Cold Wave

Paul Douglas

Coldest Air of Winter Next 7 Days

Bitter Winds Thursday - Plowable Snow Possible Sunday

Paul Douglas
January 22, 2019 - 9:01 pm

A Minnesota winter is not for the faint of heart, and that point will be driven home over the next week to 10 days, as what will probably wind up being the coldest air of 2019 pushes south of the border, coming in 2 distinctive waves. For perspective, we've seen colder - I'm not yet convinced we'll be setting new record lows. But after a streak of 30s and 40s the first half of January this will be character-building cold, a rude reminder that January is still the coldest month of the year in Minnesota. No kidding.

Thursday Wind Gusts
Praedictix and AerisWeather

Eye-Watering Winds on Thursday. A sharp drop in temperature will turn on the wind machine Thursday, with wind gusts as high as 30-35 mph. Which would be bad enough on a day with average temperatures (mid 20s). But coming with single digit temperatures winds of this magnitude will produce dangerous wind chill readings.

Thursday Wind Chill
Praedictix and AerisWeather

Thursday Wind Chill Values. The map above shows lowest predicted wind chill values between 7 am and 7 pm on Thursday, as the latest arctic front pushes across the state with winds gusting over 30 mph.

Watches and Warnings
Praedictix and AerisWeather

Threading the Needle. Heavy snow passes just south and east of Minnesota today and Thursday with some 4-8" snowfall amounts expected from Des Moines and the Quad Cities to Madison and Milwaukee. If your travels take you into Iowa or Wisconsin plan on wintery and potentially treacherous conditions. Meanwhile winds gusting to 40-50 mph will pick up snow already on the ground over the Dakotas and far western Minnesota, producing white-out conditions and ground blizzards tonight into Thursday. Blizzard Warnings are posted for western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas for high winds picking up snow that's already on the ground. Be careful out there, especially south/west of MSP in open country tonight and Thursday.

Friday Lows
Praedictix and AerisWeather

Wake-up Temperatures on Friday. Remind me to sleep in until the crack of March. Air temperatures may dip to -10F in the Twin Cities metro early Friday; as cold as -16F at Brainerd, -18F at Alexandria and a crisp -23F at Brainerd. Wind chills will range from -20 to -40F statewide. I have a sudden urge to cash in frequent flyer miles.

Friday Highs
Praedictix and AerisWeather

Friday Highs. I hesitate calling this a "high". Let's go with maximum temperature. Models suggest temperatures may not climb above 0F across most of the state Friday; the urban heat island giving the immediate MSP area a 3-4F boost, keeping afternoon readings just above 0F. Lovely.

European Model for Twin Cities

European Model. Friday will be cold enough, but temperatures may not bottom out until the middle of next week, in fact the immediate Twin Cities metro area may experience 2-3 straight days of subzero temperatures, from Tuesday through Thursday, with nighttime lows as cold as -15 to -20F. At some point Canada will (temporarily) run out of bitter air and temperatures struggle back into the teens and 20s the first week of February.

To make matters even more interesting, models are (consistently) printing out a plowable snow risk for Sunday, mainly PM hours, along the leading edge of next week's polar plunge. It's too early to forecast specific amounts, and it will depend on the exact track of this next Alberta Clipper, but if the forecast holds I could see enough snow to shovel and plow during the PM hours Sunday into Monday morning. Stay tuned for updates.

A few words to the wise:

1). If your traveling south/east today plan on running into heavy snow from Iowa into southern Wisconsin. If your travels take you into the Dakotas ground blizzards are possible later today and tonight. Either way, I would have a winter survival kit in my vehicle and not deviate from the interstates unless I absolutely had to.

2). Thursday and Friday will be numbing, but if dressed properly and moving around you should be just fine. Try to avoid exposed skin - frostbite on unprotected flesh will be possible within a few minutes.

3). Keep an eye on Sunday-Monday snowfall predictions. Travel may be very tough late Sunday into Monday morning, depending on the track of this next clipper. I've found that the colder the air, the stronger the clipper, which leads me to believe we may, in fact, see a few inches of powder late Sunday into Monday.

4). Temperatures bottom out by the middle of next week with a few nights colder than -15F in the MSP metro. Not record-setting, but a vague, burning reminder that it can still get plenty cold at this latitude.

We'll keep updating the weather on your weather station, News-Talk 830, WCCO. I hope you'll keep tuning in for the latest!

- Paul Douglas

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