Buckle up Minnesota.
Dec. 4 is the day when the winter of 2017-18 finally comes to Minnesota. From record mild air, to rain, snow, wind and a bitter cold invasion. Days like this are why we call Minnesota the Super Bowl of Weather. Time to break out the winter weather Crayola box.
Unseasonably mild start
This first Monday in December begins mild and almost humid. Scattered showers and thundershowers dot radar scopes across the Upper Midwest Monday. Lightning strikes ping on the map across Wisconsin and all the way north into Michigan's Upper Peninsula and over the shores of Lake Superior. That's freakish for December.
Minnesota rides the northern tip of an October-like air mass Monday. Frigid air pools over the northern Rockies and north into Canada.
It's warmer in Minneapolis this Monday morning than Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Records may fall
Monday's record high at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is 56 degrees. We may crack that. As of this writing we've already hit 54 degrees.
We stay close enough to the warm sector of our inbound storm that I won't be shocked to see some towns close to the Twin Cities push the 60 degree mark around midday Monday.
Deepening low-pressure system
Our inbound low-pressure system tracks from south of Sioux Falls, S.D., to near the Twin Cities to Duluth on Monday. Rain changes to snow as the cold front sweeps east.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model favors rain changing quickly to snow with a potential thunder clap between about 6 and 8 p.m. in the Twin Cities.
The quick shot of snow likely only drops a coating to an inch around the metro. No big deal, but a wintry calling card.
Red River Valley: blizzard warnings
Blizzard warnings are up for the Red River Valley and much of western Minnesota, with gusts of up to 55 mph Monday night with near zero visibility in wind-driven snow. Welcome to winter.
Including the cities of Ada, Twin Valley, Halstad, Moorhead,
Mahnomen, Naytahwaush, Waubun, Detroit Lakes, Breckenridge,
Fergus Falls, Elbow Lake, Hoffman, Ashby, Herman, Barrett,
Mayville, Hillsboro, Hatton, Portland, Valley City, Fargo,
Lisbon, Enderlin, Gwinner, Milnor, Forman, Rutland, and Wahpeton
719 AM CST Mon Dec 4 2017
...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO MIDNIGHT
* WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Travel will be very
dangerous to impossible, including during the evening commute.
There will be a period of rain, freezing rain, or sleet before
precipitation changes to snow later this morning. Total snow
accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with localized amounts up to 6
inches, are expected.
* WHERE...Portions of northwest and west central Minnesota and
southeast North Dakota.
* WHEN...From noon today to midnight CST tonight.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Winds gusting as high as 55 mph will
cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant
drifting of the snow is likely.
Northern Minnesota: winter storm warnings
Temperatures plunge 30 to 40 degrees from Monday's highs in the next 24-36 hours, and stay there all week. Talk about a temperature cliff.
Cold is here to stay
The highest impact feature of this pattern change is the persistent cold ahead. The jet stream buckles into a stable "high amplitude" pattern capable of consistent cold air delivery from the Arctic for the next one to two weeks.
Right now, I don't see any major, prolonged warmup in sight for the next two weeks. If we can manage a couple inches of fresh snow we could be having fun with negative numbers soon.
Lakes will start freezing up solid this week. Give them some time to build safe ice.
Stay warm, Minnesota.