-28F Air Temp & -50F Wind Chill At MSP Wednesday Morning

 
My oh my was it cold on Wednesday morning... So cold that my MN Wild shirt froze in just a matter of minutes. On a more serious note, the cold is serious business. In fact, it's so cold that exposed skin can litterally freeze in just a matter of minutes. Ya sure you betcha! -28F at the MSP airport was the coldest temperature the Twin Cities has seen since February 2nd, 1996, nearly 23 years ago!
 

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How Cold Was It?
 
Thanks to the NWS for compiling the list below, which shows how cold it got for some selected cities across the region. The chart on the left was actual air temperature, while the list on the right was coldest wind chills observed. YIKES!
 

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Wind Chill Warning Continues Through AM Thursday
 
Dangerous and potentially life-threatening cold will continue into Thursday with wind chills dipping into the -30s, 40s and even -50s. The good news is that winds won't be quite as strong, but it is still going to be significantly cold.

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Another Cold MorningThursday
 
It is going to be another VERY cold morning across the region with widespread -20s, -30s and even some -40s for actual air temperatures. Keep in mind that the low temperature record at MSP for January  31st is -27F, which was set in 1887.
 
 
Weather Outlook For Thursday
 
Thursday will still likely stay below zero across much of the state, which will still be nearly -20F to -30F below average. The good news is that we should go above 0F on Friday and perhaps into the 40s ABOVE 0F this weekend with drizzle possible on Sunday. If you take into account that it felt like -55F Tuesday night/AM Wednesday, it may feel +90F warmer by Sunday... unreal!
 

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Arctic Plunge
 
Here's a look at the motherload of Arctic air as it poured into the Lower 48 this week. Note that the core was located right over Minnesota late Tuesday into Wednesday before modifying slightly as it moved into the Northeast. The bitter cold will still be with the northeastern quadrant of the nation through the end of the week.
 

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"The science behind the polar vortex"
 
"The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth's North and South poles. The term vortex refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air close to the poles (left globe). Often during winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the polar vortex will become less stable and expand, sending cold Arctic air southward over the United States with the jet stream (right globe). The polar vortex is nothing new  – in fact, it's thought that the term first appeared in an 1853 issue of E. Littell's Living Age. "
 
 

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Cold Here, but Not Everywhere...

Take a look at the series of images below, which shows the very large lob of Arctic air across parts of the Midwest/Northeast. While this air is significantly well below average, note how warm it is across much of the rest of the Northern Hemisphere and World. According to Climate Reanalyzer and the images below, temps in the Northern Hemisphere and World are running above average.


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Another Clipper Arrives Thursday

A weak clipper arrives on Thursday with minor snow accumulations across parts of Central and Southeastern Minnesota. The best chace of accumulations looks more likely as you get closer to the Ohio Valley and the southern Great Lakes. 

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Snowfall Accumulations Closer to Home
 
Snowfall accumulations PM Thursday into early AM Friday look to be fairly light, but the snow could cause some issues on area roads once again for the Thursday evening commute and the early Friday commute.
 

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Ice Safety Reminder
 
Recent mild December weather has made for fairly unsafe ice condtions across parts of the state. The MN DNR has some basic guidelines on how thick the ice should be before you even think about stepping out onto the ice! Also remember that ice is NEVER 100% SAFE!
 

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Fasten Seat Belts. 100-Degree Temperature Rise
By Paul Douglas
 
With apologies to Bill Shakespeare, here are a few scenes from A Midwinter Day's Nightmare. Scraping ice off the INSIDE of my truck windshield. Icy puddles on windowsills. Pops, squeaks and unsettling "frost-quakes" coming from my house contracting. Car exhaust sparking expansive clouds of blue smoke. Anxious texts from family members. "Are you OK?" We won't forget this polar punch anytime soon.
 
For much of Wednesday the Twin Cities were colder than the Amundsen-Scott weather station at the South Pole. 28 below. The coldest wind chill: 55 below. Horrifying, yet somehow... impressive. Coldest outbreak in 23 years.
 
Winds have eased; today's flurries a harbinger of milder, Pacific air to come. We approach 0F later today and 20 above will feel amazingly good Friday. We thaw out Saturday and 40s return Sunday, with a little light rain or ice.
 
Think about that. Factoring wind chill, a 100 degree temperature swing in 4 days?
 
I've been fortunate to track some crazy extremes over 4 decades, but that's just meteorological madness.
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Extended Forecast

THURSDAY: Coating of flurries. Winds: SE 7-12. High: -1.

THURSDAY NIGHT: Light snow ends early. Winds: SE 5. Low: -4. Feels like: -20F

FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, more tolerable. Winds: S 8-13. High: 20.

SATURDAY: Peeks of sun, risk of a PM thaw. Winds:SE 8-13. Wake-up: 17. High: 33.

SUNDAY: March-like. Light rain or patchy ice. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 31. High: 45.

MONDAY: Light mix ends as a little slush? Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 35. High: 40.

TUESDAY: Dry start. Wet snow arrives later. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 15. High: 28.

WEDNESDAY: Light snow tapers to flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 14. High: 19.
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This Day in Weather History
January 31st

1893: The temperature drops 40 degrees in five hours during a blizzard at Park Rapids.
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
January 31st

Average High: 25F (Record: 46F set in 2009)
Average Low: 8F (Record: -27F set in 1887)

Record Rainfall: 1.16" set in 1881
Record Snowfall: 6.2" set in 1908
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 31st

Sunrise: 7:34am
Sunset: 5:19pm

Hours of Daylight: ~9 hours & 45minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 31 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 59 minutes
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Moon Phase for January 31st at Midnight
3.6 Days Before New Moon


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What's in the Night Sky?

According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"Starting around January 30, 2019 – and through the morning of February 1 and possibly even February 2 – watch the slender waning crescent moon slide by the planets Jupiter, Venus and then Saturn. On January 30, the moon rises first, followed by Jupiter, then Venus and then Saturn. Given clear skies and an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunrise, it’ll be easy to catch the moon, Venus and Jupiter. These worlds rank as the second-brightest, third-brightest and fourth-brightest celestial bodies to light up the heavens, respectively, after the sun. Then just keep watching. The planets and moon will still be there – and the lit side of the moon will still be pointing in the direction of Saturn – on January 31 and February 1."

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National High Temps Thursday
 
High temps across the country on Thursday will still be VERY cold and well below average across much of the eastern half of the country, while the western half of the country will generally be above average.
 
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Weather Outlook
 
Heavy lake effect snow will continue across the Great Lakes Region on Thursday as another clipper develops across the Midwest/Ohio Valley Thursday into Friday. Meanwhile, areas of heavy precipitation will develop across the Western US with snow possible in the higher elevations.
 

7 Day Precipitation Potential

According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential shows heavier moisture across the Western part of the country, especially in California. Another round of heavier moisture looks possible across the Gulf Coast States once again. 

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"U.S. Midwest Freezes, Australia Burns: This Is the Age of Weather Extremes"
 
"In Chicago, officials warned about the risk of almost instant frostbite on what could be the city’s coldest day ever. Warming centers opened around the Midwest. And schools and universities closed throughout the region as rare polar winds streamed down from the Arctic. At the same time, on the other side of the planet, wildfires raged in Australia’s record-breaking heat. Soaring air-conditioner use overloaded electrical grids and caused widespread power failures. The authorities slowed and canceled trams to save power. Labor leaders called for laws that would require businesses to close when temperatures reached hazardous levels: nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit, or 47 Celsius, as was the case last week in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. This is weather in the age of extremes. It comes on top of multiple extremes, all kinds, in all kinds of places."

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"Are record snowstorms proof that global warming isn’t happening?"

No. Snowstorms require two things: moisture and freezing air temperatures. There are plenty of places where winter temperatures would have to rise by 10, 20, even 30 degrees Fahrenheit before it would stop snowing. Until then, snowstorms remain quite possible, and natural climate patterns and random variability will still lead to winters that are unusually cold and snowy in different locations. One way to demonstrate that record snowstorms aren’t incompatible with a warmer climate is to look back at the historical record snowstorms and the seasonal conditions that spawned them. An analysis of such storms between 1961-2010 showed that while most extreme snow storms did occur in seasons that were colder and wetter than average, about 35 percent of snow seasons that produced extreme snow events were warmer than average, and 30 percent were drier than average. Summarizing that analysis as part of a “state of the science” review of climate change and extreme storms in 2014, a group of scientists concluded: even if temperatures continue to warm as they have over the past several decades for the next few decades at least, then such record storms are possible, as they have been observed during otherwise warmer- and drier-than average seasons."

See more from NOAA HERE:


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"Scientists Solve the Mystery of Why the Northern and Southern Lights Don't Match"

"A leading explanation for the different patterns seen in Earth’s northern and southern auroras has been ruled out. Earth’s auroras, which colorfully illuminate the skies at high latitudes, are among the most spectacular phenomena on the planet. These radiant light shows are also filled with mysteries, including odd asymmetries between the patterns of Northern and Southern lights, first noticed by scientists in 2009. After ten years of puzzling over this unexpected imbalance between polar auroras, researchers led by Anders Ohma, a graduate student at the University of Bergen in Norway, think the answer could be the tilted pressure that the solar wind exerts on Earth’s magnetic field."

See more from Motherboard HERE:

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Paul Douglas: Windchills around -50 to start the day

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Back above 0 degrees Friday... finally!