"Colder...with some snow."
My official winter outlook is oddly unsatisfying. Then again, when in doubt, obfuscate. Be as vague as possible.
The reality: any weather forecast beyond 10 days should come with a warning label. Like a pack of smokes.
Exhibit A: this year's annual hurricane prediction issued in late spring. Every trusted source was forecasting an above-average year for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Right. Too much Saharan dust, dry air & wind shear created unfavorable conditions for tropical development.
With no strong signal from the Pacific (El Nino or La Nina) I'm relying on new methodology for my winter outlook of "slightly milder & slightly snowier than average". Government shut-downs. Since 1976 the winters following the last 12 shut-downs in DC averaged 4 inches snowier than normal at MSP. As good a leading indicator as any, I'd wager. Details below. In spite of models & hand-waving experts a 4 month weather or financial forecast is pure conjecture. We don't know what we don't know.
I do know that November is coming early this year. A clipper pushes rain into the metro late Sunday, maybe a slushy 1-2 inches north of MSP. A frost is likely by Sunday; a hard freeze next week.
Heavy jackets prevail for the next week or so - but 50s may return 1 week from tomorrow.
MSP Snowfall During Federal Shut-Down Years:
81-82 95.0" - second snowiest
83-84 98.6" - snowiest
86-87 17.4" - fourth least snowiest
Shutdown Average: 59.6"
1981-2010 Average: 55.5"
When it comes to weather-related matters I trust your assessments more than anyone else in our neck of the woods (Mpls./St. Paul). I read your response to Joe from Eau Claire, and pardon if I'm a bit redundant, has cold weather moved in to stay for a few months? High's around 50 next weekend and possibly Halloween? Seems we always get a little reprieve from the first frosts. I know we ask a lot of crystal ball gazers such as yourself, tell me honestly though, how do the next few weeks look?
Thanks a lot,
Brad Stauffer from Minneapolis
I've never seen a cloud formation like this. What would cause this? I took the photo in South Mpls on Friday evening facing west.
Josh Downham, Minneapolis
Josh - thanks for a great example of "virga", illuminated by a low sun angle shining underneath the cloud base. Much of the rain is evaporating into drier air near the surface, leaving behind a cone-shaped swirl of rain drops, swept southeast by gusty winds near the ground. Virga is often mistaken for tornadoes from a distance, but the lack of rotation (and lightning nearby) is a tip-off that it's benign. That, and a dew point of 30 - that's a pretty good tip-off that tornadoes are the least of your concerns.
Photo credit above: HOPD. "In this photo provided by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, smoke rises from a fire near Springwood, west of Sydney, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. Nearly a hundred wildfires are burning across Australia's New South Wales state, more than a dozen of which are out of control, as unseasonably hot temperatures and strong winds fanned flames across the parched landscape." (AP Photo/New South Wales Rural Fire Service).
- The largest fire in Arizona’s history (2011’s Wallow Fire)
- Both the largest and most destructive fires in New Mexico’s history (2012’s Whitewater-Baldy Complex and Little Bear Fires, respectively)
- The most destructive fire in Texas’ history (2011’s Bastrop County Complex Fire)
- The first and second most destructive fires in Colorado’s history (2013’s Black Forest and 2012’s Waldo Canyon Fires, respectively)
- The third largest fire in California’s history (2013’s Rim Fire)
TODAY: Mostly cloudy, few showers. Winds: W 10-15. High: 45
SATURDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, risk of a frost in the suburbs. Low: 33
SUNDAY: Mostly cloudy and windy with showers (mixed with wet snow central and northern MN where a light slushy coating is possible). High: 45
SUNDAY NIGHT: Sprinkles taper, possible as a few flurries. Low: 31
MONDAY: Feels like late November. Some sun. High: 41
TUESDAY: Early freeze. Light PM mix of rain and snow, best chance south/west of MSP. Wake-up: 27. High: 42
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun. What October? Wake-up: 27. High: near 40
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, still brisk. Wake-up: 28. High: 42
FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Wake-up: 31. High: 43
* ECMWF and GFS guidance is hinting at 50s Sunday afternoon, the 27th.