Over the river and through the woods.
So much to be thankful for, grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. A great weather year. Loving family and so many great friends. Awesome devoted listeners and Updraft readers at MPR. Some days it seems like I can never give enough to balance all the gifts I’ve been given. So today I’ll just start with gratitude.
Our weather timing includes a wintry mix this Thanksgiving across Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Travelers from the metro south and east can expect some moderate travel issues Thanksgiving Day and evening. Again, this is not a big system by Minnesota winter standards, but factor in a little icy mix and light snow in your Thanksgiving travel plans please.
Here’s the inbound system. A low pressure wave trails a cold front through Minnesota Thanksgiving Day. The resulting mix of icy precipitation and snow should be enough to produce some snow-covered and slick roads, especially southeast of the Twin Cities. Chilly high pressure builds in for a cooler Black Friday and Saturday.
For the Twin Cities, a coating in the northwest metro, to an inch or two southeast seems like the most likely outcome by Thanksgiving night.
Winter weather advisories are out for a swath of southeast Minnesota into Wisconsin south and east of the Twin Cities. A wintry mix transitions to what could be a period of moderate snow from the metro southeast.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…FARIBAULT…RED WING…WASECA…OWATONNA…FAIRMONT…BLUE EARTH…ALBERT LEA…PRESCOTT…MENOMONIE…DURAND…CHIPPEWA FALLS…EAU CLAIRE
337 PM CST WED NOV 25 2015
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 9 PM CST THURSDAY…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM TO 9 PM CST THURSDAY.
* EXPECT A WINTRY MIX TO DEVELOP AROUND 6 AM THURSDAY AND THEN DIMINISH AROUND 9 PM THURSDAY.
* LOOK FOR REDUCED VISIBILITIES AT TIMES.
* TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF UP TO 2 INCHES AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF A GLAZE ARE EXPECTED.
* PLAN ON SLIPPERY ROAD CONDITIONS.
Here’s the view for northeast Minnesota from the Duluth NWS.
Late snowfall this year
Snowfall is late to the party this year in the Twin Cities. It looks like this will lend up as one of the top 7 latest years for our first measurable snow. Here’s more from the Twin Cities NWS.
Through November 22nd, the Twin Cities has yet to have a day where measurable snowfall was observed (at least a tenth of an inch), making this one of the latest starts to the snow season on record (1888 to present). On average, the Twin Cities sees its first measurable snowfall November 4th.
Milder than last Thanksgiving
Remember last Thanksgiving? We bottomed out at -4 in the Twin Cities. I was already playing hockey outside with my pond hockey friends this time last year.
Here’s a good look at historical Thanksgiving climatology from the Minnesota Climate Working Group.
Because Thanksgiving Day occurs at the transition period between autumn and winter, Thanksgiving weather can be balmy to brutal. A typical Thanksgiving Day in the Twin Cities has high temperatures in the 30’s and at least a bit of filtered sunshine.
Having a mild day in the 50’s on Thanksgiving Day is relatively rare, looking at the historical record back to 1872. A maximum of 50 or more has happened only eleven times in 143 years, or about once every 13 years or so. The warmest Thanksgiving Day is a tie of 62 degrees in 1914 and 1922. The mildest recent Thanksgiving Day was 60 degrees on November 22, 2012. This tied 1939 as the third warmest Thanksgiving back to 1872 for the Twin Cities.
On the other side of the spectrum it is common to have a high temperature below 32. The average Thanksgiving Day temperature is right around freezing. What about extremely cold Thanksgivings? Looking at the past 141 years, it is a little more likely to have a minimum at or below zero on Thanksgiving Day, as it is to have a maximum of 50 or above. Below-zero lows have occurred ten times in the past 141 years. The coldest Thanksgiving Day minimum temperature was 18 degrees below zero on November 25, 1880. The coldest high temperature was one below zero on November 28, 1872. The last time it was below zero on the morning of Thanksgiving was in 2014, with four below zero. 2014 had the coldest Thanksgiving high temperature since 1930 with a temperature of 10 degrees.
Black Friday chill
You’ll feel the colder air this weekend. At least the sun returns! I think Sunday’s high temperatures on the chart below are a good 5 degrees too conservative. The next chance of light snow arrives Monday and Tuesday.
Seeley: 3rd warmest November for Minnesota?
A few excerpts from Dr. Mark Seeley’s Weather Talk this week.
Through the first 25 days of November temperatures have been averaging well above normal. It is likely that this month will conclude in a manner that will rank it among the top three warmest Novembers in Minnesota history, likely falling short of the warmest ever which occurred in 2001. Over 40 communities reported at least one day this month with an afternoon temperature of 70°F or higher. In all 33 new daily maximum temperature records were set within the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Network in Minnesota, and 145 daily warm minimum temperature records were set, a remarkably large number. No low temperature records were set anywhere in the state this month. The coldest measured temperature so far this month in the state is -1°F at Cotton (St Louis County) and Isabella (Lake County) on November 22nd.
Urban heat island study: Inner metro core 9 degrees warmer than outlying suburbs?
Here’s some good documentation of a topic we talk about often on Morning Edition. The Twin Cities urban heat island is significant.
Topic: New study of Metro Twin Cities Heat Island
The University of Minnesota Discover web site recently featured a study of the urban heat island associated with the Twin Cities Metro Area. Results from this study were recently published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology (authors B. Smoliak, P. Snyder, T. Twine, P. Mykleby, and W. Hertel). Some of the results show that the urban heat island of the Twin Cities is stronger at night than during the day in the summer months, while in the winter it is stronger during the day. The urban heat island also produced temperatures at times that were 9°F warmer than surrounding areas during July of 2012. Read more at…
Milder again by Sunday
Winter weather may be a high demand holiday item this year. Our unseasonably mild, likely El Nino-driven November is having a hard time hanging onto anything winter related. We warm up again by Sunday afternoon as the mercury pushes 40 degrees once again.
The longer range outlook continues to paint red hues across the maps. Here’s NOAA’s new three-week experimental temperature outlook. I agree with the notion of (significantly?) milder than average temperatures overall into mid-December.
A slightly White Thanksgiving and touch-and-go for a White Christmas this year?