Cold Saturday. Then mild. Then very cold New Year’s Day. Then mild again.

While the forecast Arctic air has arrived, persistent clouds Friday night provided a blanket that kept temperatures from plummeting in some areas. The Twin Cities remained cloudy and had a low temperature of 10 degrees up to 9 a.m. Saturday morning. The clouds also dropped a dusting of light snow; just enough to hide the ice, so watch your step out there.

Where the clouds cleared, however, the mercury certainly took a tumble. Temperatures fell into the 20s below zero in places such as Wadena, Staples, Sauk Centre, Pine River, Brainerd, Aitkin and Hibbing where the fresh snowpack radiated heat out to space.

The flurries will end and the stratus clouds should clear across most of Minnesota as we go through Saturday. Cold high temperatures will be mainly in the teens.

Milder Sunday

Temperatures will rebound for Sunday as the process of warm advection blows warmer air into the state from the south. Afternoon high temperatures likely will range from the low 20s over fresh, deep snow to the north to the low 30s farther south.

A weak disturbance might kick off a little light snow, probably an inch or less, near the Canadian border on Sunday.

Snow to begin the week

An Alberta clipper weather system is tracking our way and should bring anywhere from 1 to 4 inches of snow, gradually, from Sunday night through Monday into Monday night. Some parts of the state might even be missed as the snowfall could be spotty.

Forecast surface weather map for Monday. NOAA Weather Prediction Center

Frigid New Year’s Day

The big blue “H” of Canadian high pressure shown over Saskatchewan on the above map will arrive with sharply-colder temperatures for New Year’s Day. High temperatures on Tuesday could be just in the negative single digits in the northwest and singles above zero toward the southeast. The southeastern corner of the state including the Winona area might sneak into the low teens.

Forecast high temperatures and wind chills for next Tuesday, New Year’s Day. Twin Cities National Weather Service

Milder later next week

Cold high pressure systems can hang around and be slow to leave, but not this one. Thermal recovery should begin on Wednesday. Parts of Minnesota could bask in the low 30s as soon as next Thursday. Warming should continue into next weekend. An extended period of warmer-than-normal temperatures appears to be likely.

6-10 day outlook temperature probability for January 3-7. NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Bonus: photos from New Mexico

Snowstorms occasionally dig into the southern part of the country. Such was the case this past week when an intense winter storm struck New Mexico and western Texas. Blizzard warnings (!) were posted for in and around the Albuquerque, N.M., metro area due to the snow and wind.

Snow photos from this week’s snowstorm in New Mexico. New Mexico State Police