Thaw Thursday, winter’s coldest -10 to -16 Sunday?

It’s said death and taxes are the only two sure bets in life. You can add subzero winter temps in Minnesota.

Every winter on record since 1872 has produced subzero cold in the Twin Cities and most of Minnesota. That’s 143 consecutive years of reliable subzero cold in winter.

This year was the eighth latest arrival of subzero air on record in the Twin Cities as the thermometer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport finally dipped below zero on Jan. 9.

Even though every winter in the Twin Cities has featured subzero temperatures, there is a clear trend line showing winter’s coldest temperature is rising in the Twin Cities. A winter without subzero temps in the Twin Cities? It could happen in the coming decade.

Jack Falker, Minnesota Rose Gardener

We search for winter’s bottom next weekend as the season’s coldest air mass invasion oozes south from the Arctic Circle. This winter, the Twin Cities metro will likely bottom out between -10 and -16 Sunday or Monday morning.

Cold enough for me.

  • -10 degrees coldest temperature so far this winter at MSP Airport (Jan 10)
  • -36 degrees at Cotton in northeast Minnesota this winter (Jan 12)
  • 5 consecutive sub-zero mornings at MSP Airport including today (-7 degrees)
  • 10 average number of sub-zero days to date at MSP
  • Snowy dustings from the Twin Cities north today and tomorrow

Warm front

Warm fronts in winter give us a break from persistent cold. They also produce snow as warm air overruns the colder dome we call Minnesota. Expect a couple of shots of light snow and a wintry mix from the Twin Cities north today and tomorrow.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Snow totals into the weekend night run less than an inch in the Twin Cities area, with a narrow band of 2 to 6 inches from the Red River Valley and Fargo, N.D., into the northern half of Minnesota including Bemidji and Grand Rapids.

A band of intense lake-effect snow will dump some foot-plus totals in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this weekend.

NOAA via

Winter’s bottom: -10 to -16 at MSP Sunday/Monday morning?

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model is still the most aggressive with next week’s cold snap. I still think the numbers below are a bit too cold for the inner metro core, but this should be the coldest shot of winter.

The bottom falls out with the arctic frontal passage Friday night after a brief Thursday thaw. The European model projects about 56 subzero hours in the metro area from 2 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Monday.

Temperatures moderate to more typical January levels next week.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, via Weatherspark

West Coast storms

More heavy rainfall and mountain snows stream into the west coast the next few days.

Rainfall totals up to 10 inches will charge rivers, and cause mudslides in some areas. What falls as snow in the high country will be welcome recharge water next spring.

  • Dave

    Might be interesting to add that any weather below zero is technically below normal. That is, if we had completely average temperatures every day, the coldest day would only be around +4.

    Put another way, in a totally normal year, it would never get below zero.