- An upper-level system - currently responsible for heavy rain and snow in the western United States - will help develop a new area of low pressure in the Plains late this week.
- This system will bring the potential of heavy snow and ice from the Plains into the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast from late in the week into the weekend.
- Already Winter Storm Watches have been issued across parts of the Northeast - including Boston - for the heavy snow and ice potential.
Active Weather Out West. Heavy rain and snow – as well as blizzard conditions – have been occurring out in the western United States with a landfalling storm system. Blizzard Warnings are in effect across parts of the Sierra through the morning hours with Winter Storm Warnings continuing into early Friday due to total snowfall of 3-7 feet and wind gusts up to 100 mph. Numerous Flood Watches are also in effect, especially across burn scar areas as flash floods and debris flows will be possible due to heavy rain of at least 1-2” in spots.
Storm Moves East Late This Week. The same system responsible for the active weather out west will move east over the next few days with an area of low pressure developing in the Plains Friday. This will bring snow to parts of the Plains to end the week and begin the weekend, with snow and ice spreading into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend. The snow on Friday across parts of the Northeast is with a different, weaker system impacting the region.
Winter Storm Concerns. Due to the potential of snow across parts of the Plains by the end of the week, some Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Watches have been issued. Meanwhile, with the threat of heavy snow and ice increasing this weekend across the Northeast, Winter Storm Watches have already been put in place across parts of the region. Some of the cities under alerts this morning for this late week/weekend system include:
- Pierre, SD: Winter Storm Watch in effect from Midnight tonight to 6 PM Friday for 4-6” of snow.
- Sioux Falls, SD: Winter Weather Advisory in effect from 3 AM Friday to Midnight Friday night for 3-6” of snow.
- Omaha, NE: Winter Weather Advisory in effect from Noon Friday to 6 AM Saturday for 2-5” of snow.
- Des Moines, IA: Winter Weather Advisory in effect from Noon Friday to 6 AM Saturday for 4-6” of snow.
- Buffalo, NY: Winter Storm Watch in effect from 1 PM Saturday to 6 PM Monday for the potential of at least 7” of snow in combination with this upcoming storm system Saturday into Sunday as well as lake effect snow behind the system Sunday afternoon into Monday.
- Syracuse, NY: Winter Storm Watch in effect from 1 PM Saturday through 4 PM Sunday for the potential of 12-20” of snow.
- Albany, NY: Winter Storm Watch in effect from 4 PM Saturday through 7 PM Sunday for the potential of at least 9” of snow.
- Boston, MA: Winter Storm Watch in effect from 4 PM Saturday through 7 PM Sunday for the potential of at least 6” of snow along with ice accumulations of up to fourth-tenths of an inch.
- Portland, ME: Winter Storm Watch in effect from 7 PM Saturday through 7 PM Sunday for the potential of at least 6” of snow.
Snow Potential. While an inch or two of snow will be possible over the next 24-48 hours across parts of the Ohio Valley into the Northeast with a different system moving through the region, a bulk of the snow shown on the Northeast snowfall maps will fall with the larger system expected to move through the region this weekend. In the central United States up to a half a foot or more of snow will be possible in some locations as this system moves through. In the Northeast, some parts of the region could see over a foot of snow through the weekend. Note that as typical with these types of systems small changes in the path could change expected impacts for some areas. There is also uncertainty as to how far south the heaviest snow will fall due to differences in the models with regards to the extent of warm air and how fast the system moves through the region. All of this will help determine snowfall totals, especially in areas like New York City and Boston, and are issues that we will have to keep a close eye on the next few days.
Ice Potential. Another major impact with this system will be ice. While there is also uncertainty as to the where the greatest ice potential will be, it does appear likely that parts of the Northeast could see between at least a tenth and a quarter inch of ice from this system. Further back to the west, parts of the Ohio Valley could see up to about a tenth of an inch of ice through Saturday evening.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
By Todd Nelson, filling in for Douglas
Happy Friday and happy National Winnie the Pooh Day! Yes, there's a day for that... Today I am reminded by one of his famous quotes and especially this soon after the holiday season: "I am short, fat and proud of that."
Sure, I probably had one too many cookies in December and my bewitching 5 foot 5 inch frame will still never be able to slam dunk a basketball over Larry Bird or Kevin Garnett, but that's ok!
A strong Pacific storm recently dumped 5 to 8 feet snow across parts of California's Sierra Nevada range - unreal! A piece of that system will track across far southern Minnesota today with some shovelable amounts along the South Dakota and Iowa border, but the Twin Cities will get missed again!
If you're keeping track, MSP is nearly 17 inches below average for the season. Last year at this time, we were nearly 16 inches below average for the season and we all know what happened in April - GULP!
The weekend will be cold, especially up north. Hockey Day Minnesota fans in Bemidji will need extra layers Saturday - BRR!
FRIDAY: Light PM snow, heavier south. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 13.
FRIDAY NIGHT: Light snow, then mostly cloudy. Winds: NNE 5-10. Low: 3.
SATURDAY: Bright & cold for Hockey Day Minnesota. Feels like -10F early. Winds: NNW 5-10. High: 11.
SUNDAY: Quick clipper. Minor coating possible. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 2. High: 12.
MONDAY: Snow accumulations overnight. Winds: ESE 5-10. Wake-up: 8. High: 22.
TUESDAY: AM flurries. Cold wind. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 14. High: 20.
WEDNESDAY: Sub-zero wind chills. Few flurries. Winds: WNW 5-10. Wake-up: 0. High: 10.
THURSDAY: Another cold one. Extra layers needed. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: -2. High: 10.
This Day in Weather History
1996: A blizzard begins across the upper midwest. The Twin Cities Airport was spared the heavy snow, but received nearly one inch of rain. Heavy ice coating in the northwest metro area caused thousands of power outages. Wind chills were as low as -88 (on the old windchill scale) at Crookston. Snow totals were 18 inches at Ely and 12 inches at St. Cloud. Mail delivery was stopped for the day in Duluth and I-94 was closed all day from Rothsay and Moorhead. Flooding problems were caused in the Twin Cities due to backed up water.
1994: Governor Arne Carlson orders all Minnesota public schools closed due to the extreme cold and severe winter weather. Morning readings were in the 30-below-zero range. The biggest problem was from high winds that came with the cold.
Average High/Low for Minneapolis
Average High: 23F (Record: 48F set in 1891)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -36F set in 1887)
Record Rainfall: 0.31" set in 1895
Record Snowfall: 4.5" set in 2014
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Hours of Daylight: ~9 hours & 16 minutes
Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 1 minute & 57 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~ 30 minutes
Moon Phase for January 18th at Midnight
1.9 Days Until Full "Wolf" Moon
"Jan. 20: Full Wolf Moon 11:16 p.m. CST - Amid the frigid cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. The Full Wolf Moon was also known as the Old Moon or the Moon after Yule in other cultures. In some tribes this was the Full Snow Moon; most applied that name to the next moon. This year, there will be also be a total lunar eclipse that will be visible across the entire Western Hemisphere as well as Europe and a swath of western Africa. Totality will last 1 hour and 2 minutes."
"A lunar eclipse and a ‘super blood wolf moon’: how to watch this cosmic event"
"Skygazers are set to be treated to a total lunar eclipse this weekend, on top of a “super blood wolf moon.” The cosmic event is the convergence of a few stellar lunar events — an eclipse coinciding with a supermoon turning an eerie blood red. The eclipse will be visible to much of the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, the U.S., Mexico and South America on Sunday, Jan. 20, and finish early Monday, Jan. 21 (ET time). Here’s what you need to know. If you’re planning to watch the lunar eclipse, you may have to stay up a late. It begins around 9:12 p.m. ET on Jan. 20. However, you probably won’t be able to see any movement until the first phase of the eclipse, which is set to happen at 10:34 p.m. This is when the moon starts to get a little darker. Around 11:41 p.m., the full eclipse slowly sets in and then the maximum eclipse is set to take place at 12:12 a.m. Jan. 21. The total eclipse will end at 12:44 a.m. Unlike a solar eclipse, it’s completely safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye."
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:
"Tonight – January 18, 2019 – our chart covers an area of sky wider than we typically show. It’s in answer to a reader in Nashville, who wrote: We can do better than that. We can advise you to go outside on this date, and look for the waxing gibbous moon, then notice the stars nearby. The moon is within the Winter Circle stars on this date. All the stars of the Winter Circle (sometimes called the Winter Hexagon) are first-magnitude stars, so they should be able to withstand tonight’s drenching moonlight. The Winter Circle stars don’t form a perfect circle … is anything ever perfect? Try starting at Capella and moving clockwise to Aldebaran, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon, Pollux, and Castor. This pattern of stars is not a constellation. It’s a lot of separate stars in different constellations. In other words, it’s what’s called an asterism. From our Northern Hemisphere locations, these same bright stars can be seen before dawn every late summer and early fall. And they can be seen in the evening every winter. Hence the name Winter Circle. I wonder what these same stars are called in the Southern Hemisphere? They’re visible from there, but of course it’s summer there now. I don’t know if this particular collection of bright stars has some special name as seen from that part of the globe. If any of you do know … tell us in the comments!"
7 Day Precipitation Potential
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation potential suggests areas of heavy moisture continuing in the Western US with several inches of liquid likely, which could cause flooding at the lower elevations and heavy snow in the higher elevations. Also note the heavy precipitation potential in the Eastern US. Areas of heavy rain will be possible from the Tennessee Valley and south, while areas of heavy snow could be possible in the Northeast
“We’re a lot closer than we should be,” one Stanford scientist warned.. The year 2018 was not an easy one for planet Earth. Sure, wind and solar energy kept getting cheaper, and an electric car became America’s best-selling luxury vehicle. But the most important metric of climatic health—the amount of heat-trapping gas entering the atmosphere—got suddenly and shockingly worse. In the United States, carbon emissions leapt back up, making their largest year-over-year increase since the end of the Great Recession. This matched the trend across the globe. According to two major studies, greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide shot up in 2018—accelerating like a “speeding freight train,” as one scientist put it."