Cold press: Arctic blast set to deliver subzero temps

Temperatures across the state plummet into Thursday

Blowing snow obscures a stretch of road
Blowing snow obscures a stretch of U.S. Highway 12 Wednesday in western Minnesota, near the town of Holloway.
Minnesota Department of Transportation

A strong storm causing high winds, blowing snow and reduced visibility Wednesday is sending temperatures tumbling to dangerously cold levels.

Wednesday’s forecast

weather graphic
Storm position Wednesday morning
National Weather Service

The storm that tracked directly across southern Minnesota on Tuesday continues to affect the state as it heads east.

Snow reports are still coming in and are always hard to measure during high winds, but so far the most significant snow has fallen in north-central Minnesota as forecast. Reports there mostly range from 2 to 5 inches as of 9 a.m.

Totals around the Twin Cities have been predominantly 1 to 4 inches.

Snow slowly lessens and heads east during the day, but portions of eastern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, could see periods of light snow linger through late Wednesday.

The eastern edge of the state in particular could see an additional trace to 2 inches of snow during the day.

weather graphic
Additional snowfall forecast Wednesday
National Weather Service

Even with lighter areas of snow, visibility is being significantly reduced in some spots due to blowing snow, including morning gusts of more than 30 and occasionally 40 mph, particularly in southern and western Minnesota. Western Minnesota reported visibility under a mile Wednesday morning.

Winds diminish during the day. Although the earlier blizzard warnings west and southeast have expired, all but the southwestern corner of Minnesota is still under a winter weather advisory at least through mid-afternoon.

The high winds are moving much colder air back into Minnesota. Almost the entire state had its highs for the day right at midnight with temperatures ranging from a few negatives north to a couple teens southeast as of 9 a.m.

By the afternoon, much more of the state will be below zero. The Twin Cities was at 21 degrees at midnight, had a reading of 12 degrees at 9 a.m., and is likely to be around 8 degrees by midafternoon.

Here are the forecast temperatures by the afternoon:

weather graphic
Wednesday afternoon temperatures
National Weather Service

Another blast of dangerous cold

Wednesday’s temperature free-fall continues Thursday.

A few temperatures south might still be above zero right at midnight, but otherwise the entire state spends Thursday subzero. By Thursday morning, lows will range from negative single digits east to a few temperatures near 20 below northwest.

Given there will still be a slight breeze Wednesday night, the combination of cold temperatures and wind put overnight wind chills at 20 to 40 below zero. Wind chill advisories have already been issued for western and much of southern Minnesota from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning.

Friday morning will have even colder air temperatures, in the teens and 20s below zero.

weather graphic
Friday morning forecast lows
National Weather Service

Finally, ahead of another storm system, Friday inches above zero for highs and Saturday is forecast to be milder again — before the cold side of that storm brings yet another big temperature drop.

Here is a look at those fluctuating temperatures for the Twin Cities through early next week:

weather graphic
Twin Cities temperatures through Monday
National Weather Service

The same storm that causes the next round of milder then colder air over the weekend also brings snow prospects Friday night through Saturday; however, this currently looks like a lighter snow.

We will keep you updated as that next storm approaches!

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Monday through Friday morning.

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