Forecast: Arctic Chill…Then Warmer

1 wx story.jpg

Twin Cities NWS “weather story” highlights persistent Arctic high pressure in the region.

News Flash: It’s January, and it’s cold.

Seriously, this persistent ice age weather pattern does have some of us asking, what happened to El Nino? Our familiar ridge of Arctic high pressure will hold firm this week as the jet stream keeps dealing us sub-zero air from the Arctic Circle. Look for sub-zero nights and highs struggling to reach 10 degrees in the metro through Wednesday.

Nothern Minnesota can expect to see more nights colder than -30 below, with daytime highs beow zero.

It’s certainly possible that this winter may fall into the 30% of colder than average El Nino winters in the Upper Midwest. We are running out of time to recover from the early season cold snaps.

An Alberta Clipper sails through on Wednesday. This system will bring a good chance of dry powdery snowfall, before another reinforcing shot of cold arctic air Thursday and Friday. The jet stream will then turn our winds a bit more westerly late in the weekend. This should ease cold wave conditions a bit by Sunday. We could see mid 20s above zero return by Sunday.

The freezing air mass extends all the way south to Florida. While not unusual to have freezes in Florida this time of year, it is bracing for citrus growers in the region.

The medium range maps hint at a significant pattern change starting on about January 13th. This could lead to a possible January thaw. There are signs of a “split flow” developing in the jet stream toward mid month. In these patterns, the colder polar front jet stream that has been dealing us arctic air masses lifts mercifully north into Canada. A second sub-tropical branch of the jet stream strengthens across the southern U.S. bringing increased storms from California to the desert southwest and the Gulf Coast.

This type of pattern is more typical of El Nino winters. In my discussions with experts, it is common for the effects of El Nino to emerge more in the second half of winter than the first half. This could mean a much milder second half of January, and possibly February for the Upper Midwest.

Stay tuned!


  • Craig

    Germ Free air seems to be getting a little stale. Rooting for verification of the medium range model.

  • MBM

    No snowfall estimates? Why is it that some systems allow for projections several days out while Wednesday’s doesn’t and is only 2 days away? What determines your ability to predict?