Top 5 Most Subzero Hours at MSP in February

As of 11AM on Tuesday, February 16th, the MSP Airport warmed to above 0F putting us at 226 hours spent below 0F at the MSP Airport this February. Interestingly, through that time period, it was the 4th most on record! It appears that we'll have some additional subzero time AM Wednesday and again AM Thursday. With that being said, we might slide into the 3rd or even 2nd most time spend below 0F at MSP in February. Here are the top 3 spots:

403 hours - 1936
253 hours - 1917
230 hours - 1914

A Little Light Snow Wednesday

Light snow will pass through the region on Wednesday. It won't be much, generally less than 1 inch, but with temperatures still as cold as they are, roads could become icy once again. Here's the weather outlook from AM Wednesday to AM Thursday. Note that most of the snow will fall through the day Wednesday and will be done by early AM Thursday.

Light Dusting of Snow Wednesday; Icy Road Potential

Here's the snowfall potential on Wednesday. Again, most locations will see amounts generally less than 1 inch, but because temperatures will be so cold, roads could become icy once again.

Initial Spring Flood Outlook – Below Normal to Normal Threat

"Current conditions suggest that the threat of major spring flooding is lower than we've seen for a few years, and is close to or below normal. Much will be determined by spring temperatures and precipitation, however. What Do We Know So Far? Soil Moisture is…Normal! After two years of record high soil moisture, 2021 starts with near to a little below normal soil moisture over the entire area, thanks to a dry autumn. This will allow for the soil to absorb more snowmelt once the thaw occurs.Snowpack / Snow Water is Lower We've had near to below normal snowfall over the area this winter, so far. Generally, only around 2 inches of water currently exists in the snowpack, with even less in the upper Minnesota and lower Chippewa (WI) basins.What does this mean? It would take a major increase in snowpack through the rest of the winter, and/or a very quick warmup with heavy rainfall, to create widespread major flooding in the Minnesota/St. Croix/ Chippewa/Upper Mississippi Rivers this season. Recall that we had nearly ideal spring melts in 2019 and 2020 (no extreme temperatures, and extended periods of no rain/snow in March). What will 2021 bring us? Next Updates: February 25 and March 11, 2021."

Extended Periods of Zero or Below in the Twin Cities

"Since 1873, the temperature in the Twin Cities has remained at or below zero for at least four consecutive days a total of 27 times, with the most recent occurrence being a five-day stretch ending January 18th, 1994. The longest such streak on record was seven days, from January 1-7, 1912. The same stretch in 1912 clocked in at 186 consecutivehourly observationswith temperatures at or below zero. The stretch in 1994 lasted 142 hours. More recent zero-or-colder stretches include 86 hours from 11pm January 12 to 1pm January 16, 2009 and 93 hours from 5pm January 31, 1996 to 1pm February 4, 1996. How long would a stretch of zero or below weather be to make the top ten list? The mercury would have to stay at or below zero for at least FOUR full calendar days to have a chance of making the list. The last time there was a fairly long stretch at or below zero was from midnight, January 29, 2019 to 5 am on February 1, 2019 for a total of 78 hours."

See more from the MN State Climatology Office HERE:

10 Consecutive Days With Sub +10F Highs

The high temp on Tuesday, February 16th warmed to 12F, which ended the 10th consecutive day with sub +10F high temps at MSP. This tied for the 9th longest such period on record at MSP.

12 Consecutive Subzero Lows at MSP

Here's a list of the longest consecutive stretches of subzero low temps at MSP. With the morning low on Wednesday dipping below zero, our current stretch is 12 consecutive days, which is tied for the 20th longest stretch on record. Impressively, the longest stretch was 36 days from mid January to mid February back in 1936.

Frigid Air Slowly Fades...

The worst of the winter sting will continue to slowly fade over the next several days. Here's the 850mb temp anomaly from midday Wednesday to midday Friday, which still shows below average temps in place across much of the nation, but it won't be as bitter as it has been. Note that actual air temps in the Twin Cities this Saturday could warm into the 20s, while highs on Sunday could warm into the 30s!

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the extended weather outlook for Minneapolis over the next 5 to 7 days. Interestingly, Wednesday will be the first day that highs will warm back into the teens since February 5th! With that being said, it'll still be nearly -15F to -20F below average for mid February. The good news is that temps will continue to gradually warm with highs warming into the 20s on Saturday and 30s by Sunday. We might even see a thaw on Monday and Tuesday of next week with highs in the mid 30s! There will be a little light snow on Wednesday and again on Sunday.

Wednesday Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook for Minneapolis on Wednesday, which shows temps starting off in the subzero range once again, but we should warm into the lower teens by the afternoon. There will also be light snow chances throughout most of the day as well.

Wednesday Meteograms for Minneapolis

The meteograms for Minneapolis on Wednesday shows temps starting off in the subzero range once again with wind chill values staying below zero through about midday. Actual air temperatures will warm into the teens with southeasterly winds gusting up close to 15mph through the day.

Wednesday Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook across the region for Wednesday. Note that temps will still be running nearly -10F to -20F below average with readings warming into the single digits and teens.

Extended Temperature Outlook

Here's the ECMWF & GFS extended temperature outlook for Minneapolis through the end of February. Note that temperature readings will still be running well below average through the rest of the week, but we'll be above average for the first time in a long time by next week! In fact, some of the models are hinting at 40F!! That will feel incredibly warm compared to what it's been like over the last couple of weeks.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the 8 to 14 day temperature outlook suggests warmer than average temperatures returning to much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation, including the Upper Midwest! It will feel MUCH warmer by the end of the month, especially after the record cold snap.

Our Increasingly Outrageous Winter
By Paul Douglas

Old Man Winter is staggering around like a drunken uncle who doesn't know when it's time to go home. Quick recap of winter-weather-weirding: record snows in October. 70s in November. Green lawns first half of December. No metro hours below 0F in January (coldest month of the year, on average). But F-F-February: 226 hours subzero hours, the 4th most on record and the most since 1936! What gives?

Scientists point to rapid warming of the arctic impacting jet stream winds, increasing the odds of "arctic amplification" - a sudden break in steering winds that plunges polar air into the USA. "Relative warmth, interrupted by sudden spasms of Siberian air". Is this our future?

About an inch of snow is likely today, as temperatures begin to recover. I see 20s by Saturday, 30F on Sunday and 40F isn't out of the question early next week.

We will see more cold fronts, but polar air is in retreat; the most outrageously numbing days of winter behind us now.

At least the power stayed on here in Minnesota. Good grief.

Extended Forecast

WEDNESDAY: Coating to 2" of snow. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 11.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Light snow fades. Not as cold. Winds: SE 5. Low: 2.

THURSDAY: Not subzero Partly sunny. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 16.

FRIDAY: Plenty of sun. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 3. High: 20.

SATURDAY:Mix of clouds and sun. Better.Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 3. High: 25.

SUNDAY:Patchy clouds. Frost-bite free. Winds: SE 3-8. Wake-up: 14. High: 30.

MONDAY: Morning fog, then a well deserved thaw. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 16. High: 36.

TUESDAY: Serenaded by dripping water. Mild. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 32. High: 40.

This Day in Weather History

February 17th

1981: Warm weather continues across Minnesota with a record high of 55 in the Twin Cities. Crocuses were blooming.

1894: The Minneapolis Weather Bureau journal notes: 'Sleighing is very poor, about half of the vehicles are on wheels'.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis

February 17th

Average High: 30F(Record: 63F set in 2017)

Average Low: 14F (Record: -20Fset in 1936)

Record Rainfall: 0.32" set in 2014

Record Snowfall: 4.9" set in 2014

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis

February 17th

Sunrise: 7:10am

Sunset: 5:44pm

Hours of Daylight: ~10hours & 34minutes

Daylight GAINEDsinceyesterday: ~ 2 minutes & 57seconds

Daylight GAINEDsince WinterSolstice (December 21st): ~ 1 hour & 48minutes

Moon Phase for February 17th at Midnight

1.5 Days Before First Quarter Moon

What's in the Night Sky?

"These next three evenings – February 17, 18 and 19, 2021 – watch the moon change position day by day. Thewaxing crescentmoon pairs up with the faint planet Uranus on February 17, flits by the red planet Mars on February 18, and then joins up with the red starAldebaranon February 19. Although Mars and Aldebaran are similar in brightness and color, with both of them shining as brilliantly as a 1st-magnitude star, don't expect to see faint Uranus without optical aid. Mars and Aldebaran outshine distant and faint Uranus by a hundredfold. The feature chart at top is designed for North America. Even so, people around the word can still use this chart to approximate the moon's position relative to Mars and Aldebaran. At nightfall on the same date in Europe and Africa, the moon is offset by roughly one-fourth the way westward (toward the previous date); from Asia, the offset is about half the way westward (toward the previous date). From anywhere on Earth, the moon moves about 13 degrees eastward per day in front of the constellations of the zodiac. Find out which constellation now backdrops the moon viaHeavens-Above. Another way of putting it is that the moon travels about half adegreeeastward per hour in front of the background stars of the zodiac. For a convenient reference, the moon'sangular diameterspans about half a degree of sky."

See more from Earth Sky HERE:

Record Cold High Temps on Wednesday

A number of locations in the Central and Southern US will still be VERY cold with record cold high temperatures expected across Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana & Mississippi. The unprecedented cold will be quite problematic for many in the Deep South over the next several days.

National High Temps Wednesday

Here's a look at weather conditions across the nation on Wednesday, which shows extremely cold air in place across much of the Central US. Many locations will be running -15F to -35F below average with more wintry precipitation expected across the southern tier of the nation. The only spot that will be above average will be in Florida, where highs will warm into the 80s.

National Forecast Map For Wednesday

The weather map on Wednesday shows another potent storm system moving through the Central and Eastern US with areas of snow and ice. There will also be widespread showers and storms, some of which could be strong to severe across parts of the Southeastern US with locally heavy rainfall.

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook through Thursday. Note the powerful storm system tracking across the Southern US with areas of snow and ice falling across parts of the Gulf Coast States. There will also be severe thunderstorm potential on Wednesday and Thursday with heavy rainfall in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic States.

Severe Weather Outlook For Wednesday & Thursday

According to NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, there is a chance of strong to severe storms on Wednesday and Thursday across parts of the Gulf Coast States, where damaging winds and even tornadoes can't be ruled.

7 Day Precipitation Outlook

The precipitation potential over the next 7 days shows heavier precipitation in the Southeastern US with several inches of rain and flooding possible there. Meanwhile, areas of heavier precipitation, including heavy snow in the Western Mountains will be possible.

7 Day Snowfall Potential

The extended ECMWF snowfall forecast shows another round of heavy snow possible from parts of the Mid-Atlantic States to the Northeast. There will also be heavier snow across the high elevations in the Western US. Interestingly, there will be a little snow across the Deep South through midweek.

Climate Stories

"What exactly is the polarvortex?"

"At the start of February 2021,a major snowstorm hit the northeast United States, with some areas receiving well overtwo feet of snow. Just a few weeks earlier, Spain experienceda historic and deadly snowstormanddangerously low temperatures. Northern Siberia is no stranger to cold, but in mid-January 2021,some Siberian citiesreported temperatures below minus 70 F (minus 56 C). Media headlines hint thatthe polar vortex has arrived, as if it were some sort of ice tornado that wreaks wintry havoc wherever it strikes. Asatmosphericscientists, we cringe when the term polar vortex is used to loosely refer to blasts of cold weather. The actualpolar vortexcan't put snow in your backyard, but changes in the polar vortex can load the dice for wintry weather – and this year, the dice rolled Yahtzee."

See more from the Conversation HERE:


"ON FEBRUARY 5, 1971, HUMANSsuccessfully landed on the Moon for the third time as part of theApollo 14 mission. Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell spent a total of 33 and a half hours on the Moon, performing two 'Moonwalks' during their stay. Fifty years later, data from NASA'sLunar Reconnaissance Orbiterrecreate what it was like to walk across the lunar surface during one of their mile-long hikes —and a critical mistake. NASA released the video Monday, recreating the Apollo 14 astronauts' two-and-a-half-hour hike across the Moon. But the historic walk came with a surprise ending: The two astronauts missed their true destination. Shepard and Mitchell landed between the Doublet and Triplet craters, in the hilly uplands of the Fra Mauro crater. The site is about 110 miles east of the Apollo 12 landing site. The pair's first Extra Vehicular Activity lasted for about four hours and 49 minutes, during which they deployed the Apollo Lunar Surface Scientific Experiments Package. For their second lot of activity, the astronauts took a hike to Cone Crater, a small crater in the Fra Mauro region of the Moon. The Fra Mauro area is made up of rocks ejected and emplaced during the asteroid impact that formed the Imbrium — the second largest, and one of the youngest, impact basins on the Moon. Cone Crater was located some 300 feet above the landing site. Not far to go, you might think. But on the Moon, everything gets far more complicated."

See more from Inverse HERE:

"Tragic Fort Worth Pileup Is A Reminder That Elevated Roads Ice Easily - Here's Why"

"The images coming out of Forth Worth, Texas this week are horrific.According to numerous media reports, 130 cars were involved in a pileup along a stretch of Interstate 35. At the time of writing, six fatalities had been reported as well as numerous injuries. Pileups were alsoreported in Austin, Texasfrom the same weather system. Icy road conditions were a likely culprit. Earlier in the week, I watched, in horror,a video of a carplunging seventy feet off an icy overpass in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thankfully the driver survived. Though the official investigations in Fort Worth and Milwaukee are ongoing, my initial assessment points to something in common between both incidents - elevated roadways. Charlotte-based TV Meteorologist Brad Panovich, one of the most skilled and astute colleagues in our field, also noticed it. He tweeted a series of photos of where the pileup took place in Forth Worth, Texas. He pointed out that freezing rain and drizzle (we call it black ice in the South) were present. However, it is important that he also pointed out in the Tweet below about the blind elevated hill before sunrise. These are conditions that would further intensify dangerous freezing conditions on the roadway."

See more from Forbes HERE:

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