January is back!

January has returned from its sabbatical.

Temperatures dropped down to a seasonable range or colder for most of Minnesota Wednesday morning. International Falls reported a chilly 22 degrees below zero before 6 a.m.

The Twin Cities area fell into the upper single digits. Bare-ground areas such as the Twin Cities would be colder if there were a snow cover to radiate more heat out to space.

The southeastern corner of the state will be last to cool down. Winona was still reporting 18 above at 7 a.m. while Warroad in the northwestern corner was 18 below.

Arctic high pressure did its job not only to chill us back to reality but also to bulldoze out those dreary low clouds and periods of drizzle of the past few days.

Seasonably cold sunshine for Wednesday

Wednesday should bring a lot of sunshine to our state to allow some temperature recovery, especially in snow-free areas. Afternoon high temperatures should range from the single digits across northern Minnesota to the teens and low 20s to the south.

The Twin Cities should reach about 22 with a northeast wind of 5 to 10 mph.

A mediocre winter storm will develop well to our south by late Wednesday. Freezing rain is possible by Wednesday night from Kansas across Missouri and Illinois. Light snow could extend as far north as southwestern Minnesota Wednesday night.

Forecast surface weather map for late on Wednesday. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Prediction Center

Better chance of snow south on Friday

A stronger storm will pass by on Friday on its way to the East Coast and New England for a very messy weekend there.

Forecast surface weather map for Friday. NOAA Weather Prediction Center

That storm should be close enough to drop some snow on southern Minnesota. Southwestern Minnesota will be the most likely target for a few fresh inches of white.

Snow outlook for Friday. Twin Cities National Weather Service

Colder through the weekend

The arctic chill will become progressively colder later this week. The Twin Cities could flirt with its first subzero temperature of the winter both Saturday and Sunday mornings, but the lack of snow cover might make that a struggle to achieve. Not having a subzero temperature in the Twin Cities until this weekend would set a record for the latest first-subzero temperature of the winter.

Sunday is when temperatures are likely to bottom out, both for morning lows and afternoon highs. Expect high temperatures on Sunday mostly in the plus and minus single digits. Wind chills will be dangerous.

Frigid wind chills forecast for the coming weekend. Duluth National Weather Service

Moderating temperatures next week, briefly

Warmer air will be streaming our way on Monday. That means milder temperatures and also a chance of some decent snow, especially for the southern half of the state.

Early forecast models are calling for a half foot or more of snow across parts of southern Minnesota from Monday into Tuesday.

But then arctic reinforcements will arrive with a nasty cold snap by the end of next week for the last weekend of January.

Enjoy the weather ride.