Warm Start To January

With a lot of clouds and fog to begin the month here in the Twin Cities, it has been quite a warm first half of the month. Through Saturday, the average temperature has been exactly 10F degrees above average, making it the 6th warmest start to January on record. Below you can see the top ten warmest starts to January. Meanwhile, while we are right around average for precipitation (rain/melted wintry precipitation), we have only received 2.9" of snow so far. All of that fell with our snow event to end the work week last week, although we have also observed three days with a trace of snow (4th, 9th, 16th). The snow so far this month is 3.5" below average.

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Snow So Far This Winter

While it has been a relatively non-snowy January so far, we are a little over 5" above average for the full snow season so far in the Twin Cities. This is the 15th snowiest start to the snow season on record, and the most snow we've seen so far in the snow season since 2010-2011 when we already had 52.6" of snow. You can see the top fifteen rankings for MSP below:

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Up And Down Temperatures This Week

It's going to be a very up and down temperature week here in the Twin Cities. A cold front will move through the region by Monday morning, keeping highs slightly below average Monday in the low 20s and then 5-10F degrees below average Tuesday in the mid/upper teens. After a warm front, highs will quickly climb back into the 30s for Wednesday and Thursday before they collapse back into the teens once again Friday.

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Long Range Forecast Has Below Average Temperatures

For those who want the temperature to actually feel like winter (not me!), there might be some hope for you as we head into the last third of January. The extended outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center show the potential of colder than average temperatures to end the month here in the upper Midwest.

You can see the rollercoaster temperatures not only expected this week but potentially through the end of the month here in the Twin Cities on the American GFS model.

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Past The Official Midpoint of Winter?
By Paul Douglas

"The cold never bothered me, anyway" said Elsa in the Disney flick "Frozen". Me neither. It's not so much the cold, but rather the absence of warmth.

Welcome to the proverbial Dead of Winter, which hasn't been all that bad. So far this winter MSP has enjoyed only 2 nights below zero. That compares with 9 subzero nights the previous winter, to date.

And if you need a little cheering up (who doesn't) consider this. Analyzing data since 1981, mean MSP temperatures bottom out between January 8-22 (15F). Which means the unoffical midpoint of winter is roughly January 15. Beginning tomorrow our average high temperature starts to climb again, for the first time since late July. You're welcome.

A few chilly days are on tap later this week. Colder - but hardly polar. In spite of a few spasms of numbing air, strong jet stream winds may conspire to keep the coldest air of winter north of Minnesota.

A coating of snow is possible Tuesday, again next weekend; but big storms stay south of MN until further notice.

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Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, brisk. Wake up 16. High 20. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.

TUESDAY: Quick inch of snowy powder? Wake up 7. High 16. Chance of precipitation 70%. Wind W 5-10 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, turning milder. Wake up 8. High 34. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 10-20 mph.

THURSDAY: Some sun, snow showers late. Wake up 14. High 32. Chance of precipitation 40%. Wind W 10-20 mph.

FRIDAY: Sunny and numb. Feels like January. Wake up 0. High 9. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.

SATURDAY: Sunny start. Snow Saturday night. Wake up -5. High 11. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.

SUNDAY: Morning flurries, some PM clearing. Wake up 9. High 20. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
January 18th

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.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
January 18th

Average High:23F (Record: 48F set in 1880)
Average Low:7F (Record: -36F set in 1887)
Average Precipitation:0.03" (Record: 0.31" set in 1895)
Average Snowfall: 0.4" (Record: 4.5" in 2014)
Record Snow Depth: 20" in 1970

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
January 18th

Sunrise:7:45 AM
Sunset:5:02 PM

*Length Of Day:9 hours,16 minutes and35 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday:~1 minute and58 seconds

*When Do We Climb To 9.5 Hours Of Daylight?January 25th (9 hours,31 minutes, and 51 seconds)
*When Is The Sunrise At/Before 7:30 AM?: February 3rd (7:29 AM)
*When Is The Sunset At/After 5:30 PM? February 7th (5:30 PM)

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Monday's Twin Cities And Minnesota Weather Outlook

Temperatures will stay pretty steady throughout the day in the Twin Cities Monday in the upper teens to low 20s. The high is expected to be around 22F with mainly cloudy skies once again in place.

Skies will be mostly cloudy across the state Monday, with maybe an occasional peak of sunshine, particularly late in the day. There could be a few snow snowers up along the North Shore in the morning hours, with a few flurries or snow showers in southwestern Minnesota in the afternoon. Highs will range from around 10F up toward Roseau to the low 20s across southern Minnesota.

These highs will be slightly below average across most of the state Monday. The average high in the Twin Cities for January 18th is 23F.

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National Weather Forecast

On Monday, an area of lower pressure in the Great Lakes will produce snow across the region, stretching into the Ohio Valley. Snow will be possible in the Rockies and Northern Plains. Rain showers can be expected in the Southern Plains.

There will be a few areas of heavier snow across the Lower 48 over the next few days, including downwind of Lakes Erie and Ontario and across portions of the Rockies where at least 6-12" could fall. An inch or two of rain will be possible in the Pacific Northwest, the Desert Southwest, and the Southern Plains.

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Meet the First Comet of 2021!

More from Starwalk: "On January 3, 2021, an American astronomer Gregory J. Leonard discovered a new comet at the Mount Lemmon Observatory in Arizona, USA. It was named C/2021 A1 (Leonard) – the letter "C" means "non-periodic comet", and "2021 A1" indicates that it was the first comet discovered in the first half of January 2021. A specific feature of comet Leonard is its incredible speed – about 70 km/s! It's moving 6 km/s faster than last year's comet NEOWISE. Due to such speed, the comet's position in the sky will be changing every day when we observe it from the Earth."

The 5 Most At-Risk Places for Natural Disasters in the U.S. Are All Major Metropolitan Areas

More from Money: "Thinking of natural disasters, many of us conjure up images of rural wilderness and coastlines. But a new Federal Emergency Management Agency analysis shows the places that bear the biggest brunt — including in economic and social damage — from disasters are some of the nation's biggest urban areas. The FEMA National Risk Index considers the impact in every U.S. county — on people, property, and the community — of 18 types of disasters, from floods, wildfires, and earthquakes through hurricanes and tornadoes to landslides, lightning, and winter weather."

Rare Wolverine Spotted in Yellowstone for the First Time in Years

More from Earther: "A camera trap set up to catch cougars prowling Yellowstone National Park has captured an even rarer creature. The park released footage this week showing a wolverine tearing through the forest, marking the first on-camera sighting since the camera traps were deployed in 2014. Wolverines are in many ways ghosts of the forests. They prefer cold climates, are solitary, and require large amounts of space to roam in search of prey. There as few as 300 left in the Lower 48, so the odds of seeing one are incredibly low."

Des Moines Just Set a New Bar for City Clean Energy Goals

More from Inside Climate News: "Cities setting clean energy goals now have a new leader to emulate: Des Moines, Iowa. The Des Moines city council voted 7-0 on Monday in favor of a resolution that sets a goal of reaching 24/7 carbon-free electricity by 2035, making it probably the first city in the United States, and maybe the first in the world, to pass a plan that emphasizes a target of relying solely on clean energy around-the-clock. The goal will require a combination carbon-free sources, and ditching fossil fuels altogether."

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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