Winter’s halftime report card; Major arctic outbreak 1 week away?

Chill eases this week as milder air gradually slides into Minnesota

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Coldest week of the year on average this week in Minnesota

Halftime January 15th marks the “halfway point” of meteorological winter (Dec-Feb)

1 day below zero so far this winter (-5 on January 1st)

23 days on average at or below zero during an “average” winter in the Twin Cities (1981-2010 data)

-32F this morning at Thompson, Manitoba just north of Lake Winnipeg

Arctic Outbreak? Coldest air so far this winter forecast coming south by next Monday

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Image: Pal Huttner – MPR News

Candy Coated Winter:

The weekend chill left a wintery candy coating of ice and light snow around Minnesota. Our weekend cold front left little doubt after last week’s mega-thaw that it is still mid January.

6 days in a row above freezing?

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Image: Twin Cities NWS

Now that’s a January thaw. We peaked at a misty 41F late Friday evening, before temps crashed as the arctic front returned us to reality by Saturday morning.

Chill eases this week:

This week will gradually feel less brittle as temps moderate starting Tuesday. Polar air will retreat into Canada under a milder Pacific flow by Wednesday.

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Our micro-thaw may return for a few hours Wednesday afternoon a temps briefly climb over the freezing mark.

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Image: NOAA via Iowa State University

Outbreak: Coldest air so far this winter season likely next week

All signs and models point to a major arctic outbreak by next Monday.

There’s plenty of cold air up in Canada, and you knew it would eventually spill south of the border. Eventually appears to be next Monday according to both he GFS and Euro models.

How cold is it up north?

Check out Environment Canada’s (Canada’s NOAA) forecast for Thompson, Manitoba north of Lake Winnipeg, where it was a battery testing -32F this morning.

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Image: Environment Canada

The blob of bitter air will last all week just north of Minnesota…where temps will not climb above zero for at least a week.

Our milder Pacific flow will buckle this weekend, and by Monday a full blown shot of arctic air appears to be coming down from Minnesota east into the Great Lakes.

How cold?

It depends which mode you believe…but the GFS is cranking out 5 mornings in a row of sub-zero temps starting next Monday…with 3 straight days of sub-zero highs next Monday-Wednesday. The GFS peaks with -24F in the metro next Wednesday AM.

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Image: NOAA GFS via wxcaster.com

The Euro is a little more forgiving, but still pushes temps well below zero at night next week.

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Image: Norwegian Met Institute

The GFS is probably overdoing the cold a bit as it often does, and numbers may end up closer to the European ECMWF model output. (Which has better “initialization” and roughly 100 times more computing power than the GFS)

My best guess at this point a week out?

We go below zero sometime Sunday night…with 4-5 sub-zero mornings in the metro next week. -5F to -15F is quite possible in the metro, with a day or two of sub-zero highs. Northern Minnesota could easily feel the pinch of -30F for several mornings next week.

Stay tuned as w get a better handle on the magnitude and duration of next week’s likely arctic outbreak.

Halftime: Meteorological Winter’s report card so far

Tuesday (January 15th) marks the halfway point of meteorological winter. (Dec-Feb)

How are we doing so far?

(All data is for MSP Airport)

Temps vs. average:

December +3.7F

January + 5.8F (so far)

Overall +4.4F vs. average so far this winter

Last winter: +8F vs. average for December & January combined

Snowfall:

17.0″ season snowfall so far at MSP

27″ = average season snowfall by January 15th

-10″ vs. average so far this winter

10.7″ last winter by this date

+6.3″ vs. last winter so far

Bottom line?

-This winter is running about +4F warmer than average so far, but significantly cooler (about -4F) vs. last winter.

This winter has featured below average snowfall (-10″ vs. average), but significantly more snowfall (+6.3″) than last winter so far.

Looking ahead, temps will likely run -5 to -10F vs. average through the next 2 weeks, and January’s “cumulative” temps in Minnesota will move closer to average by month’s end.

We could use more snow to catch up… but it’s much closer to a “real winter” this year compared to last year…no matter how you slice it.

Southwest USA “Cold” Wave: It’s all relative

I did weather in Arizona for 9 years as Chief Meteorologist for the ABC affiliate in Tucson.

Many people are surprised to hear it gets cold in Arizona. But much of Arizona is mountainous terrain…in fact Flagstaff (elevation 7,500 feet) routinely sees more snow in winter than Minnesota…season snowfall totals of 100″+ are not uncommon.

Tucson (elevation 2,200 feet) averages 20 to 30 sub-freezing nights a year.

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Image: Tucson NWS

This level of cold seems minor to Minnesotans. Still, this week’s cold wave does have some serious implications for citrus growers in Arizona.

Coldest temp in Downtown L.A. in 22 years:

In Los Angeles, freezing temperatures are generally a foreign concept. L.A. saw the coldest downtown temp in 22 years Sunday.

RECORD EVENT REPORT…PRELIMINARY

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LOS ANGELES/OXNARD CA

650 AM PST SUN JAN 13 2013

…RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE SET IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES TODAY…

…LOWEST TEMPERATURE IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES IN MORE THAN 22 YEARS…

THE TEMPERATURE IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES AT USC DROPPED TO 34 DEGREES THIS MORNING. NOT ONLY DID THAT BREAK THE RECORD LOW TEMPERATURE FOR THE DATE…WHICH WAS 36 DEGREES SET IN 2007…IT WAS THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE RECORDED IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES SINCE DECEMBER 23RD 1990 WHEN THE LOW TEMPERATURE LAST DROPPED TO 34 DEGREES. THE PREVIOUS DAY… DECEMBER 22ND 1990… THE LOW TEMPERATURE REACHED 33 DEGREES.

THE LAST TIME THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED TO FREEZING IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES WAS JANUARY 29TH 1979 WHEN THE LOW WAS 32 DEGREES…WHILE THE LAST TIME IT WAS BELOW FREEZING IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES WAS DECEMBER 8TH 1978 WHEN THE LOW WAS 30 DEGREES.

Still you have to be amused at what passes for “cold” in Tinsel Town, and leads the news. Jimmy Kimmel has a great summary showing how La La Land reacts to “cold” weather.

It’s amazing what passes for “cold” in La La Land.

PH

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