Winter fights back: Arctic front brings wind advisories

Cue the primal weather scream.

Minnesota lingered atop the temperature roller coaster the past few days. Highs reached the 40s four of the past five days in the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota.

On Tuesday, we zoom downhill. A strong arctic cold front rattles windows with wind gusts over 40 mph, plunging temperatures and bracing wind chills.

Wind advisory

The wind advisory covers a big chunk of real estate in the Upper Midwest. Gusts approach 50 mph in open areas in western Minnesota.

Combine that with falling wind chills and blowing snow and you’ve got a challenging, even potentially lethal weather situation for anyone caught out in the open for an extended time. High-profile vehicles and small pets may be better off undercover Tuesday.

Including the cities of Long Prairie, St Cloud, Litchfield,
Monticello, Minneapolis, Hutchinson, Gaylord, Chaska, Shakopee,
Hastings, St Peter, Le Sueur, Faribault, and Red Wing
331 AM CST Tue Jan 8 2019

…WIND ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM CST THIS EVENING…

* TIMING…Northwest winds will strengthen this morning, reaching
peak strength early in the afternoon.

* WINDS…Sustained northwest winds in excess of 30 mph with
gusts of up to 50 mph.

* IMPACTS…These strong winds can be a hazard to high profile
or lightweight vehicles. Also the strong winds can blow around
loose objects…such as lawn furniture and garbage cans.

Brief cold snap

Arctic air is not long for Minnesota this winter. This looks like another 48-hour cold blitz. Temperatures moderate toward the 30s again this weekend into next week.

Next week does not look as warm as the past few days, but will still run close to 10 degrees above average.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Weather Bell

That’s mild for what is traditionally one of the two coldest weeks of winter in Minnesota.  The average high and low next week in Twin Cities are 23 and 7. So far, January is running 11.6 degrees above average in the Twin Cities.

Colder late in January? 

There are still signs of at least fleeting cold air shots coming south from Canada later this month. I saw minus 48 in the Yukon Territory Tuesday morning. There is bitterly cold air upstream. If the jet buckles long enough, we could still see a wicked arctic outbreak in late January or February.

The question this winter seems to be; how long will it last?

Upper-air pattern for 6 p.m. CST Jan. 21, via NOAA

The week 3-4 outlook finally suggests colder than average air to close the month.

NOAA

Searching for snow cover 

January typically features significant snow cover across the northern half of  the United States. Not this year. Only 32.4 percent of the continental U.S. is covered by snow currently. That’s down from 43.2 percent a month ago. It’s all bare ground from near the Twin Cities south.

Another symptom of an El Niño winter?

NOAA

American Meteorological Society supports NWS forecasters

Here’s a letter of support from the American Meteorological Society for the dedicated National Weather Service forecasters working without pay to keep us all safe and informed.

Think of your local NWS forecasters during the government shutdown.