The beauty of Arctic air: Colder, but sunnier

It’s an interesting irony of a Minnesota winter. As the weather turns colder, our days get sunnier.

A sunny winter day in Victoria, Minnesota. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News.

November is the cloudiest month of the year in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Historically the Twin Cities averages just 39-percent of possible sunshine in November. Low stratus season lingers into December, our 2nd cloudiest month. We see the sun just 42-percent of the time on average in December.

This season is running true to form. Looking at the records, the past 17 days have been cloudy or mostly cloudy in the Twin Cities.

But as desert-dry Arctic air invades more frequently in December and January, we enjoy more sunny days. Possible sunshine reaches 53-percent in January and 59-percent in February. About 6 in 10 days are sunny in an average February in Minnesota.

The bottom line for sun worshipers? Winter trends sunnier with time in Minnesota.

Sunny days ahead

Our forecast trends much brighter the next several days. Here’s the graphic from the Twin Cities NWS.

Forecast for the Twin Cities via Twin Cities NWS.

This inbound Arctic air mass is cold, but not January Polar Vortex-level cold. Temperatures bottom out Friday morning a few degrees either side of zero across Minnesota.

Forecast lows Friday morning via NOAA.

Temperatures slowly rebound this weekend. This looks like a classic Minnesota winter weekend to get out and enjoy.


NOAA via Weather Bell.