Minn-Arctica: Coldest day in 4 years; Cold peaks Tuesday AM; +33F by Sunday?

-10F at MSP this morning

Feb 10, 2011 nearly 2 years since we were this cold at MSP (-11F)

1st subzero daytime high in 4 years at MSP Airport

-26F at Crane Lake this morning

-47F wind chill at Grand Marais Airport at 7 am this morning

5 to 10 degrees colder Tuesday AM as cold wave peaks

Cold hangs tough with sub-zero lows into Thursday

Moderation by Friday as cold eases

33F by Sunday as temps moderate?

40s for Inauguration in Washington D.C today

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Minn-Arctica: Coldest day of winter today?

We knew it was coming sooner or later. It’s finally here. What may be the coldest day of the 2012-’13 winter has arrived. Temps will struggle to reach 0F in southern Minnesota this MLK Day. Northern Minnesota will likely not see zero until Thursday or Friday in some areas.

Tangled Up In Blue:

There’s plenty of blue (and purple) on the weather maps today as arctic air oozes south all the way to Oklahoma and Arkansas.

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Image: University of Illinois

It’s the wind, stupid:

Biting northwest winds are putting the chill in the air today. I saw -47F wind chill in Grand Marais this morning.

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That’s respectable, even in Minnesota….even with the revised wind chill chart from a few years ago.

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It’s been a long time since we’ve seen wind chill levels this low. You know the narrative. “It’s Minnesota. We’re tough. This is nothing compared to the 70s blah blah yada yada.”

These are dangerous, even life threatening wind chill levels folks. Your exposed skin doesn’t care how tough you think you are. Frostbite times can be as low as 5 to 10 minutes if you’re caught outside unprotected today.

Be smart.

Cold Wave peaks Tuesday AM:

The coldest temps overall with this arctic blast will occur Tuesday morning. Expect tomorrow to be about 5F to 10F colder in most areas. That should mean some -30F reading up north. Twin Cities? I could see us “peak” around -15F to -18F at MSP Airport Tuesday morning before temps begin to moderate.

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M….M….Moderation Ahead: Hang in there!

After peaking around -15F Tuesday morning in the metro, temps will slowly moderate this week. It’s baby steps this week….sub-zero mornings punctuated by daytime highs staggering above zero. Next weekend will feel remarkably nice. 20s Saturday and lower 30s Sunday may feel like a heat wave.

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From -31F wind chill this morning to +32 Sunday? It will feel about 63F warmer by Sunday. Something to look forward to.

“Sudden Stratospheric Warming” event may mean winter hangs tough for a few weeks:

I’m not sure what the Groundhog will say this year, but if he’s been watching the arctic, he may forecast 6 more weeks of winter.

Our recent “sudden stratospheric warming” event over the North Pole may have been the trigger for our arctic outbreak, as polar air is displaced southward into Minnesota.

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These events can last 4-8 weeks…and change weather patterns accordingly. We’ll see moderating temps this weekend, but the longer view seems to favor respectable “winter” temperatures for the next few weeks.

The overnight GFS is hinting at another…potentially colder outbreak around February 1st. This is probably overdone, but I don’t think we’re done with sub-zero mornings just yet after this week.

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Stay tuned, & stay warm!

PH

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