Friday thaw; Winter about to go out like a lamb?

It figures Minnesotans would come up with a way to quantify our collective ‘winter misery.’ So far the numbers show we’re getting off fairly easy this winter. It’s no surprise the “Winter Misery Index” puts the Twin Cities squarely in the “mild” category so far.

No matter how you measure it, this has been a relatively mild winter compared to the season formerly known as winter in Minnesota.

Cue the next thaw

So it should come as little surprise that yet another thaw is on the way. Temperatures across Minnesota actually rise overnight into Friday morning. It’s a process we meteorologists lovingly refer to as “warm advection.” Watch the milder Pacific air spill in overnight into Friday.

NOAA GFS 2-meter temps via tropical tidbits.

20 degrees warmer than average Friday?

Forecast models still tend to underestimate extreme but increasingly likely “out of season” warm and cold snaps. Most of the forecast models suggest highs in the upper 30s Friday afternoon. But with a little sun, the inbound air mass is more than capable of mid 40s in the Twin Cities around 3 pm Friday. Bank thermometers in Worthington and Canby could flash 50 Friday afternoon.

In fact Friday’s weather maps look more like late March across the Upper Midwest. The upstream air mass will produce 70s within a day’s drive of Minnesota. An early spring break in Nebraska anyone?


Disappearing snow cover

This week is close to the peak of average snow depth across Minnesota in winter.

But the ground truth this winter is snow cover has been hard to keep across central and southern Minnesota. The lack of persistent snow cover is growing trend in winter across Minnesota, and this winter fits the trend of recent winters. Running your Polaris or Arctc Cat across southern Minnesota this week may cost you a trip to the maintenance shop.


Even milder next weekend

This weekend looks mild with temps running a good 10 to 20 degrees warmer than average across Minnesota. But next weekend could be even warmer. The upper air pattern by February 19th looks more like early April. The jet stream is long gone on Canadian vacation. A mild Pacific ridge rules the central USA. This is not normal for February!


The warmth may last right into the end of February. Here’s the same map 4 days later. Unreal.


Most models are cranking out more 40s, and I won’t be shocked at 50s by the weekend of Feb 18-19.

Custom Weather

If early March come in milder than average as expected, what we saw this week may be the coldest air mass we will see the rest of this winter.

Stay tuned.

  • Jeffrey

    The Winter Misery Index should include a few points for dreariness. I have enjoyed the mild temps, but the many grey days have been hard to take.

  • John

    Every year we get “fake spring,” and every year we fall for it.

    I thought you were smarter than that, PH. There’s at least one more misery inducing blizzard coming. It might not be until April, but it happens every year – we think Winter is over, and then POW it’s not.

    (I’d be okay with being wrong here too, for the record – my wife and I have been bemoaning the fact that this winter has been pathetic, and the cold with no snow this last couple weeks is supremely depressing.)

  • MPR Weather

    I’m not saying we won’t have any more snow. My comments refer to likely temps the rest of February and March. All the cards in the weather deck are stacked toward milder than average temps the next 30-60 days overall. Yes, we usually get snow in March, and even April. But it doesn’t happen every year. Last year the last significant snow was on March 23, and it was 47 degrees the next day. In 2012 we had a virtually snowless March. So we don’t always get nailed with heavy snow in late March or April. It’s getting less frequent.