Second January thaw; Sunday snow trending north

January thaws are a reliable part of Minnesota’s climate. In the Twin Cities, we’re far more likely to get a January thaw (93 percent) than a white Christmas (72 percent), historically.

We’ve already experienced one January thaw this month. Temperatures at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport rose above 32 degrees from Jan. 8-11. Now, our second January thaw has arrived.

Temperatures surged into the 40s across parts of Minnesota today on Pacific breezes and sunshine. Minnesota rides the edge of a milder air mass into the upcoming weekend.

Oklahoma Mesonet

Peak warmth Friday

Friday looks like the warmest day of this thaw pattern. I still think we’ll see a 50 degree reading on the snow-free landscape in southwestern Minnesota Friday afternoon.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The thaw continues into Saturday. Temperatures drop again next week, but it should not be quite as cold as earlier this week.

NOAA, via Weather Bell

Sunday snow: Heaviest snow band trending north?

We’re still on track for a significant snow system Sunday into Monday in Minnesota. The question remains where the heavy snow band will set up, and not if.

The latest model trends suggest a slight shift north in the heaviest snow band. That would place the Twin Cities on the dicey southern edge of the heavy snow zone. There could be a sharp cutoff between several inches and a rainy mix if this scenario holds.

Here’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System.

NOAA GFS snowfall output, via tropical tidbits

The Canadian model lays out a similar snow track.

Canadian GEM model snowfall output via tropical tidbits

These forecasts will probably change in the next 48 hours. Suffice to say plan for snow across some part of central Minnesota Sunday into Monday. The biggest question remains storm track.

Stay tuned.