Saturday Snow Potential...
Weather conditions on Friday will be much quieter than they were all week with peeks of cold sunshine possible through the afternoon. A storm system pushes into the region on Saturday with shovelable/plowable amounts likely across the southern half of the state. The heaviest snow will be found along the MN/IA border with some 4" to 8" amounts possible there. Lighter amounts will be found farther norther, but 2" to 4" may still be possible across the Twin Cities metro through Sunday. Stay tuned for winter weather headlines that will likely be posted later today (for Saturday & Sunday). Here's a look at the weather story from the NWS Twin Cities:
"A slow moving low pressure system will bring a snowy weekend to much of the region. The snow will spread into western Minnesota Saturday morning and into eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin during the afternoon and evening hours. The snow will continue Saturday night and Sunday and then end from west to east Sunday night. The heaviest snow accumulation is expected across far southern Minnesota/northern Iowa and adjoining areas of Wisconsin."
Coldest Air Since Last Winter in Alaska
Thanks to @Climatologist49 for this tweet, which showed that an RAWS (Remote Automatic Weather Station) recorded a -52F temperature Wednesday morning, which ties the coldest temperature recorded in Alaska all of last winter.
"Record-Warm in Alaska"
Despite recent cold weather in Alaska, the average statewide temperature from January through November was 6F above average and the warmest such period on record!
Take a look at the animation from Monday, December 5th to Thursday, December 15th below, which shows the development of the Arctic air plunging across the Lower 48 over the last few days. The animation also shows the continuation as another reinforcing shot even colder air surges south into next week.
Here's the same loop as above (Monday, December 5th to Thursday, December 15th). Note how suddenly we've gone from much above average temperatures across the nation to much below average temperatures across the nation. Also note the secondary blob of Arctic air that funnels in over some of the same areas in the Eastern US next week. For some, this will be an even colder air mass than we we are currently dealing with.
Here's the national weather outlook through Monday, which shows heavy lake effect snow continuing across the Great Lakes Region through the end of the week. The next surge of Pacific moisture will continue to slide into the Western US with heavy rain along the coast and heavy snow in the high elevations. The next wave of energy will develop into a snow maker across the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes by the weekend. Note that there appears to be another surge of even heavier snow from across the Plains through the Ohio Valley/Great Lakes and into the Northeast by the early and middle part of next week.
10-Day Snowfall Outlook
Here's the 10 day snowfall potential, which shows heavier snow across the Great Lakes Region and the higher elevations in the Western U.S.. A steady stream of Pacific moisture may translate into heavier snow over the next several days across parts of the northern tier of the nation. Some of these events could produce shovelable/plowable amounts of snow across a wider area that could impact many across the country. Now that colder air is in place across the country, any moisture that moves through will have a better chance of falling in the form of snow.
According to NOAA's WPC, the 5 day precipitation outlook suggests heavy precipitation in the Western US, especially along the coast in the higher elevations. Some spots could see as much as 3" to 7"+ liquid through early next week. Much of the precipitation in the Western US will fall in the form of heavy snow in the mountains. Some spots could see 1ft. to 2ft. of snow through the weekend. Also note the heavy moisture around the Great Lakes, which will fall in the form of heavy lake effect snow over the next several days! There will also be some decent liquid tallies across parts of the Tennessee Valley and into Kentucky, which will further help the drought.
Rainfall Past 14 Days
Take a look at the precipitation over the last 14 days. Note the heaviest swath from parts of eastern Texas through the Gulf Coast States and Tennessee Valley. Some spots have seen nearly 6" to 10"+ over that time period, which is wonderful news conditions these are some of the areas under the worst drought.
US Drought Monitor
According to the US Drought Monitor, there has been a decent improvement in the national drought. The biggest change comes in the extreme category that went from 8.66% national down to 5.3% nationally. Much of this improvement was seen in the Southeast.
Precipitation Needed to End Drought in the Southeast
Even after all the rain we've seen in the Southeast, we still need several more inches of rainfall to end the drought there. Some spots still need another 6" to 10"+.
Somewhat snowy Saturday. Arctic invasion next week
My oh my, it sure is cold out there! It's not that we haven't seen weather like this before, it's just that it came so suddenly.
Remember that high temps topped out around 40 degrees on Monday and dropped 20 to 30 degrees by Tuesday after the Arctic front blew through. We haven't seen readings like this since February; 10 months ago. Unless you have a plane ticket south or are planning on locking yourself in a sauna, we're going to have to endure these colder temps for the foreseeable future. In fact, it looks even colder next week with highs in the single digits and lows dipping below zero. Last time it was that cold in December was back in 2014.
Enjoy calmer winds Friday with a few peeks of cold sunshine. Clouds increase Saturday in advance of our next snow event that looks to bring plowable snow to the southern half of the state. At this point, the heaviest looks to fall along the MN/IA border with lighter amounts in central Minnesota.
Minnesota remains drought free. Through Dec. 8th, MSP has been the 6th wettest year on record.
Extended Weather Outlook
FRIDAY: Less wind, still cold. Peeks of sun. Winds: WNW 5. High: 15.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy and cold. Winds: WNW 5. Low: 5
SATURDAY: Shovel-worthy PM snow develops in southern MN. Winds: E 10-15. High: 17.
SUNDAY: Lingering light snow. Winds: ENE 5. Wake-up: 15. High: 20.
MONDAY: A few flakes. Turning colder. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 10. High: 15.
TUESDAY: Another Arctic blast. Winds: WNW 10-15. Wake-up: 2. High: 6.
WEDNESDAY: Some sun. Icy winds. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: -5. High: 8.
THURSDAY: Face-numbing wind chills continue. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 3. High: 7.
This Day in Weather History
2003: Significant snow with amounts between 6 to 10 inches falls from southwest Minnesota across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and into west central Wisconsin. Winds across the area were 25 to 30 mph, with blowing and drifting snow in open areas. Although some parts of far south central Minnesota only picked up 4 to 6 inches, winds in this area were a little stronger, creating near-blizzard conditions. The greatest snowfall totals occurred in the Twin Cities metro, where Chaska, Chanhassen and New Hope all picked up 11 inches. Ten inches were recorded at Lamberton, Springfield and Gaylord. There was a sharp cutoff on the northern edge of the snow; Lamberton in southernmost Redwood County tallied 10 inches, while 25 miles to the north at Belview in far northern Redwood County, only 2 inches was recorded. Rockford, straddling the Hennepin/Wright County line, received 6 inches, whereas Buffalo, 10 miles to the northwest in central Wright County, only received 1 inch.
1995: The passage of a strong low pressure system on the 8th leads to wind chill readings of 50 to 75 below as strong northwest winds of 25 to 40 mph ushered significantly colder air across the region. The dangerously cold wind chill readings persisted through the morning of the 9th.
1961: A snowstorm hits central Minnesota. Mora gets about a foot.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 29F (Record: 58F set in 1939)
Average Low: 14F (Record: -27F set in 1876)
Record Snowfall: 10.5" set in 2012
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~57sec
*Daylight Lost Since Summer Solstice: ~6hours and 42mins
Moon Phase for December 9th at Midnight
2.9 Days Since First Quarter
Weather Outlook Friday
High temperatures on Friday will be a little colder than what we've been dealing with over the past couple of days. The good thing is that winds won't be quite as strong as they've been earlier this week, so it won't feel quite as bad. Note that a few locations across northwestern MN will still feel like the single digits and teens below zero by midday.
Weather Outlook Friday
The nice thing about Friday is that winds will be much lighter than they were earlier this week. The winds won't be quite as icy as they were PM Tuesday and Wednesday.
Weather Outlook Friday
Weather conditions across the state look pretty quiet. Other than a few lingering flurries across the international border and Arrowhead, we should stay mainly dry until Saturday. There may even be a few more peeks of sun by the afternoon. Meanwhile, heavy lake effect snow continues along the south shore of Lake Superior.
Here's the weather outlook through Monday. Note the heavy lake effect snow ongoing across the Great Lakes Region before another surge of snow quickly plows through the Upper Midwest on Saturday and Sunday. This will be responsible for some plowable snow from south of Minneapolis to Madison, WI and Chicago, IL. Quickly after that, another larger snow event looks to take shape.
Warmest Autumn (Sept. - Nov.) on Record for Contiguous U.S.
According to NOAA, if you lived in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico or Texas, you just lived through the WARMEST autumn (September - November) on record! As a whole, the contiguous U.S. also had its warmest autumn on record as the average temperature ran nearly 4F above average!
U.S. Had Its 2nd Highest Number of November Wildfires in 2016
According to NOAA, there were nearly 8,560 wildfires across the Lower 48 during the month of November, which becomes the 2nd highest number of wildfires during the November.
"Wildfires: In November, 8,560 wildfires raged across the Continental U.S. and burned more than 275,000 acres, most notably in the Southeast."
"Significant Climate Anomalies & Events for November and Autumn 2016"
Here are some of the most noteworthy climate events that happened during November and Autumn of 2016. Note that much of these climate events included either warmer than average temperatures or drought/wildfire concerns.
-Drought: The area of extreme to exceptional drought in the Lower 48 increased from 4.9% to 8.7%; in -the Southeast it nearly doubled from 19.7% to 36.2%.
-Wildfires: In November, 8,560 wildfires raged across the Continental U.S. and burned more than 275,000 acres, most notably in the Southeast.
-North Dakota experienced temperatures 12.8 degrees F above average, nearly 2 degrees above the previous record set in 1999.
-Alaska experienced its warmest year to date on record, a full 6 degrees F above average.
Pacific Northwest experienced above-normal precipitation during autumn along the coast. Washington state was record wet.
"Cassini Beams Back First Images from New Orbit"
Unreal! Cassini, a satellite that was launched in 1997 to explore Saturn, is sending back new images and they are pretty amazing! Here's an excerpt from NASA:
"NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent to Earth its first views of Saturn’s atmosphere since beginning the latest phase of its mission. The new images show scenes from high above Saturn's northern hemisphere, including the planet's intriguing hexagon-shaped jet stream. Cassini began its new mission phase, called its Ring-Grazing Orbits, on Nov. 30. Each of these weeklong orbits -- 20 in all -- carries the spacecraft high above Saturn's northern hemisphere before sending it skimming past the outer edges of the planet's main rings."
"NASA Made a Really Dumb Mistake on an ISS Power Supply"
"The INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION is currently home to six intrepid astronauts, one Robonaut, and four 14,000-pound payload-holders called ExPRESS Logistics Carriers. Experiments from Earth like the laser-communicator OPALS fly up to Station and Lego-attach to these carriers, which provide them with a place to stay and, just as importantly, the electrical power and data links they need to do their jobs. But since 2013, scientists sending up payloads have had trouble with the on-orbit utility grid."
(Image Credit: NOAA)