Air Quality Alert From Friday Evening Through Midday Sunday

The air quality is expected to decrease across portions of southern Minnesota and Wisconsin as we head through Friday Night, lasting into the weekend. Across southern Minnesota - including the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, and Rochester, the Air Quality Alert is in place from 6 PM Friday through Noon Sunday. In southern Wisconsin, the Air Quality Alert is in place through 3 PM Sunday. Below is the text of the Air Quality Alert for the Twin Cities:

_______________________________________________

Weekend Outlook

It'll be another chilly start on Saturday here in the Twin Cities, but highs look to climb into the low to mid-20s for the afternoon hours under fairly sunny skies. It'll still feel like the teens in the afternoon when you factor in winds up to around 10 mph.

Looking statewide Saturday, we should see fairly sunny skies across the state with temperatures warming into the 20s. Highs will still be up to 10F degrees below average across most of the state but will be right around average up in far northern Minnesota.

As we look at the full weekend, we will see warmer temperatures in place as we head into Sunday, with highs expected to reach the low 30s in the Twin Cities. We will also be watching a system that will help to bring some light snow across southern and eastern portions of the state on Sunday.

Snowfall tallies are expected to be fairly light across central and northern Minnesota, with up to an inch expected for the metro. The heaviest totals will be in southeastern Minnesota, where up to 2.5" of snow will be possible.

_______________________________________________

40s Next Week!

And we'll be even warmer as we head into early next week, with highs expected to reach the low 40s! I wouldn't be surprised to see some fog next week with the melting snow pack across the region. Temperatures will slightly cool heading into the middle of the week, but it's still going to feel A LOT nicer than the past couple of weeks!

_______________________________________________

Snow Update

With the cold air in place this month, snow totals are mainly below average for February across the state as there haven't been that many snow chances, and what snow has fallen has been pretty light. We're only an inch below average for the month in the Twin Cities, but International Falls is almost 6" below average.

Looking at the full snow season, we are still 3.3" above average in the Twin Cities, but areas like Rochester, International Falls, Fargo and Grand Forks are more than a half a foot below average.

Meanwhile, we have not dipped below average in the snowfall departure category so far this snow season in the Twin Cities - you can thank our early season snow as well as the pre-Christmas blizzard for that. The closest we got was back on December 22nd, when we were only +0.1" from average.

_______________________________________________

Still A Cold Start To February

Even though we are warming up, it has been a very cold start to the month of February. The average temperature has been only 2.9F, -16.2F degrees below average and the seventh coldest start to February on record. The good news is that should creep upward the next several days, but I would expect we'll probably still end the month below average as the low 40s is probably only as high as we climb for highs next week.

_______________________________________________

Leaving Room For Guarded Optimism
By Paul Douglas

"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier" said retired 4-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. After wallowing in Pandemic Purgatory for nearly a year, and surviving the third greatest number of subzero hours in February on record, Minnesotans can be forgiven for feeling exhausted and beleaguered.

Wouldn't it be nice to be pleasantly surprised. An early spring? Herd immunity by summer? Embracing a vaguely familiar 'new-normal' by fall? Hope springs eternal.

At least our weather is moving in the right direction: 20s later today, a shot at 30F Sunday with a risk of stripping away layers of clothing as the mercury flirts with 40F Monday and Tuesday. Oh happy day!

Although no significant storms are brewing, a weak disturbance may brush Minnesota with an inch of slush Sunday; another nuisance-snow possible next Tuesday night. But the maps definitely look more like early March.

As of yesterday 73 percent of America was covered in snow, the most since 2003. What a February...

_______________________________________________

Paul's Extended Twin Cities Forecast

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, pleasant. Wake up 0. High 23. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 8-13 mph.

SUNDAY: Wet snow, coating to an inch. Wake up 16. High 30. Chance of precipitation 80%. Wind S 5-10 mph.

MONDAY: Glimmers of sun, much-needed thaw. Wake up 19. High 39. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SW 10-15 mph.

TUESDAY: Still mild, slushy coating at night? Wake up 30. High 39. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind W 8-13 mph.

WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, drying out. Wake up 27. High 37. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.

THURSDAY: Plenty of sunshine, quiet. Wake up 19. High 35. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SW 5-10 mph.

FRIDAY: Some sun, breezy. Wake up 20. High 36. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind S 10-20 mph.

_______________________________________________

This Day in Weather History
February 20th

1981: Due to the long spell of warm weather in the 60s, a farmer near Le Center is plowing some alfalfa ground.

_______________________________________________

Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
February 20th

Average High:31F (Record: 57F set in 1981)
Average Low:15F (Record: -20F set in 1889)
Average Precipitation:0.03" (Record: 0.85" set in 2011)
Average Snowfall: 0.3" (Record: 11.8" in 2011)
Record Snow Depth: 29" in 1967

_______________________________________________

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
February 20th

Sunrise:7:05 AM
Sunset:5:48 PM

*Length Of Day:10 hours, 43 minutes and8 seconds
*Daylight GAINED Since Yesterday:~3 minutes and 0 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)

_______________________________________________

National Weather Forecast

On Saturday, some rain and snow will be possible from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern and Central Plains, with some icing possible as well. There will be some lake effect snow downwind of some of the Great Lakes.

The heaviest snow through the weekend will be in the Cascades, with feet of snow possible. Rainfall-wise, some coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest could see a few inches.

_______________________________________________

What's next for NASA's Perseverance Mars rover after its landing success?

More from Space.com: "The SUV-sized Perseverance landed inside Mars' 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater yesterday (Feb. 18), kicking off an ambitious surface mission that will hunt for signs of ancient Red Planet life and collect dozens of samples for future return to Earth, among other tasks. But it'll likely be a few months before Perseverance, the heart of NASA's $2.7 billion Mars 2020 mission, really starts sinking its teeth into that science work. For starters, the rover's handlers will spend the next few Martian days, or sols, getting Perseverance up to speed in its new digs. (A sol lasts 24 hours and 40 minutes, just slightly longer than an Earth day.) The team will stabilize the six-wheeled robot's power, thermal and communications systems so that new, surface-tailored flight software can be uploaded from Earth, Mars 2020 deputy project manager Jennifer Trosper said during a post-landing news conference yesterday."

Winter Storm Will Be 'Largest Insurance Claim Event In History' Says Insurance Council Of Texas

More from CBS DFW: "Camille Garcia, with the Insurance Council of Texas, says, "Know your policy, know your deductible." And remember, policies vary. According to Garcia, your policy should likely include coverage for flooring, baseboards, dry wall, and paint. It may also include personal property, hotels, additional living expenses and perishable food. If pipes break, Garcia says, "Documenting the steps you've taken and the repairs you've done is really critical.""

Health benefits of Paris climate goals could save millions of lives by 2040

More from Carbon Brief: "On World Health Day in 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that "protecting human health is the 'bottom line' of climate change strategies". The WHO went on to describe climate change as "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century". This is because – through its effects on food security, heatwaves, floods, storms, wildfires, infectious diseases, air quality, migration, conflict and mental health – climate change both exacerbates existing health threats and creates new ones. At the same time, a Lancet Commission on health and climate change found that "tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century". Many efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change also work towards tackling some of the world's biggest health challenges in the form of non-communicable diseases."

_______________________________________________

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