Arctic air arrives, subzero wind chills into Friday

Temperatures could reach minus 30 in northern Minnesota Thursday morning.

NOAA GFS temperature forecast for 6 am Thursday, January 20
NOAA GFS temperature forecast for 6 am Thursday, January 20.
NOAA via tropical tidbits

Welcome to the heart of winter in Minnesota.

The next two weeks deliver multiple shots of subzero arctic air into the Upper Midwest. The first shot came in with shocking speed. The Twin Cities topped out at 42 degrees Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday morning temperatures dipped below zero at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Temperatures Wednesday morning
Observed temperature trend Wednesday morning at MSP Airport.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / Federal Aviation Administration

The core of our inbound arctic air mass is over Alberta and Saskatchewan Wednesday morning. It’s minus 38 degrees near the center of this frigid air mass.

That bitterly cold air will settle in over northern Minnesota Thursday morning. Lows will approach negative 30 across much of North Dakota and northern Minnesota Thursday morning.

Temperatures in the Twin Cities will bottom out around minus 12 Thursday morning.

NOAA GFS temperature forecast for 6 am Thursday, January 20
NOAA Global Forecast System temperature forecast for 6 a.m. Thursday.
NOAA, via tropical tidbits

Thursday brings another day barely above zero in southern Minnesota, with high temperatures hovering a few degrees on either side of zero up north.

Forecast high temperatures Thursday
Forecast high temperatures Thursday.

Cold, but not near record cold

It should be noted that this cold snap is about par for the course this time of year. Record lows for the Twin Cities are in the negative 30s most of this week.

We likely won’t get as cold this week as the minus 17 observed at MSP airport on Jan. 7, but a few models suggest we have a shot at approaching minus 20 again next week.

Cold eases Friday

Temperatures moderate a bit as we head into the weekend. We’ll climb into the teens and 20s above zero Friday afternoon across Minnesota.

Forecast high temperatures Friday
Forecast high temperatures Friday.

Snow chances Friday night and Monday

A minor system bring light snow to much of Minnesota Friday night. Overall snowfall totals look light, with less than an inch in the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota, but 1 to 2 inches north.

Here’s the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model snowfall output by midday Saturday:

European model (ECMWF) snowfall output
European model (ECMWF) snowfall output.
ECMWF, via pivotal weather

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