Coldest winter in more than 35 years; blizzard conditions develop on Wednesday

Despite the afternoon sunshine Tuesday, temperatures rose only to single digits in most places. A stiff breeze kept wind chill readings well below zero.  Highs struggled to reach zero in a few locations.

Snow pack remains deep over much of Minnesota.  Even with the increasing sun angle and daylight, the high albedo reflects the sun’s rays back into atmosphere.

Visible satellite image from this afternoon. Intellicast.com

Actual snow depth this morning was documented by surface reports filed through the Midwest Regional Climate Center.

Snow depth Tuesday morning. Midwest Regional Climate Center

The National Weather Service and the Minnesota Climatology Working Group have been crunching the numbers for the temperatures of the meteorological winter.  The average temperature for the winter of 2013-2014 will likely be the coldest for Minneapolis-St. Paul since the winter of 1978-79.

The Chanhassen National Weather Service office has posted historical winter cold rankings for the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, and Eau Claire, Wis. This is a top 10 cold winter for all of them.

  • Eau Claire: 3rd coldest winter on record
  • St. Cloud: 4th coldest
  • Twin Cities: 10th coldest

In La Crosse, Wis., it’s the sixth coldest. Note that the records go back into the 1870s.  

The summary of the winter of 2013-14 is also provided for Duluth and International Falls from the Duluth National Weather Service office. Summarizing the subzero cold for International Falls makes a case for the Ice Box of the Nation.

National Weather Service Duluth

Arctic air will get reinforced on Wednesday afternoon as another cold front invades the state of Minnesota.  An inch or two of fluffy snow could fall in the Arrowhead region and into northwest Wisconsin.

Meanwhile expect a blustery Wednesday with winds shifting from the southwest to the northwest. Wind chill readings will be well below zero on Wednesday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the area shaded in orange.  Details of the severe winter weather are available at the National Weather Service Chanhassen website.

Very cold conditions are on tap for Thursday morning as this map from the North American Mesoscale model depicts at 6 a.m.

North American Model surface temperature, wind and pressure forecast at 6 a.m Thursday. NOAA/College of DuPage

I’m keeping watch on a possible snow maker for southern Minnesota on Friday.  The latest North American Mesoscale run develops snow on Friday that could put a couple of inches down across southern Minnesota.

Simulated radar reflectivity valid at noon on Friday. College of DuPage

The National Weather Prediction Center has outlined an area in southern Minnesota that has a moderate potential for at least 2 inches of snow on Friday morning.

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Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with these details from the National Weather Service office in Duluth.

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Nothing more needs to be said. Yikes!