So much for forecasting temperatures in the 30s for the Twin Cities Tuesday.
In spite of model projections of temperatures in the 30s, thermometers across southern Minnesota shot up into the 40s once again Tuesday. And once again, the mild air came from behind a cold front, with strong northwest winds blowing in yet another atypically mild air mass from Canada.
Normally frigid Fort McMurray, Alberta, is about 1,100 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.
Today temps in Fort McMurray hit 55 degrees Tuesday. That’s the upstream air mass we’re pulling from on northwest winds this month. It’s tough to cool off much when the air in central Canada is 30 degrees warmer than average.
Yes, winter in Canada is also broken this year.
Rare snow-free Valentine’s Day
One reason for the unusual warmth this month? Unusually low snow pack around Minnesota on Valentine’s Day. This is one of only 11 snow-free Valentine’s Days in the Twin Cities since 1899.
— NWS Twin Cities (@NWSTwinCities) February 14, 2017
We enjoy one day this week of seemingly close to average February temperatures. Cool high pressure and light winds should hold temps in the 20s up north and the 30s in the Twin Cities Wednesday. In theory. But temps in the 40s are already knocking at the door in southwest Minnesota by Wednesday afternoon.
Warmest temps of winter ahead
The inbound air mass Thursday into early next week brings the warmest air of the winter season. The last time the Twin Cities hit 50 degrees? Nov. 28. Sixty degrees? Nov. 16. We may do both in the next week.
Temps in the 60s invade southern Minnesota as soon as Friday.
Our likely record warm wave hangs around into early next week. There are signs of a shift to more seasonable temps late next week. There’s even a hint of snow on the horizon.
Snow chance on the horizon?
My eyes almost popped out of sockets when I saw this morning’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Forecast System run for late next week.
The GFS brews up a possible snowstorm close to the Twin Cities around Feb. 23-24. It’s way too far off to be credible yet. At the rate this winter is going I’ll believe it when I see it. But at least there’s hope for snow lovers. And for the American Birkebeiner.
Someone alert the media. Wait, I am the media.
More California storms on the way
A weak La Nina developed last fall before fading, but this winter looks a lot more like an El Nino winter in California.
The next in a series of February “atmospheric rivers” is moving in.
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) February 8, 2017
The next series of storms will bring another 5 to 10 inches of rain to parts of northern California this week.
— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) February 14, 2017
The incredibly wet pattern this winter will likely put many regions over the top for the wettest water year on record.
Water year thru January wasn’t the wettest at divisional level in California…but Feb could put it over the top. (Yay, NW Nevada!) pic.twitter.com/hIvjuTPMAf
— Michael Dettinger (@Mdettinger) February 14, 2017
Conditions at stress-tested Oroville Dam remain under close watch.
— Bob Henson (@bhensonweather) February 13, 2017
California’s waterways look totally different from space these days. Flooding is the result but it’s great news for water resources going forward.
— Chris Slocum (@CSlocumWX) February 13, 2017
And in the high Sierra, Mammoth is buried under 29 feet of snow so far this winter season.
— MammothMountain (@MammothMountain) January 25, 2017
And the extreme weather hits just keep on comin’.