The season formerly known as winter has been postponed in Minnesota until further notice.
Let’s be clear about something. What is happening from Oklahoma, through Minnesota into Canada and the Arctic this winter is not normal. In fact Arctic conditions are so far from normal that some weather and climate scientists are using the term “beyond extreme” to describe the incredible Arctic warmth.
‘Beyond the extreme': Scientists marvel at ‘increasingly non-natural’ Arctic warmth: https://t.co/LQQFTxq9Pw
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) February 1, 2017
Here’s a short list of the highly unusual, to unprecedented weather events of the past few weeks.
- Temperatures in the Arctic frequently reached 30 to 50 degrees warmer than average this winter.
- The Twin Cities hit 40 degrees again Sunday. That’s 13 degrees warmer than average, with a strong northwest wind behind a cold front.
- Magnum, Okla., hit 99 degrees Saturday afternoon, on February 11th.
— NWS Norman (@NWSNorman) February 11, 2017
That ties the Oklahoma state record for the warmest February day on record.
— NWS Norman (@NWSNorman) February 12, 2017
Near record warmth
An unusually mild southwest wind returns today. Temperatures surge toward the 50 degree mark again in southwest Minnesota, and bank thermometers may flash 50 in many southwest metro communities like Waconia, Chanhassen and Excelsior.
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) February 12, 2017
A brief cool front blows into Minnesota Tuesday and Wednesday, Then the next warm surge kicks in Thursday, right through next Monday. The upper air maps by this weekend look like something you would expect in early April. A major warm ridge of high pressure dominates the central United States.
Next weekend looks even warmer than today, with a string of days with highs in the 50s for the Twin Cities.
A shot at 60 degrees
Given the lack of snow cover and the magnitude of warmth in the inbound the air mass next weekend, many forecast models may be too conservative with temps. The temperature output from the Canadian Meteorological Centre GEM model seem to have the best handle on next weekend’s warmth. If everything goes right, we could see 60 degrees in or close to the Twin Cities by Sunday and Monday.
Record highs will be challenged from Friday into early next week.
To state the obvious, with the unusual warmth ice is sketchy to failing on many lakes in central and southern Minnesota.
— HCSO Sheriff (@HennepinSheriff) February 11, 2017
By next weekend I expect even more open water and vehicles through the ice. Don’t be that guy.
February: 18th straight warmer than average month for MSP
The warmth over continues through February. February temperatures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are running +4.5 degrees vs. average so far. This month will likely end up 5 to 10 degrees warmer than average across most of Minnesota.
March: Closer to average?
The latest runs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Forecast System (CFS2) suggest temperatures closer to or even slightly below average temperatures for March across the Upper Midwest.
Will winter go out like a lion in March?