Siberian Express: -25? Coldest in 15 years?

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.

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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.

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GFS Surface chart for December 19th shows core of arctic high pressure moving into Minnesota.

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!


  • Bill

    So if I’m interpreting that graphic correctly, the best place to escape the cold wave might be Southern California?

  • Paul Huttner

    Hi Bill:

    Yes, that looks like the warmest spot…although it may be just average for SoCal. Cold will get to Miami eventually.

    Gotta be better than here though!


  • Dave

    It should make for an interesting Boundary Waters trip. We head in next Thursday for 3 nights…

  • Joe Flannery


    Love the weather blog and all the effort you put into informing us, but I hate the typos (see below).

    “It’s still early and the modles could change…”

    “The first wave suges south…”

    “…and last until Friday January 21st beofre the cold eases.”

    “…over Minnesota about January 18th &19th…”



  • Norris Klesman

    Gee, I thought MPR was supposed to provide statewide coverage of weather.

    Virtually everything I’ve read on your blog is 7 county metro centric. Since I live up on the Canadian border, I’m more concerned with what it will be like up here, NOT in the banana belt of the Twin Cities. -25, that would be like a day at the beach if your prediction is even close to right.

    Another reason for those of use in rural Minnesota, especially up in the northern part of the state to use other media as a source of information.

  • Eric

    According to the 8-14 temp outlook graph we should head to Canada as the blue colors indicating cold weather stop just 10-20 miles inside the border. Glad the cold stops near the border.