Dusting today; January Thaw, rain & snow next week? GFS: “Siberian Express” & -30F by Jan 16th?

Snowy dusting today from weak Clipper in Minnesota

Less than 1″ accumulation in most areas

January Thaw comes early this year 30s to 40F next week?

Rain to snow chance by next Thursday & Friday?

-20F to -31F? GFS lays out bitterly cold “arctic scenario” after about January 15th

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Clipper “Light”

A fairly weak Alberta Clipper soils through Minnesota today. Looks for bands of occasional light snow, with totals less than half an inch in most areas.

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Image:NOAA via Iowa State University

Today’s dusting will be just enough to slick up a few roads, and freshen up the now respectable wintery landscape in Minnesota.

Next: January Thaw Ahead:

Minnesota is riding the boundary of some pretty respectable arctic air (-30F) to the north, and much milder Pacific air mass to the west. After 20s today, temps slide back into the teens again Thursday.

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Image: NOAA via University of Illinois

Friday marks the beginning of a transition to a milder Pacific air mass. Temps may push into the 30s Friday…before cooling slightly to the upper 20s this weekend.

By Monday, a full blown “January Thaw” should lock into the Upper Midwest. Temps in the 30s are likely Monday into Thursday. A shot at 40F+ is not out of the question in southern Minnesota next week.

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Image: Norwegian Met Institute

Storm Brewing next Thursday & Friday?

Two of the main “medium-range” models we look at (GFS & Euro) are brewing up a potentially significant winter storm late next week.

Tracks and temperature profiles will undoubtedly change…but the models have locked onto a strong low pressure system for a few runs now that could affect the Upper Midwest next Thursday & Friday.

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NOAA via College of DuPage

If the GFS scenario plays out…the system could begin as rain in southern Minnesota next Thursday, and then quickly change to (heavy?) snow.

The GFS has been performing well with the systems we saw in December….and locked onto our major December 9th snowfall a week in advance.

Again, the track could shift considerably…and it’s too early to say with a high degree of credibility that snow is on the way late next week…but the potential is there.

“Siberian Express” Ahead? Severe Arctic outbreak possible after January 12th

This is yet another early “trend” indication that may or may not pan out to some degree…but.

The GFS model is locking onto a solution that brings some barbarically cold arctic air south into Minnesota after January 12th…a week from Saturday.

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Image: GFS via wxcaster.com

If the scenario pans out, we could be looking at several days below zero…with temps as cold as -20F or -30F possible close to if not in the metro.

Make no mistake about it…there is bitterly cold air in Canada and inside the Arctic Circle right now. It’s probably just a question of when…and not if a significant shot of sub-zero air is coming south this month.

I think Minnesotans who are hoping for or forecasting a wimpy abbreviated winter may be in for a shock by mid month.

Let’s watch the model runs for a few more days before we bite on this…but at this point I’d say there’s a better than 50% chance of a prolonged stretch of sub-zero air ahead for Minnesota. Days below zero and nights of -20F to -30F in the Twin Cities? We’ll see…but it won’t surprise me if we get close in the Jan 16th- 20th time frame.

Stay tuned!


  • Disco

    Paul, do you have any data for the GFS’s temperature prediction accuracy? In other words, how close does it normally get for 14 days out?

  • bsimon

    So… we’re potentially looking at a 60+ degree temperature swing in a week or two?

  • Mark


  • Paul Huttner

    Hey Disco:

    GFS can be highly variable that far out…but here’s the key. This arctic trend is supported by multiple models and over multiple runs. That adds a high degree of credibility.


  • Disco

    Interesting. The GFS is now saying -10F for the 1/16 18Z run.