Broken Winter: Temps push 60 next weekend

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.

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.

That ties the Oklahoma state record for the warmest February day on record.

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.

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.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration upper air map for Friday evening

Next weekend looks even warmer than today, with a string of days with highs in the 50s for the Twin Cities.

Custom Weather

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.

Canadian GEM model 2-meter temps, via tropical tidbits

Record highs will be challenged from Friday into early next week.

Failing ice

To state the obvious, with the unusual warmth ice is sketchy to failing on many lakes in central and southern Minnesota.

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.

NOAA

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.

NOAA

Will winter go out like a lion in March?

Stay tuned.

  • TGB

    Any indication as to the culprit or cause of this upcoming heat wave in particular, ie warmer Pacific water? Do you anticipate the lack of Sun spots to be beneficial over the next few years?

  • nt moore

    Do the long-range weather models take into account the latent heat of unfrozen ground? If its really as warm this week as predicted it seems like the frost might go out of the ground S. of the Cities. If that happens, it seems like there’s no chance any March snow would persist.