Frosted flakes? Season’s first frost and flakes ahead

Five days ago it was 78 degrees in the Twin Cities. Five days from now it might be snowing.

Welcome to weather whiplash, Minnesota style.

You knew our run of summer in October couldn’t last.

Fresh fallen leaves. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News

A major seasonal change in the upper air pattern over North America is sending cold air south from Canada. This one looks like it may be here to stay. Get ready for frosty mornings and stray snowflakes. We’ll see a string of lows in the 30s in and around the Twin Cities over the next week. The best chance of actually hitting 32 degrees at Minneapolis St.-Paul International Airport? Sunday morning.

Image: NOAA

April 24 — last time temps hit 32 degrees at MSP Airport

Oct. 7 — average date of first 32 degree temperature in fall at MSP

29 degrees — forecast low for MSP Airport by Sunday morning (GFS and Euro models)

Image: Twin Cities NWS

Snowy rumors

As the cold air descends on Minnesota, weak low pressure waves pinwheel south around the bigger low pressure center in Canada. There may be enough moisture and cold air for a few snowflakes as far south as the Twin Cities as soon as this weekend. The best chance for some October flurries appear to be Sunday night, and again Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The meteogram from NOAA’s Global Forecast System model hints at flurries this weekend, and maybe more “steady” snow next Tuesday night.

Image: Iowa State University

This is probably (hopefully) overdone, but it’s a good sign the atmosphere over Minnesota is getting cold and wet enough for our first snowflakes of the season.

Here’s the Euro model’s take on temperature and precipitation trends in the next week.

Image: Weatherspark

Annual UM Kuehnast Lecture Thursday

Here’s a great way to catch up on the latest climate change news at Thursday’s annual Kuehnast Lecture at the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota.

Image: University of Minnesota

My MPR colleague Dr. Mark Seeley elaborates.

Members of the MPR community may be interested in attending the 21st Annual Kuehnast Endowment Lecture at the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus Student Center Thursday, October 17th at 2:00 pm.  It will be held in the North Star Ballroom.  In light of the popularity of the current movie “Gravity” Dr. Sellers offers an interesting perspective of the planet we live on.  He is one of the few Space Shuttle astronauts to ever do an untethered space walk.  The official announcement about the program is below……..Mark Seeley

We are pleased to announce that the 21st annual Kuehnast Lecture will feature a presentation by Dr. Piers Sellers, former Space Shuttle astronaut. He is a veteran of numerous Space Shuttle missions in 2002, 2006, and 2010.  Dr. Sellers holds dual citizenship in the USA and in the United Kingdom.  He is also an officer in the OBE, having been honored with that distinction by British Royalty.

Dr. Sellers is trained as a biometeorologist and he has worked on computer models of the global climate system, studied and analyzed satellite data, and conducted large-scale field experiments in the USA, Canada, Africa, and Brazil.  Widely published, he is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. 

Dr. Sellers will give a presentation titled “The Race to Understand a Changing Planet.”  This year’s lecture will take place at 2:00 pm on October 17, 2013 in the North Star Ballroom of the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus Student Center.  A reception with refreshments will follow the lecture.