main course rolls in with the season's first real arctic outbreak this weekend.
What esle would you expect in this wacky "anything goes" weather year that is 2010?
Two clippers may clip Minnesota over the next few days.
The first will sail through northern Minnesota Thursday. It looks like the low center will track along the Canadian border, and bring the best shot of snow to the North Country, where 2" to 4" could fly Thursday.
Southern Minnesota will be on the edge of Thursday clipper. It looks like the system may brush the metro and much of southern Minnesota with an inch or so. It also looks like the system will pull in enough mild air to bring a shot of freezing drizzle along with the snow, which could slick up roads Thursday.
A second clipper preceding a shot of arctic air may squeeze out some more light snow this weekend.
Siberian Express on the way: The coldest air of the season so far appears headed for Minnesota this weekend. This looks to be the first true arctic outbreak for southern Minnesota and the metro, which has not yet felt sub zero air this season. Northern Minnesota has already seen lows in the teens below zero, including a healthy -19 in International Falls Tuesday morning!
The first real tree cracking, battery draining air mass will pour south into the metro this weekend. Highs may not climb out of the single digits above zero Sunday through Tuesday...and overnight lows could be sub-zero all three mornings. Wind chills will be well below zero.
One more chance Thursday to drain those hose faucets and have your car battery looked at before the real Minnesota brand of arctic air locks in.
Wish I had better news in the forecast. It just is what it is this time of year in Minnesota.
Welcome to Decemberrrrr.
We're almost a full week into the month, and so far December is bucking the trend of warmth in Minnesota in 2010. 7 of the past 8 months have featured above average temperatures in Minnesota. This month, temperatures in the Twin Cities are running a full 8 degrees below average!
It all began with the first snowless March on record for many Minnesota locations. Here's the lowdown on monthly temperatures in the metro (which mirror most of Minnesota) this year.
2010 temps vs. average at MSP Airport (F)
December -8 (so far)
That makes 8 months above average, and 3 months within 1 degree below average this year so far. Even with a cold December, Minnesota will finish the year with well above average temperatures for 2010.
Mirrors global trend in 2010:
In spite of a cold December in much of the northern hemisphere, it looks like 2010 will go down as one of the warmest years on record globally. Here's the data through October of 2010 from NOAA. (November data is due in next week)
"The combined global average land and ocean surface temperature for the January-October period tied with 1998 as the warmest such period on record. This value is 0.63°C (1.13°F) above the 20th century average."
During October, warmth was most pronounced in Canada and the USA, and in Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Europe saw cooling as did the tropical Pacific, which reflects the growing La Nina.
Overall the global warmth in 2010 marks yet another year that rivals the hottest year on record in 1998 and 2005. Even with a chilly December in much of the northern hemisphere, we remain at or near the warmest temperature levels in the past 131 years plus, with no sign of a "global cooling" trend according to NOAA data.
Florida freeze continues:
Meanwhile the weather in Florida (and yes, there is a difference between climate and weather!) continues to bring freezing temperatures to critical citrus growing areas. (Can you say higher O.J. prices at the store soon?)
Locations such as Ocala in north central Florida dipped to 28 degrees this morning, and another frosty night is on tap tonight into Wednesday morning.
While 28 degrees would be welcome to most Minnesotans this week, it's a big deal in northern Florida, where citrus farmers scramble to deal with freezing weather.
Enjoy the rare sun today, and quiet but cold weather through Wednesday. I'm still keeping an eye on a clipper that may graze Minnesota Thursday.
Get ready for a busy weather week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Our weather pattern is moving rapidly these days courtesy of the fast moving Polar Front Jet Stream overhead. Jet stream winds are roaring over Minnesota at 150mph+ these days, and the rapidly moving jet stream is zipping a series of weather systems through Minnesota in the next week.
The change will culminate with a deep polar vortex settling in over Minnesota by Thanksgiving Day, bringing the coldest weather in nearly 9 months to Minnesota.
Though I don't see any whopper snow totals like we had last weekend in Minnesota, the timing of the snow (during the work week and busy pre-Thanksgiving travel period) will mean a much greater impact for travel Thanksgiving week. Colder pavement temperatures will also mean MNDOT road chemicals won't work as well...so expect slippery roads as bouts of snow hitting frozen roads.
Let's break down the forecast (and snow chances) over the next week. Timing and magnitude could change by Monday!
Saturday: Sunshine early, fading sun PM as clouds move in. High 25. Chance of a shot of light snow (a quick 1"?) or freezing drizzle between 9pm and 3am Sunday morning. Roads could be slick late Saturday night.
Sunday: The mildest day of the next week! Light wintery mix to drizzle...milder. High near 40!
Monday: A shot of light snow possible midday and PM.
(another 1"-2"?) Could gum up the PM rush hour Monday. High near 32.
Tuesday: Possible (dry) break between systems. Colder. High 25.
Wednesday: Snow looks likely. Looks now like the biggest snow of the week. Early (too early?) look SUGGESTS a general snowfall range of between 2" and 5" in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. This could gum up PM rush hour in the metro, pre-Thanksgiving road travel in the region, and possible cause some delays at MSP for air travel. High near 21.
Thanksgiving Day & Black Friday: Full blown arctic outbreak! Snow should be gone, but bitter northwest winds will blast in the coldest air of the season. Roads could still be icy in spots.
Highs only in the teens south, single digits above zero north. Lows below zero north, zero to +5 south. Wind chills well below zero in all of Minnesota.
This is a bit early for an arctic outbreak in Minnesota, but not unprecedented by any means. If the high is 21 degrees Thanksgiving Day it will be the coldest in 5 years. If highs in the teens verify it could be the coldest Thanksgiving Day in 21 years, when the Thanksgiving Day high was just 18 degrees!
Saturday & Sunday: Lighter winds, some moderation in temps but it will still feel like February. Highs in the 20s, lows single digits above and below zero (north).
My winter "common sense" to do list just got bigger at the weather lab this weekend. You may want to consider the same.
-Check the air pressure in the car tires
-Get the winter survival kit in the car
-Stock up on sidewalk salt
-Get the holiday lights done this weekend (it will be too cold next weekend)
-Check the furnace filter (and smoke detector batteries) and replace if necessary
-Make a mental list of my older relatives & neighbors who may need help in the coming weeks
The good news is the long range models are hinting at a possible thaw around December 1st. We may not be done with some relatively milder weather just yet...but get ready for our first shot of real winter weather with "attention getting" cold to boot!
Enjoy the weekend!
More on Monday as we ramp up weather coverage on MPR news stations.
Welcome to Minnesota. Land of weather extremes.
Only here does the weather flip from balmy temps near 70 degrees to a foot of snow in less than a week. Now get set for the next chapter...our first arctic cold wave of the 2010-11 winter season.
Cold air is pooling in northern Canada these days. Temperatures have plunged to 20 below zero in north central Canada around the Arctic Circle. As the upper level winds buckle late next week all indications are that a surge of arctic air will plunge south straight toward Minnesota.
This will likely bring the season's coldest air mass so far, and the coldest temperatures since last February to Minnesota by Black Friday. We could feel bitter arctic winds and wind chill in the sub zero range by Thanksgiving weekend.
Arctic air masses like to "pave the way" with fresh snow cover.
The medium range forecast models are hinting at two potential snow chances for Minnesota in the next week or so.
The first wave may come as warm air pushes in over Minnesota Sunday. As the warm air pushes over a relatively colder air mass near the surface, it creates what we weather geeks like to call "overrunning." This may bring steady snow to northern Minnesota Sunday, while the metro and southern Minnesota basks in near 40 degree warmth.
The models are unclear on a potential snow chance Monday for southern Minnesota at this point.
The next (and bigger) chance for snow may come Thanksgiving Day. The models are spinning up a low near Chicago. If it happens that would put heavy snow across Wisconsin Thanksgiving Day, and could clip the southeast part of Minnesota... and maybe the metro. Stay tuned on that one.
Here's the forecast as we head through the next week or so.
Today: Mixed sun & clouds. High 37 metro & south. Low 30s north.
Wind NW 5-15 mph. Colder tonight with low in the teens!
Thursday: Mostly sunny & colder. High 31 metro, 20s north. Light winds becoming south late. Steady to rising temps overnight.
Friday: Partly sunny, breezy & milder. Highs near 40 metro & south. 30s north.
Saturday: Chilly AM sun...clouds increase PM. High 35 south, 20s north.
Sunday: Milder. Chance of snow north. Partial sun south. Highs near 40 south, 30s north.
Thanksgiving Week Outlook:
Slight chance of snow Monday, better chance Thanksgiving Day for far eastern Minnesota. Major winter storm possible in Wisconisn. Turning MUCH colder. Highs by Friday in the teens south, single digits north. Sub-zero wind chills!
There are some signs temps may moderate the first week of December. Hang in there!
Surf's up in Ireland?
Check out the amazing video of surfers riding huge 40 foot "prowlers" off the coast of Ireland in a secret undisclosed location. Ireland, surf capitol of the world? Who knew?