Another chilly day; mild weather for Thanksgiving

As expected, temperatures dropped into the single digits Sunday morning in the Twin Cities metro area.

Redwood Falls, Mankato and Albert Lea were among the spots in southern Minnesota that dropped a bit below zero, aided by extensive snow cover:

Temps will rebound nicely this Sunday afternoon, but we’ll still be well below our average highs for this time of year.

Temperature trends

Many spots in southern Minnesota should reach the lower 30s this Sunday afternoon, with mostly 20s to the north.  There could be some highs in the upper teens in far northern Minnesota.

Highs on Monday are expected to range from the teens in northern Minnesota to the lower 30s in the far southeast:

Most spots in the Twin Cities metro area will see highs around 30 degrees on Monday. Twin Cities metro area highs are expected to reach the lower 30s on Tuesday, followed by upper 30s Wednesday. We’re still looking at highs in the lower 40s on Thanksgiving Day and Friday.

Thanksgiving high temps should be mild across much of Minnesota and Wisconsin:

Snow chances

Snow is expected to spread across northern Minnesota this Sunday evening and then sag into east-central Minnesota overnight. The Twin Cities metro area could see some light snow or a few flurries after midnight and early Monday morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential snow pattern Sunday evening through Monday morning:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday evening through Monday morning, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of snow.

Parts of northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin could see an inch or two of snow Sunday night into very early Monday:

NWS Duluth

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you will also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Thanksgiving weather records

The Minnesota State Climatology Office has posted a detailed account of historic Thanksgiving weather in the Twin Cities metro area:

Because Thanksgiving Day occurs at the transition period between autumn and winter, Thanksgiving weather can be balmy to brutal. A typical Thanksgiving Day in the Twin Cities has high temperatures in the 30’s and at least a bit of filtered sunshine.

Having a mild day in the 50’s on Thanksgiving Day is relatively rare, looking at the historical record back to 1872. A maximum of 50 or more has happened only eleven times in 144 years, or about once every 13 years or so. The warmest Thanksgiving Day is a tie of 62 degrees in 1914 and 1922. The mildest recent Thanksgiving Day was 60 degrees on November 22, 2012. This tied 1939 as the third warmest Thanksgiving back to 1872 for the Twin Cities.

On the other side of the spectrum it is common to have a high temperature below 32. The average Thanksgiving Day temperature is right around freezing. What about extremely cold Thanksgivings? Looking at the past 141 years, odds are about the same to have a minimum at or below zero on Thanksgiving Day, as it is to have a maximum of 50 or above. Below-zero lows have occurred ten times in the past 141 years. The coldest Thanksgiving Day minimum temperature was 18 degrees below zero on November 25, 1880. The coldest high temperature was one below zero on November 28, 1872. The last time it was below zero on the morning of Thanksgiving was in 2014, with four below zero. 2014 had the coldest Thanksgiving high temperature since 1930 with a temperature of 10 degrees.

Measurable snow fell on 29 of the past Thanksgivings back to 1884, about every five years or so. The most snow that fell on Thanksgiving was five inches in 1970. The last time there was measurable snow on Thanksgiving was in 2015 with 1.3 inches of snow.

Historically, about one in three Thanksgivings have at least one inch of snow on the ground. The deepest snow pack is a tie with 1921 and 1983, both with 10 inches on the ground by Turkey Day.

It occasionally rains on Thanksgiving Day as well. In 1896, a two-day event in the Twin Cities doused Thanksgiving travelers with nearly three inches of rain.

They also have posted detailed Twin Cities weather data for every Thanksgiving Day since 1872.  You can check that out and impress your friends with your knowledge!

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.