Coldest February Start. Low temperatures across the Twin Cities Metro Saturday morning dropped to between -6 at the airport to -14 in Chaska. Falling into the category of what we Minnesotans refer to as character-building cold. It was not the coldest low temperatures we’ve meet up with in 2016. From Jan. 16 to Jan. 19 the lows were in the upper single digits below zero to the mid-teens below zero. In the winter of 2015-16 temperatures have dropped to below zero 10 times so far. Look at the winter of 2013-14 in the graph below, we went to below zero 53 times. I looked at our energy bill from that January and compared it to this year’s, $200 less.

Courtesy: State Climatology office.

With the worst of this modified Arctic air changing and a warmer air mass from the Rockies and Plains trying to push east, temperatures should not be nearly as cold Sunday morning. Look for increasing clouds this evening and overnight with lows between 0 and 10 degrees.

 

Bitter cold temperatures being felt across Eastern Canada and the Eastern half of the U.S. Courtesy: @CBCnews  

Shovels or snowblowers. Chief Meteorologist Paul Huttner, Ron Trenda, Bill Enderson and myself have been keeping you up to date on the snow potential for Sunday. Based on the latest weather models, the snowfall forecast for the Twin Cities doesn’t need to be changed. Snow could accumulate to one to two inches over the northeastern half of the metro area. Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids and Forest Lake could fall more in that shovel snow category. If you live southwest of a Plymouth to Hastings line, the potential of two to three inches is far greater, but not expected to be widespread. While the shovel will still do the job just fine, the snow could be deep enough that a little horsepower might make the job easier.

Couldn’t resist this kid battery-powered CAT dozer shared on Twitter by @todayshow  Wonder how it would handle our cold temperatures and snow.  

Growers happy. The storm will track from eastern Montana, southeast to northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin in the next 48 hours. There has been very limited snow cover for much of the winter in south central North Dakota and the eastern half of South Dakota. Crop producers and cattle farmers need the moisture to put them in better position with soil moisture come spring. Topsoil moisture the past three months in these area has been evaporating more than usual without the snow cover.

 

This map shows the area with the highest probability of snow accumulation of more than two inches through Sunday morning. Courtesy: National Weather Service

Record Earthquake. Oklahoma late Saturday morning may have felt the third largest earthquake in the state’s history. The good news is no major reports of damage were reported. Shaky ground is nothing new to the state. On average, Oklahoma has two earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater per year.

 

Thaw starts Monday:  An air mass behind this Alberta Clipper arrives with significantly less Arctic air. Fresh snow cover to a small degree hinder Monday’s high temperatures, but we could see highs at least in the upper 20s or close to 32 degrees. Looking out to Wednesday through next Sunday, a warm chunk of air that is bringing record warmth to the desert southwest this weekend inches eastward, pushing high temperatures well above average. Maybe, just maybe, the ground hog knew a little something about an early spring.

 

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