First Weekend Of 2021

It's the first weekend of the new year! However, just like New Year's Day, we could be stuck in a little bit of some fog (potentially freezing fog) heading into Saturday, especially in the morning hours. Otherwise it's expected to be mainly cloudy with highs in the upper 20s. Sunday looks a lot sunnier with highs around 30F.

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Looking Back At December Snowfall

Despite the fact it took until the pre-Christmas blizzard to have any more than a trace of snow on the ground in the MSP climate report, we did end the month slightly above average in the snowfall department in the Twin Cities with 12.4" officially falling. Most of that fell on the 23rd - during that blizzard - when 8.7" was reported for the day at MSP airport. While both International Falls and Duluth also saw over a foot of snow for the month, St. Cloud and Rochester saw considerably less. Rochester actually saw their 21st least snowiest December on record with only 3.9" of snow falling - 8.6" below average.

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2020 Precipitation

While 2019 was quiet wet across southern Minnesota, 2020 didn't bring as much precipitation to the region. In fact, all climate sites across the state ended up below average for 2020. While it was only about three-quarters of an inch below average in the Twin Cities, we were almost 10" below average in Duluth. Since 1872, it was the 10th driest year on record in Duluth. Many areas across the Dakotas into Minnesota saw below average precipitation, but as you head farther east into the Great Lakes we saw greater than average values.

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Snow Depth Update

The snow earlier this week helped to freshen up the snowpack out there! The deepest snow depth is still across portions of the Arrowhead, where 18-24" of snow is reported is some locations. Along the Matthew Lourey State Trail in the Nemadji State Forest a snow depth of 17" was reported on December 30th. Some other snow depth updates:

Find more reports from state parks and trails via the Minnesota DNR Snow Depth and Groomed Trails website.

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Odds Increase For a Goldilocks Winter
By Paul Douglas

I'm starting to wonder if this may evolve into a rare Goldilocks Winter. Cold enough for snow most of the time, but without the shuddering, gasp-worthy blasts of bitter air, still reeking of the Polar Circle.

Perspective is in order. The next few weeks are, historically, the coldest of the year for Minnesota. Looking at past data, the coldest day at MSP is about January 17. That doesn't mean we can't get subzero temperatures into March, but the severity and duration of arctic chill peaks in January.

[checks maps] Weather models continue to show a remarkably persistent flow from the Pacific, with the coldest (Siberian) air swirling well to our north the next few weeks. I don't see anything subzero for the metro looking out 2 weeks. Will we dodge a bitter bullet this winter? It is too early to say with any confidence, but at this point I'd wager a stale State Fair corn dog that this will be a milder winter for Minnesota.

The maps look pretty dry and quiet, with a January Thaw breaking out next week.

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Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, milder. Wake up 19. High 30. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.

SUNDAY: Puddles of blue sky, quiet. Wake up 16. High 31. Chance of precipitation 0%. Wind SW 8-13 mph.

MONDAY: A few decorative flurries, breezy. Wake up 20. High 35. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 15-25 mph.

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, still dry. Wake up 19. High 31. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SE 8-13 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy, very light snow or flurries. Wake up 26. High 32. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SE 10-15 mph.

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy skies. Wake up 19. High 30. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind E 5-10 mph.

FRIDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Wake up 21. High 31. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
January 2nd

1941: Grand Portage gets over 4.5 inches of precipitation in 24 hours. That's roughly how much normally falls there during the 'winter' months from November to February.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
January 2nd

Average High:24F (Record: 45F set in 1998)
Average Low:8F (Record: -36F set in 1885)
Average Precipitation:0.03" (Record: 0.46" set in 1999)
Average Snowfall: 0.4" (Record: 6.1" in 1999)
Record Snow Depth: 19" in 1970

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 2nd

Sunrise:7:51 AM
Sunset:4:43 PM

*Length Of Day:8 hours,52 minutes and16 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday:~0 minutes and56 seconds

*When Do We Climb To 9 Hours Of Daylight?January 9th (9 hours,0 minutes, and 51 seconds)
*When Is The Latest Sunrise?: December 29th-January 5th (7:51 AM)
*When Is Sunset At/After 5 PM? January 17th (5:00 PM)

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Twin Cities And Minnesota Weather Outlook

We will be watching that fog/freezing fog chance Saturday in the Twin Cities - particularly in the morning hours. Otherwise, skies are expected to be mainly cloudy. We'll wake up with temperatures around 20F, only climbing to the upper 20s for highs.

Skies will be fairly cloudy across much of the state Saturday, but some sunnier skies could occur across far western Minnesota later in the afternoon hours. Again, we'll also watch the chance for some fog or freezing fog. Highs will be in the 20s and 30s across the state.

While these highs will be a few degrees above average in the Twin Cities, they'll be 15-20F degrees above average up in northwestern portions of the state. The average high in the Twin Cities for January 2nd is 24F.

We'll see fairly quiet weather the next several days with highs that are above average in the upper 20s to 30s in the Twin Cities. The warmest day of the next five will be Monday with highs potentially approaching 40F. Models do bring the chance of at least some light snow to the region heading into the middle of the week, but the best chance appears to be across northern Minnesota at the moment.

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National Weather Forecast

The storm that has been impacting the central portion of the nation with snow and ice will move into the Northeast on Saturday, but rain, snow, and ice will extend back into the central Plains with the potential of strong storms in the Southeast. Rain and snow will be possible in the Northwest with the next system moving in.

Through Sunday the heaviest snow is expected out in the Cascades, where some areas could see up to 100" of snow. However, there are portions of Maine and New Hampshire that could see over a half a foot of snow fall. Some areas along the Pacific Northwest coast could see at least 2-4" of rain, and portions of the Southeast could see at least 1-3" as well.

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Exploring Space Can Unite the U.S.—but Not in the Way You Might Think

More from Scientific American: "On January 31, 1958, the U.S. put its first satellite into space. As the Jupiter C rocket carrying the satellite burned its way through the upper atmosphere, engineers at Cape Canaveral in Florida were "shouting, singing, cheering." At the National Academy of Sciences, there was "hardly elbow room among the crowd on hand to hear that the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, was up." But how did Americans feel about what followed? Many people think that NASA's programs of the late 1950s and 1960s were extremely popular, and it is often said that the Apollo program unified an otherwise disunified nation. In our current moment of national disunity, it is tempting to imagine a reinvigorated program of space exploration bringing us back together."

7 Graphics That Show Why the Arctic Is in Trouble

More from Earther: "It's no secret that the Arctic is in trouble. And while the worrying state of the ice in the region has made numerous headlines this year, they're just the latest twists and turns in a long-term trend. One of the best gauges for putting what's happening in the region into perspective is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Arctic Report Card, a compilation of environmental observations and analyses that the agency has been producing annually for 15 years. It was released earlier this month, providing an in-depth look at the Arctic's struggles as the climate crisis reshapes the region. But if you're more of a visual person, NOAA made these neat—although worrying—graphics to help get a handle on what's happened this past year and how it fits into the bigger picture."

Australia records fourth-warmest year in 2020, despite La Niña

More from The Guardian: "Last year was the fourth warmest on record for Australia, continuing a run of record warm years over the past decade, according to provisional data released by the Bureau of Meteorology. Across the country, temperatures in 2020 were 1.15C higher than average, putting the year behind 2005, 2013 and 2019, which remains the hottest year on record."

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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