December Bucks El Nino Trend: So far…


NOAA CPC 6-10 day outlook hints at above average temperatures for parts of Minnesota.

Below average temperatures so far this month buck the trend of above average Decembers during moderate El Nino years in Minnesota. So far this month temperatures are running about 4 degrees cooler than average in the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota. If we finish the month below average, it will be the first time that has occurred in the metro in a moderate (Tropical Pacific SST’s +1.2 to +1.8 degrees) El Nino year since 1950.

Including this morning’s snowfall, we’ve recorded 9.6″ of snow this month at Twin Cities Airport. That approaches the average monthly total for December which is 10 inches. It appears likely we may exceed that total with half the month left to go.

For the season we’ve recorded 12.4″ so far. Average to date is 14.5″. So we’re running -2.1″ season to date.

Cold air returns this week:

A fresh blast of arctic air is blowing in on the heels of Monday’s fresh blanket of 1″ to 3″ of snow. Look for temperatures to drop to about -6 tonight in the Twin Cities and as cold as -15 to -25 in northern Minnesota. Wind chills will plunge to -10 to -20 in the south and may reach -30 in northern Minnesota tonight.

The cold will ease quickly Wednesday as southerly winds return. look for highs to return to near average levels in the mid 20’s in southern Minnesota by mid-week.

Milder pattern to close December?

There are signs that the jet stream may lift north into Canada later this month. That should allow temperatures to moderate, and limit cold arctic air incursions into Minnesota. The magnitude of the change is still unclear at this point, but trends point to a milder last 10 days of December.

Stay tuned.


  • Nathan

    Where’s your global warming now, Huttner? 🙂

  • Disco

    The longterm forecast as of December 1st was a mild mid-December. Well, that obviously failed. So why should anyone believe this outlook?

  • Jason

    To both comments thus far: look at the long term. Global warming is not determined by day to day variations. These models are statistical likelihoods. For this map in Northern MN, it predicts a 1/3 chance of above average temps. So that does not necessary mean it is wrong if it is near normal. On top of that, for how many times and places have these maps been right?

  • Nancy

    Thanks for all this weather info; since moving to MN two years ago, I’m a weather nut! missed the program Sunday night, any way to rehear it?

  • Nathan

    Jason- My comment was a reference to something Paul Huttner said on his weather show last night on MPR regarding what people say to him when the weather gets colder. Obviously, there’s a difference between weather and climate. And the scientific record on climate changes is pretty clear.

  • Richard Hjort

    Excellent program yesterday. Well put together and no “beating around the bush”. You told it the way it is.

    I was pleased to hear that. All your guests were very interesting. I hope you do more like this.

    Thank you . Richard Hjort

  • Anne

    Paul, I just won a week’s pass to a HEATED INDOOR GARAGE at work. YIPPEE!!!

    Which week of Jan/Feb 2010 should I select if I want to avoid parking outside during coldest week of the Minneapolis winter?

    Thanks much.

  • Paul Huttner



    I think we’re all a little jealous.

    I wish I could steer you to the perfect week, but there is no way to pinpoint one week with accuracy weeks in advance. Climatologically the coldest week of the year is the 3rd week in January. However we can also have our January thaw then.

    If it was my spot, I’d probably pick the second week in January or the first week in February.

    Either way, congratulations and good luck!


  • Paul Huttner

    Thanks Richard:

    There should be a link up to the show today or tomorrow. I’ll let everybody know.

    It was fun to cover some serious ground with the great lists of guests. It’s wonderful to talk with such great weather minds.

    Thanks for listening!