O.K. On a Cold Scale of 1 to 10, 1 being minor goosebumps, 10 is Minnesota's record cold of -60 F. (Tower, on Groundhog Day 1996) - the next 36 hours will be a 4. Really.
Some readers have shared their fondest memories of the REAL arctic fronts that swept into town on a regular basis in the 70s. "Using a credit card to scrape the ice from the INSIDE of my windshield." "Holding my breath, so I wouldn't feel the ice crystals up my nose!" "Suddenly owning a Flintstone Car with tires made of concrete!" Ah, those were the days.
Today will be plenty cold, in fact you can count the high on two fingers (3 if you're bad with math, like me) - a wind chill of -20 F. If skies clear and winds ease, tonight may be the coldest of winter; Friday morning wake-up air temperatures from -12 to -16 F.
This will be a relatively quick, concentrated burst of pain. Saturday looks tolerable (upper teens!) with 20s Sunday; a thaw likely by late next week. Snow? Can I interest you in a fresh foot of lake effect over the U.P. of Michigan?
King Boreas gets the last laugh over at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. No risk to ice carvings in Rice Park. But the Boat Show starts today over at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
First sign of spring?
Concentrated Burst of Subzero. It won't stay as cold, for as long, as it did early last week. That said, today won't be much fun, highs creeping just above zero, with a wind chill of -20 much of the day. Tonight may be the coldest night of winter (if we get colder than -12 F). I'm expecting -12 to -14 by Friday morning, assuming clear skies and diminishing winds. Some recovery is likely over the weekend; model guidance showing highs near 30 next week. Graphic: Iowa State.
Winter Cold, Without Much Snow. It's unusual to be this cold, with so little snow on the ground over much of central and southern Minnesota. Today and tomorrow are the coldest days in sight, the arrival of slightly milder air setting off a coating to a half inch of snow Saturday; another clipper dropping up to 1" next Tuesday. The best chance of a thaw: the latter half of next week, based on ECMWF guidance.
* photo above courtesy of Timothy Butz in Ellicott City, Maryland, where Tuesday's high was a balmy 64 F.
66 F. record high in Buffalo yesterday. Old record: 56 F.
Graphic credit above: "The animation above shows modeled particle trajectories that demonstrate how the low level air comes into Hurricane Sandy and then ascends to the outflow jet at the top of the troposphere. The outflow jet can be seen in red colors moving away from the storm, toward the Midwest. Particle trajectories help show how the air was flowing throughout the storm. This was done by simulating the movement of particles inserted into a modeled storm environment." Credit: Science by Mel Shapiro and Thomas Galarneau. Visualization by Alan Norton, NCAR Computational and Information Systems Laboratory, using VAPOR visualization software.
Photo credit above: "Aerial view of Interstate 75 in Gainesville, Fla. where according to Florida Highway Patrol at least 9 people have died as a result of multiple crashes Sunday January 29, 2012 involving 4 commercial vehicles and at least 10 passenger vehicles. The majority of the accidents happened in an area adjacent to where a brush fire was burning and producing heavy smoke." Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
* photo above snapped in southern Wisconsin, courtesy of Tom Purdy and WeatherNation TV.
Photo credit above: "SFU earth scientist Diana Allen has co-authored a major study linking groundwater depletion to climate change." (Credit: Image courtesy of Simon Fraser University).