Snow Continues Into Saturday Night
Snow will continue to fall across the state Saturday night, tapering off for most areas (except portions of northern Minnesota) by the morning hours Sunday. (First graphic: WeatherBell loop from 6 PM Saturday night to 6 AM Sunday. Second graphic: NWS Twin Cities timing on when snow will end.)
The heaviest overall snow totals are expected to be across portions of southern Minnesota, where in some areas up to 7" of snow could fall. In the Twin Cities a total of 3-6" is expected to fall.
The Snow Have And Have-Nots
This has certainly been an interesting winter so far. Between the heavy snow back in October (that all melted away) to the pre-Christmas blizzard, it's been a rollercoaster ride. The snow hasn't been evenly distributed, though. Through Friday (none of these totals include anything that fell Saturday) 33.9" of snow has fallen in the Twin Cities, which is the 23rd snowiest start to the snow season on record. Duluth is also above average, sitting at the 27th snowiest start. However, International Falls is over a foot below average, and Rochester is about 9" below average. Elsewhere across the region, Milwaukee is sitting at their 28th least snowy start, and while Marquette has received 72.6" of snow that is 31.5" below average!
We can also see the wide range of haves - and a lot of have-nots - when we zoom out to the full upper Midwest. The 28.6" Des Moines has received is their 14th snowiest start to the snow season, meanwhile, areas from St. Louis to Indianapolis to Chicago are sitting at least 8" below average.
Snow Depth Update
According to the latest snow depth guide released Thursday from the Minnesota DNR (before Saturday's snow), most of the state had at least 2" of snow on the ground, with the greatest snow found in northwestern Minnesota. Here are some updates from state parks across the state:
- Gooseberry Falls State Park: 4-8" snow depth as of Friday.
- Father Hennepin State Park: 6" of snow depth as of Friday.
- Whitewater State Park: 3" of snow depth as of Friday.
- Bear Head Lake State Park: 6-10" snow depth as of Thursday.
- Sibley State Park: 5" snow depth as of Wednesday.
Find more reports from state parks and trails via the Minnesota DNR Snow Depth and Groomed Trails website. (Image above from the MNDNR)
Weather Models Only Go So Far...
By Paul Douglas
It's time for another edition of "The Weather Model Wheel of Misfortune!" I'm your host, Paul Bunyan. Go ahead and spin. Oh! You landed on the NOAA NAM. Only 4 inches of snow. Try again. Wow! Well done. The European model predicts 7 inches! No parting gifts for you.
Disclaimer. Winter storms are more erratic than a jilted high school prom date. Every storm is different and uniquely difficult. Weather models are a guide, but we all seem to want perfection in an imperfect world. What we really need is more/better data flowing into the models and better physics that comes closer to simulating how the atmosphere really works. Sadly, it will never be perfect.
Snow lovers should enjoy today's perfect powder because a late week thaw will leave things a bit mushy by next weekend. Any sizable storms track south of Minnesota this week; no dueling weather models or contradictory snowfall predictions for 7-10 days.
High confidence a thaw next weekend. Low confidence: much colder by the second week of February.
Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast
SUNDAY: Icy start, partly sunny PM. Wake up 11. High 24. Chance of precipitation 30%. Wind NW 7-12 mph.
MONDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, dry. Wake up 5. High 20. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NE 10-15 mph.
TUESDAY: Peeks of sun, cool breeze. Wake up 11. High 23. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NE 10-15 mph.
WEDNESDAY: More sunshine, still chilly. Wake up 8. High 21. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind N 5-10 mph.
THURSDAY: Sunny, seasonably cold. Wake up 4. High 22. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Wake up 11. High 30. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 10-20 mph.
SATURDAY: Some sun, thawing temperatures. Wake up 28. High 35. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind W 7-12 mph.
This Day in Weather History
1968: A rare severe thunderstorm hits the Twin Cities and leaves a coating of ice an inch thick. 10 thousand homes were without power.
1950: An ice storm develops over southwest Minnesota. Ice on telephone wires from 1/3 to 1.5 inches. Bismarck, North Dakota had 17 inches of snow. A Northern Pacific passenger train derailed at Detroit Lakes with no injuries.
1925: A solar eclipse is seen across northern Minnesota during the morning. The Duluth Herald reported that chickens were 'puzzled by the dark morning' and didn't leave their roosts.
Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
Average High: 24F (Record: 57F set in 1981)
Average Low: 7F (Record: -33F set in 1904)
Average Precipitation: 0.03" (Record: 1.21" set in 1967)
Average Snowfall: 0.4" (Record: 6.0" in 1972)
Record Snow Depth: 35" in 1982
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
Sunrise: 7:40 AM
Sunset: 5:10 PM
*Length Of Day: 9 hours, 29 minutes and 32 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday: ~2 minute and 16 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)
Twin Cities And Minnesota Weather Outlook
Sunday will start off mainly cloudy in the Twin Cities, but those clouds should be on the decrease throughout the day with sunnier skies by the afternoon hours. Temperatures will start off in the mid to upper teens, climbing toward the mid-20s for highs.
A cold front will be working through the state Saturday night into Sunday morning, and you can see some of the colder air working into northwestern Minnesota as highs in some areas may not make it above zero. A few snow showers may still be possible in northern Minnesota during the morning hours, otherwise, a mix of sun and clouds to eventually sunnier skies are expected.
Highs across much of the state will be below average on Sunday - up to 15F degrees below average in northwestern Minnesota. Across eastern Minnesota, highs will be closer to the average. The average high in the Twin Cities for January 24th is 24F.
Highs through the middle of the week will be in the low to mid-20s in the Twin Cities - around to slightly below average. The coolest days will be Monday and Tuesday with highs only around 20F.
National Weather Forecast
Active weather is expected across the United States as we head into the second half of the weekend. A system pushing through the central U.S. will bring showers, storms, snow, and ice from the Southern Plains and Deep South to the Great Lakes. Another system pushing into the west coast will bring another round of needed precipitation to the region.
Through Monday, areas from the Southern Plains into the Ohio River Valley, as well as portions of Arizona and southern California, could see at least 1-3" of rain. Snow will be heaviest in the mountains out west, though some areas of the upper Midwest could pick up around 6" of snow.
Great Lakes ice reaches lowest mid-January level on record, part of climate trend
More from the Capital Weather Gang: "It's late January, and 2.4 percent of the surface area of the Great Lakes is covered with ice. A fifth or more of the lakes would ordinarily be coated in ice, but ice coverage right now is hovering near a record low for this time of year. A record was achieved last week when just 1.8 percent of the lakes were covered in ice. There's not much to suggest that's about to change soon, with water temperatures well above average and relatively mild weather likely to stick around at least into February. On Lake Erie, typically the most prone to significant freeze, only about 3 percent of the lake surface is covered by ice. That's an uptick from the near-zero ice coverage that has persisted virtually the entire season. The end of December featured a bit of ice developing, but it quickly broke up and melted."
Two Trump appointees are being investigated for posting reports denying climate change
More from the New York Times: "Days before the end of the Trump administration, David Legates, who served as the head of the United States Global Change Research Program, and Ryan Maue, a senior official at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (O.S.T.P.), were reassigned after they posted reports on a climate denialism website. The Commerce Department is conducting the review because the two were on detail from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the Commerce Department. The reports were largely discredited theories, including one claiming the sun and not human-caused pollution is responsible for recent warming, and bore the logo of the executive office of the president. It also purported to be the copyrighted work of the O.S.T.P., representing "the current state-of-the-science" on climate change. The head of that agency under Mr. Trump, Kelvin Droegemeier, said in a statement at the time that the postings had been done without his knowledge or consent."
Lake heatwaves will be 'hotter and longer' by the end of the century
More from Carbon Brief: "Climate change is causing "lake heatwaves" to become more frequent, intense and long-lasting, a new study warns. The research, published in Nature, finds that lake heatwaves could become between three and 12 times longer by the end of this century – and between 0.3C and 1.7C hotter. The authors warn that, as lake temperatures increase, heatwaves of the past "will no longer be extreme and will become the new normal". In some cases, even under a low-emissions scenario, there will be lakes that reach a "permanent heatwave state" by the end of the century. The lead author tells Carbon Brief that he anticipates "catastrophic damage to some lake ecosystems, which may have irreversible impacts on ecological communities, as well as have a dramatic influence on local communities which depend on lakes for survival"."
- D.J. Kayser