Frigid air will ease with wintry mix in southeast Minnesota Sunday

Perhaps there is a little rush of excitement about the moderation in temperatures for the weekend. Indeed, the arctic air pushes east on Saturday night.

A cold start is expected for you Saturday morning.

As winds diminish tonight and skies clear, look for temperatures to drop sharply over the snow-covered landscape of northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

Overnight low temperatures are expected to be well below zero across central and northern Minnesota.

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The National Weather Service in Duluth has been tracking the cold spell and posted this table of temperatures and wind chill readings. You can view the summary by clicking here.

Several inches of snow accumulated in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin overnight and this morning. More than 6 inches accumulated near Grand Marais, with 4.4 inches at International Falls.

The Duluth Airport measured just shy of 3 inches from overnight to midday.

Chicago finally recorded its first 1-inch snowfall of the winter season this morning with 1.1 inches measured at O’Hare Aiport, the official reporting spot for the Windy City. This puts an end to the streak of the longest period without a 1-inch snowfall in Chicago.

From the National Weather Service in Chicago, issued at 9:49 a.m. CST today:

MOST CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITHOUT ONE INCH OF SNOWFALL IN CHICAGO:

RANK # OF DAYS END OF STREAK

————————————

1. 335 JAN 25 2013

2. 319 JAN 6 1940

3. 315 DEC 7 1958

4. 307 DEC 30 1931

5. 305 JAN 15 2002

THE SEASONAL TOTAL SNOWFALL FOR CHICAGO THROUGH 930 AM THIS MORNING NOW STANDS AT 2.8 INCHES.

The Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport has measured only 17.4 inches for the season, which is more than 14 inches below normal.

One of the wonders of nature is the occurrence of sun pillars often observed near sunrise or sunset on very cold mornings. This image was captured in South Dakota by Nick Heitkamp earlier this week.

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Image:Nick Heitkamp

The light pillar looks like a thin column that extends vertically above and/or below the source of light. The light pillar is prominently visible when the sun is low on the horizon. It normally forms an arc that extends from 5 to 10 degrees beyond the solar disc. Light pillars are formed by reflection from ice crystals.

Other men’s grass is always, well … snow free before mine. Check out the difference in the remaining snow cover in my neck of the woods.

Neighbor’s house with a south facing lawn.

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My yard, across from the neighbors, facing north.

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The low angle of the sun targets the rays to south facing slopes and accelerates the melting as well as the sublimation of snow cover.

Not much warmth was provided by the January sun today, and the brisk winds dropped the wind chill readings well below zero in portions of MInnesota. I heard a couple of comments today that the cold is more tolerable when there is plenty of sunshine. You agree?

A wintry mix is expected to develop over southeast Minnesota late Saturday and into Sunday. The Twin Cities metro area once again appears to be on the northern edge of the precipitation shield. Temperatures will climb to around 32 on Sunday afternoon..

The GFS model from noon paints the precipitation up to the metro area on Sunday afternoon and into the early evening.

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GFS forecast precipitation for six hour period ending at 6 p.m. Sunday. This is water equivalent of snow/sleet/freezing rain and rain. Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

Another shot of very cold air ushered in by accumulating snow will arrive in the Great Lakes region on Tuesday night. Temperatures will tumble and wind chills will be dangerously frigid.

Overnight lows forecast by NWS valid on Thursday morningwednesdaylow.png

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