Average high in the Twin Cities for Feb. 3: 24 F. Today's predicted high: 25.
We're in-between. The worst of winter (in terms of hours below zero) are behind us. Yet it's way too early to even contemplate spring (although daydreaming about spring break is encouraged. If you've lived in Minnesota longer than 1 winter you know the cold, cruel truth: much of February and March is one step forward, two steps back. Temperatures climb to "average" today, a recognition of the fact that the sun is climbing ever-higher into the southern sky. In fact today the sun is as high in the sky as it was back on November 9, when the high in the Twin Cities was a balmy 61. The reason it's so much colder in early February: all that snow on the ground across Canada and the northern third of the USA. It acts as a "refrigerant", chilling the air from below, keeping us 20-25 degrees colder than we would be otherwise. Until we lose the snow (late March, early April, your guess is as good as mine) the sun's energy will go into melting snow instead of heating up the air, limiting just how mild we can get. That said, the prevailing jet stream winds make a huge difference. Are prevailing winds originating from the Yukon or Vancouver? For at least the next 36-48 hours you'll feel a distinct Pacific influence, coaxing the mercury well into the 20s to near 30 in some Minnesota towns. Hardly spring fever, but a baby-step in the right direction.
Models are still hinting at a coating to 1" of slushy snow (mixed with a little freezing drizzle at times) by Friday. This will be a heavier, wetter snow, nothing like the fluffy, powdery snow that fell on Monday. For a final list of snowfall amounts from Monday's "storm" (the old timers are laughing now) see below. Flurries taper early Saturday before another surge of light snow arrives Sunday and Monday, this time light, fluffy and powdery, as temperatures fall through the teens. That could mean more spin-outs and fender-benders the latter half of the weekend, even though the models are only printing out 1-2" of snow Sunday and Sunday night. The mercury tumbles early next week, at least 3-4 days with highs in the teens, low in single digits to just below zero. The bottom line: this next cold snap won't be as harsh as what we just muddled through, nothing like the first third of January, when we shivered through at least one night of -25 F. air temperature. The good news: we warm up fairly rapidly the latter half of next week, more 20s by Thursday/Friday, even some low 30s by the second weekend of February. Not exactly spring fever, but Old Man Winter shows some definite signs of mellowing in the weeks to come.
1-2" of Minnesota powder next Sunday - Monday? Here's the GFS model output valid Sunday evening at 7 pm, showing expected snowfall from 1 pm to 7 pm - hinting at the heaviest amounts over southern MN, south of the Minnesota River. With temperatures in the teens this should be a light, fluffy, powdery snow - similar to Monday's snowfall. Translation: more ice & snow-covered roads and a greater chance of traffic hassles.
No big storms, no headline-grabbing outbreaks of numbing air, just a nuisance snow Friday, maybe an inch or two of new snow Sunday into Monday morning to cover up the grit and grime. With Monday's fresh coating of white snow conditions are pretty good statewide, and they're about to get a bit better. Not exactly Aspen/Snowmass conditions, but not bad at all for Minnesota.
How to survive an earthquake. Along with hurricanes, this is one of the few natural disasters Minnesotans DO NOT have to worry about! But many of us travel to earthquake-prone regions, like California and the Pacific Rim. Even Seattle and Memphis are vulnerable to potentially devastating quakes. In the unlikely event the earth under your feet ever shakes uncontrollably you may want to know what to do to increase your odds of survival. Time magazine has a great feature story here.
Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities
Today: More clouds than sun, a bit milder. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 25
Tonight: Patchy clouds, not as cold. Low: 15
Thursday: Mostly cloudy, a little light snow/ice possible by Thursday night. High: near 30
Friday: Period of light snow, mixed with freezing drizzle. A light, slushy accumulation possible. High: 29
Saturday: Flurries taper off - improving travel, turning colder. High: near 20
Sunday: Cloudy with more light snow, potential for an inch or 2" by Monday. High: 18
Monday: Light snow tapers, slowly improving travel conditions. High: 15
Tuesday: Some blue sky, chilly. High: 17
Snowfall Totals from Monday's storm (courtesy of NOAA)
INCHES LOCATION ST COUNTY TIME
------ ----------------------- -- -------------- -------
5.10 PRESCOTT WI PIERCE 0600 AM
5.00 DURAND WI PEPIN 0700 AM
4.90 HASTINGS MN DAKOTA 0724 AM
4.90 HASTINGS MN DAKOTA 0710 AM
4.50 RED WING MN GOODHUE 0625 AM
4.20 BLOOMINGTON MN HENNEPIN 0734 AM
3.70 ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0750 AM
IN HIGHLAND PARK.
3.60 WACONIA MN CARVER 0650 AM
3.60 CHANHASSEN MN CARVER 0636 AM
MEASURED AT THE NWS FORECAST OFFICE.
3.50 LAKEVILLE MN DAKOTA 0737 AM
3.50 3 NW PLYMOUTH MN HENNEPIN 0701 AM
3.50 ELLSWORTH WI PIERCE 0625 AM
3.40 WATERTOWN MN CARVER 0958 AM
3.40 DELANO MN WRIGHT 0615 AM
3.30 ST LOUIS PARK MN HENNEPIN 0820 AM
3.20 2 W PRIOR LAKE MN SCOTT 0625 AM
3.10 DONNELLY MN STEVENS 0658 AM
3.00 WELCOME MN MARTIN 0955 AM
3.00 ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0800 AM
UNIVERSITY OF MN ST PAUL CAMPUS
3.00 LAMBERTON MN REDWOOD 0700 AM
3.00 3 WSW SHERBURN MN MARTIN 0700 AM
3.00 3 SE ALBERT LEA MN FREEBORN 0700 AM
3.00 BLUE EARTH MN FARIBAULT 0700 AM
3.00 4 N FAIRMONT MN MARTIN 0700 AM
3.00 WELLS MN FARIBAULT 0700 AM
3.00 WINNEBAGO MN FARIBAULT 0700 AM
3.00 1 SW MONTEVIDEO MN CHIPPEWA 0700 AM
3.00 6 SSW LAKEVILLE MN SCOTT 0700 AM
3.00 3 SE LAKE ELMO MN WASHINGTON 0700 AM
3.00 PRIOR LAKE MN SCOTT 0646 AM
2.90 2 N CHASKA MN CARVER 0643 AM
2.90 MINNEAPOLIS MN HENNEPIN 0625 AM
MEASURED AT THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
2.80 HAMMOND WI ST. CROIX 0700 AM
2.80 2 NW MAPLEWOOD MN RAMSEY 0700 AM
2.70 ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0737 AM
OCCURRED IN COMO PARK.
2.60 WOODBURY MN WASHINGTON 0900 AM
0.13 WATER EQUIVALENT.
2.50 BROWNTON MN MCLEOD 0900 AM
2.50 COMFREY MN BROWN 0824 AM
2.50 ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0822 AM
MEASURED IN SW PORTION OF CITY.
2.50 MENOMONIE WI DUNN 0724 AM
2.50 FARIBAULT MN RICE 0700 AM
2.50 3 ENE RIVER FALLS WI ST. CROIX 0700 AM
2.50 ZUMBROTA MN GOODHUE 0700 AM
2.50 5 NE FOREST LAKE MN CHISAGO 0700 AM
2.50 ELLENDALE MN STEELE 0650 AM
2.40 1 SSW JORDAN MN SCOTT 0700 AM
2.20 1 WSW NEW BRIGHTON MN RAMSEY 0846 AM
2.20 1 NNE HUDSON WI ST. CROIX 0700 AM
2.20 FRIDLEY MN ANOKA 0658 AM
2.10 2 S LESTER PRAIRIE MN MCLEOD 0700 AM
2.00 STILLWATER MN WASHINGTON 0822 AM
2.00 CARLOS MN DOUGLAS 0815 AM
2.00 NORTHFIELD MN RICE 0710 AM
2.00 REDWOOD FALLS MN REDWOOD 0700 AM
2.00 BALDWIN WI ST. CROIX 0700 AM
2.00 LITTLE FALLS MN MORRISON 0600 AM
2.00 WINTHROP MN SIBLEY 0500 AM
1.80 CONNORSVILLE WI DUNN 0815 AM
1.70 CLAYTON WI POLK 1010 AM
1.70 ST CLOUD MN STEARNS 0625 AM
MEASURED AT THE MEDIUM SECURITY PRISON.
1.50 EAU CLAIRE WI EAU CLAIRE 1112 AM
1.50 STANLEY WI CHIPPEWA 0714 AM
1.50 MORGAN MN REDWOOD 0650 AM
1.50 KIMBALL MN STEARNS 0625 AM
1.30 RUSH CITY MN CHISAGO 1215 PM
1.30 EAU CLAIRE WI EAU CLAIRE 0536 AM
MEASURED AT WQOW TV.