January preview today; Major warm up to near 50F by next weekend?

10F This morning at MSP Airport

8F at Crystal in the west metro

-7F in Bemidji & Park Rapids this morning

-11F in Fosston, MN

Twin Cities “weather window” today below

(Move the green time slider button to reveal forecast for that hour)


Coldest day in 10 months?

Welcome to our January 2013 preview #1.

High temps should top out near 20F in parts of the metro today. The last time we had a high below 20F at MSP? January 20th, at 12F.

The cold air mass is courtesy of high pressure settling in over Minnesota today. Winds will ease a bit this afternoon as the center of the high settles in.

Metro quick look forecast:

180 ql.PNG

“Arctic appetizer” today; Seasonal week ahead:

After today’s Januaryesque blast, temps will moderate closer to “seasonal norms” this week.

What is normal? The average high/low for the Twin Cities this week is 34F/19F.

Highs will bounce around in the 30s through Thursday, before a major warming trend kicks in this weekend.

180 metty.PNG

Image: NOAA via Iowa State University

December Lite: Mild weekend opens 1st days of “Meteorological Winter”

All signs point to a major warm up as we move into next weekend, and the first days of December.

Both the USA’s GFS forecast model, and the European Model (ECMWF) bring a strong Pacific storm into the western USA next weekend. Southerly winds ahead of the system will blow in a few days of warmer air for the Upper Midwest.

The European Model is cranking out temperatures near or slightly above 50F by this weekend and into early next week…peaking at 52F next Monday.

180 Euro.PNG

Image: Norwegian Met Institute

I think 40s are a lock this weekend into next Monday & Tuesday, and a shot at 50F in the metro and southern Minnesota is not out of the question. Records for this weekend are well into the 60s. I don’t think we’ll get there at this point, but it will be warm enough for rain on Saturday with a chance of showers.

All about snow cover:

One of the biggest reasons we see wild temp swings this time of year is differences in snow cover.

Today’s snow cover chart shows there is basically snow on the ground from the northern metro all the way north through Canada, Alaska, and into Siberia.

180 sc.PNG

Source: NOAA

As air masses hover over that icy footprint they are cooled from below and from increasing darkness.

To the south of Minnesota the ground is snow free. Sunshine warms the drought plagued soils to the south.

Any northerly wind blows over a thousand miles of snow covered ground and brings frigid air into Minnesota these days.

A southerly wind brings milder air from sun warmed snow free ground to the south.

That’s why our temps will show big swings based on wind direction as we sit on the edge of massive snow cover this week.

Freeze up: Soil temps tumble

As air temperatures plunged below freezing since Thanksgiving Day, soils temps have responded accordingly.

Snow free areas south of the Twin Cities have seen substantial soil temperatures drops. With no snow cover to insulate from the descending cold, soil temps at 2″ depth in Waseca plunged more than 20 degrees from near 51F to 30F in 3 days.

180 waseca soils.PNG

Source: University of Minnesota’s Southern Research and Outreach Center


  • Trevleyan

    Hey, Paul

    Did I hear you refer to weather in the Soviet Union this morning or am I hearing things? 🙂

  • Paul Huttner


    Pretty sure I said “Siberia” …but anything is possible on Monday morning! 🙂


  • Luke

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that heard “Soviet Union” as I was waking up. Soviet Union has a large word association with bitterly cold weather in my mind, so I can understand the slip. Just keep people on their toes!

  • Ross

    Paul, my two kids (6 and 8) are excited with the snow but disappointed when I said “it won’t last, it will melt away in a few days”. This prompted a question for you: has there ever been a year where the first snowfall did NOT disappear (and it stayed white for the rest of the winter)?

    Ross (and Anna and Sam) in Fridley