Cold wave peaks Tue AM: -15F to -20F metro & suburbs ; 30s return Sunday?

-2F official 24 hour “high” temp at MSP Airport Monday (12:20am)

-4F warmest “daytime” reading Monday afternoon

-53F coldest observed wind chill Monday at Grand Marais

-29F coldest air temp observed at Babbitt Monday AM

-34F record low temp for MSP Tuesday AM (set in 1936)

-15F likely in inner metro core Tuesday AM

-20F likely in metro suburbs Tuesday AM

-25F to -35F likely in northern Minnesota again Tuesday AM

Near 0F high temps will struggle to reach 0F Tuesday in the metro

5 days in a row of sub-zero lows in the metro? (Sunday-Thursday AM)

Light snow chance Thursday night into early Friday?

Moderation this weekend with highs in the 20s to low 30s by Sunday

Winter storm chance next Tuesday? Current track favors Iowa & Wisconsin SE MN… & possibly metro

2nd arctic cold wave rolls in around February 1st?

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Bank thermometer finds the (-) sign in Minnetonka Monday.

Image: Paul Huttner – MPR News

“This weather bites.” – Heard on the street in Minnetonka today.

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All In: Coldest daytime high at MSP in 4 years

It’s official.

Monday’s high temperature of -2F occurred just after midnight at 12:20am. After bottoming out at -10F Monday morning….temps staggered to -4F Monday afternoon at MSP Airport.

That’s the 1st time in 4 years the mercury has failed to reach the 0F mark in the metro…since January 15th, 2009 when the best we could do was -6F at MSP.

Colder “Up North”

Fun with negative numbers? Check out the numbers from the Duluth NWS.

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Bottoming Out:

The peak of our current cold wave bottoms out Tuesday morning.

I expect temps to tumble to near -15F at MSP Airport…and in the inner metro core. Your local bank and car thermometer will bottom out around -20F in the outer metro suburbs early Tuesday.

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Wind chill advisories have been extended until 9am Tuesday for the metro. The combination of extreme cold…and light winds will be enough to push chills into the -20F to -35F range once again. Wind chill warnings for chills between -30F to -45F continue for northern Minnesota.

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Slow Recovery:

Arcitc air is like defensive lineman in football…tough to move out of the way.

The heavy, dense arctic air is reluctant to leave. That’s why we’ll take a few days to recover this week. Don’t look for any imminent thaws…and sub-zero mornings will continue into Thursday.

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I know, I know…but it is what it is. I’m just the messenger.

Stupid Cold Weather Tricks:

This has been done a million times on local TV, but it’s still pretty cool.


A cup of boiling hot water thrown into very cold air will almost instantly freeze in midair and create a shower of tiny ice crystals. There are several reasons behind this phenomenon. First, the near-boiling water is already close to becoming steam when it is thrown into the air, which means that the water molecules are much closer to evaporating into the vapor state than they would be if the water were cold.

Second, the act of throwing the water into the air causes it to break up into tiny droplets. The water that was contained in the cup (which originally had a relatively small surface exposed to the air) now experiences a tremendous increase in the total surface area exposed to the air. This situation helps to speed up the evaporation process (evaporation is the process of turning from a liquid to a vapor).

Finally, very cold air typically has a low humidity level (that is, a low amount of water vapor present). This is yet another factor aiding the transition from liquid water, to water vapor, to ice crystals. At sufficiently low temperatures, this process seems to occur almost instantaneously.

Do I need to say be careful with hot (near boiling) water? I didn’t think so.

By the way…in my opinion a better, safer and cooler trick is blowing “ice bubbles.” I did this live on the CBS Morning News in one of our 1990’s cold waves at -20F, and when I was at WGN in Chicago.

Just take a bottle of kiddies bubbles and bring it out on a calm sub-zero morning. Blow the bubbles, and watch them drift…freeze…then shatter.

I’m not sure this is the best example…but it may be the funniest. These two should have their own cable access show.

Pretty cool stuff. But than again I’m a weather geek that’s easily pleased.

Brief Sunday “thaw” ?

Sunday looks like the warmest day in sight. The Euro model is cranking out a couple of hours at or above 32F. Man, 30+ will feel good after this week right?

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Snow Chances Ahead?

As the milder air begins to filter in Thursday, we could see a little “warm advection” snow Thursday night into early Friday.

The GFS has been persistent about a bigger storm next week…but flipping back and forth between a southeast track that would miss the metro…and a storm track a little closer to home that could clip the metro and southeast Minnesota with “plowable” snow next Tuesday.

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I’m not sold on either track yet, but it’s nice to see something in the cards. I do think it looks pretty good for snow somewhere in the Upper Midwest next Tuesday.

The big question is…where?

Stay tuned!

Not done yet? Cold wave #2 possible around February 1st

Predictions of a wimpy winter this year may have been premature.

The GFS is notorious for overdoing cold air outbreaks 2 weeks out….so take this with a grain (shaker) of salt.

There are indications a second cold wave could ride down from the Arctic Circle around February 1st.

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Let’s see if (hope?) this cold wave backs off in model runs the next few days.


  • Scott Henry

    -25 wind chill tonight in MN!

    Here is a fun thing to do with your kids (or just you!)

    1. Turn on your outdoor spotlights

    2. Bundle up your Bunnies

    3. Give them a thick plastic cup of HOT tap water

    4. Take them outside

    5. Have them hurl the water (not the cup) into the air!

    What you will see is water going up but mostly frozen mist coming down (kind of like throwing flour into the air). Ski Resorts have known for years that spraying steam into low temperature air creates a fine mist for their slopes (if you have ever been surprised by the speed of artificial snow – no you know why)

    Try it! Better yet – record it and send me your results!

    Happy Winter!!!