Cold Streaks Slowly Coming To An End

As warmer weather continues to arrive the next few days, we are slowly starting to end our streaks of consecutive days with temperatures colder than a certain temperature. One that is still alive and running is our streak of highs that are colder than +20F. Through Wednesday, we were at 13 straight days, good enough for a tie for 28th place. We should add two more days to that (Thursday and Friday), which would bring us up to 15 straight days and a tie for the 20th longest stretch on record.

One stretch that we did end Thursday morning was our streak of subzero lows. Wednesday morning marked the 12th morning in a row, which was good enough for 20th place. The morning low Thursday was above zero, ending this streak. I'll be glad when we can stop talking about this long cold stretch, period!

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Cold Start To February

While we are below average in the snowfall department so far this month, the main story has been that bitterly cold air in place across the region. With both very cold highs and lows, the average temperature so far this month has only been 2.4F through Wednesday. That's the 7th coldest start to the month on record. The good news is that we should climb upward as we head into next week with highs in the low 40s - more on that in a moment.

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Weekend Outlook

As we head into the weekend, the sunnier day of the two looks to be Saturday as highs finally climb back into the 20s. They'll be even warmer on Sunday - in the low 30s - but I think we will see a few more clouds and the chance of some snow showers. Right now it doesn't look like much - maybe up to an inch or so.

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I'm Just Happy The Power Is Still On
By Paul Douglas

In these parts winter isn't so much a season, but an occupation. The last 12 months has reset my expectations. I'm grateful the power is on, we have running water, and a thaw is still on the way.

Here in The Land of Low Weather Expectations 30s in late February, after the subzero streak we just endured, is cause for hoots, hollers and high-fives. I see a run of 30s next week; ECMWF (the "Euro") is hinting at 40 degrees the first few days of next week. We'll see a few more cold slaps, but I suspect the worst of winter, in terms of subzero chill, is behind us now.

Flurries lingered longer than expected yesterday - the sun should make a cameo appearance today and Saturday before a quick inch of slush on Sunday. Long-range models (low confidence) suggest a potentially snowier, icier pattern as we push into early March.

Daylight is increasing 3 minutes every day now. We've picked up 1 hour, 52 minutes of daylight since December 21. A higher sun angle is (finally!) pulling us out of the deep freeze.

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Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

FRIDAY: A few sunny breaks. Wake up 2. High 18. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind W 5-10 mph.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny. Almost pleasant. Wake up 2. High 23. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.

SUNDAY: Light snow, maybe an inch of slush? Wake up 15. High 29. Chance of precipitation 60%. Wind S 5-10 mph.

MONDAY: Some sun. First thaw since Feb. 4. Wake up 19. High 39. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 10-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, hints of March. Wake up 32. High 40. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy and a bit cooler. Wake up 30. High 36. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NE 8-13 mph.

THURSDAY: Clouds linger, temps. close to average. Wake up 25. High 32. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind N 8-13 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
February 19th

1928: A dust storm moves across Minnesota, causing lights to be turned on in the daytime in the Twin Cities.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
February 19th

Average High:30F (Record: 59F set in 2017)
Average Low:14F (Record: -20F set in 1941)
Average Precipitation:0.02" (Record: 0.72" set in 1952)
Average Snowfall: 0.3" (Record: 8.3" in 1952)
Record Snow Depth: 30" in 1967

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 19th

Sunrise:7:07 AM
Sunset:5:47 PM

*Length Of Day:10 hours, 40 minutes and7 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday:~2 minutes and 59 seconds

*When Do We Climb To 11 Hours Of Daylight?February 26th (11 hours,1 minute, and 25 seconds)
*When Is The Sunrise At/Before 7:00 AM?: February 23rd (7:00 AM)
*When Is The Sunset At/After 6:00 PM? March 1st (6:01 PM)

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Minnesota And Twin Cities Weather Outlook

We'll see partly sunny skies in the Twin Cities to end the work week on Friday, with morning temperatures starting off around 0F but climbing into the mid-teens. With winds around 5 mph, it'll feel a touch cooler - in the single digits below zero during the morning hours, and the single digits above zero in the midday and afternoon hours.

It should be a fairly quiet day across the state Friday, with highs mainly in the teens. These highs are still about 10F to 15F degrees below average for mid-February. The average high in the Twin Cities for February 19th is 30F.

Our warm-up this week will accelerate heading into the weekend, with 20s expected Saturday, 30s on Sunday, and highs near 40F early next week. After our stretch of cold weather to begin the month of February, 40s next week are going to feel VERY nice!!

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National Weather Forecast

Snow and ice will continue to impact areas of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states Friday, with storms across the Southeast. Rain and snow will be possible out west. Otherwise, areas that have been hard hit in the Southern U.S. with wintry weather the past week are finally going to get a break.

We'll see the typical heavy mountain snow as we head through the next few days. Otherwise, portions of the Northeast could see over half a foot of snow Thursday into Friday. 1-3" of rain could fall across the Southeast. Meanwhile, from Thursday into Friday, up to half an inch of ice is possible across portions of the Mid-Atlantic.

By next Wednesday, the wintry weather the Southern Plains have observed will be long gone, with 70s possible across portions of Texas and Louisiana.

Through Wednesday, we have seen a lot of snow across portions of the Southern United States - particularly in the past several days. Little Rock, with 20.3" of snow through Wednesday, is already at its fourth snowiest snow season on record ever - the top place is 26.8" in the winter of 1917-1918.

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No, frozen wind turbines aren't the main culprit for Texas' power outages

More from The Dallas Morning News: "Frozen wind turbines in Texas caused some conservative state politicians to declare Tuesday that the state was relying too much on renewable energy. But in reality, the wind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas projected that 80% of the grid's winter capacity, or 67 gigawatts, could be generated by natural gas, coal and some nuclear power. An official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday afternoon that 16 gigawatts of renewable energy generation, mostly wind generation, were offline. Nearly double that, 30 gigawatts, had been lost from thermal sources, which includes gas, coal and nuclear energy. By Wednesday, those numbers had changed as more operators struggled to operate in the cold: 45 gigawatts total were offline, with 28 gigawatts from thermal sources and 18 gigawatts from renewable sources, ERCOT officials said."

Texas grid fails to weatherize, repeats mistake feds cited 10 years ago

More from the Houston Chronicle: "Ten years ago, plunging temperatures forced rolling blackouts across Texas, leaving more than 3 million people without power as the Super Bowl was played outside Dallas. Now, with a near identical scenario following another Texas cold snap, Texas power regulators are being forced to answer how the unusually cold temperatures forced so much of the state's power generation offline when Texans were trying to keep warm. To start, experts say, power generators and regulators failed to heed the lessons of 2011 — or for that matter, 1989. In the aftermath of the Super Bowl Sunday blackout a decade ago, federal energy officials warned the grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT, that Texas power plants had failed to adequately weatherize facilities to protect against cold weather."

Warmer California Winters May Fuel Grapevine-Killing Pierce's Disease

More from Inside Climate News: "Sometime around 1990, an exotic winged menace arrived in Southern California. No one knows exactly when or how it got there. Most likely, it evaded agricultural inspectors as a clutch of eggs stuck to a plant shipped from its home turf in the Southeast United States. There, the glassy-winged sharpshooter is the primary carrier of Pierce's disease, a grapevine killer that thrives in the mild southeastern climate, where it makes growing pinot noir, chardonnay and other European varietals nearly impossible. Within a decade of being spotted in California, the transplant had triggered a major Pierce's disease outbreak that destroyed hundreds of acres of those prized varietals in the Temecula Valley, a winegrowing region between Los Angeles and San Diego."

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Thanks for checking in and have a great day! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser).

- D.J. Kayser