Now that’s a cold front!

Those cutting northwest winds are the delivery system for the coldest air mass of the fall season so far. Temperatures may not reach 40 degrees over most of Minnesota this Halloween. Yes, it looks like this will indeed be the coldest Halloween in 8 years.

Polar fleece mandatory under the costume this year.

Weatherspark
  • 49 degrees high at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Wednesday
  • 51 degrees average high temperature for Halloween
  • 39 degrees forecast high temperature for Halloween at airport
  • 36 degrees high on Oct. 31, 2006 (last Halloween colder than 2014)

Here’s the 48 hour map loop. You don’t need a meteorology degree to see the “packed” isobars driving gusty northwest winds into Minnesota as the center of high pressure settles in by Friday night.

NOAA

The cold calm air means hard freezes likely even in the Twin Cities metro core Friday and Saturday mornings. Winds reverse and turn southerly by the weekend. That should boost temps back into the 50s by Sunday afternoon. All in all? Not a bad first weekend in November!

Weatherspark

Lake effect snow season?

Yes, it should be cold enough for some lake-effect along the south shores of Lake Superior. Welcome to winter.

Weather Wars: US still lags in supercomputer power

The rich get richer so to speak. Two years after the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts nailed the eventual track of Hurricane Sandy toward the Jersey Shore days in advance of U.S. models, U.S. forecasters are still playing catch up.

NASA/NOAA

Here’s more from Mashable’s Andrew Freedman on where the US stands as Europe continues to upgrade and increase it’s lead on U.S. weather computing power.

Now, two years after that monstrous storm, the same computing gap remains — in some cases growing even wider. In addition, the Weather Service is trying to shore up even more basic elements of its infrastructure, like satellites and computer networks. These issues raise the question of whether the agency is ready to face another Sandy.

This track was unprecedented in the modern history of Atlantic hurricanes, and it wasn’t until days after the ECMWF model (also known as the “Euro”) showed the ominous left turn that the Americans’ GFS computer model came into agreement with its European counterpart, giving forecasters greater confidence in sounding the alarm.

The accurate forecasts likely saved lives and money, as families and companies were able to take protective measures. Still, nearly 150 people died and the storm cost at least $70 billion.

After the storm, the U.S. meteorology community focused on the shortcomings in its computing power compared to the ECMWF and other international centers, and this sometimes harsh self-assessment continues.