Cryosphere: Coldest January in 8 years for Minnesota

Temperatures running 6 degrees colder than average for the Twin Cities this month.

Frosty pine tree
Frosty pine tree.
Paul Huttner/MPR News

Welcome to the cryosphere, Minnesota.

This January is delivering a good old-fashioned winter. After a mild fall and slightly milder-than-average December, vigorous winter weather has kicked in across Minnesota this month.

Coldest January in 8 years

If you add up all the daily temperatures in the Twin Cities this month you come up with an average of 9.9 degrees through Jan. 25. That’s 6.3 degrees below average for the month to date.

Here’s a look at the daily temperature range for the Twin Cities this month. See how we’ve spent considerably more time in the blue hues at the bottom of the graph compared to the warmer hues at the top?

January 2022 daily temperatures
January 2022 daily temperatures for Minneapolis
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

All of Minnesota is running colder than average over the past month. Parts of northern Minnesota are running as much as 10 degrees colder than average over the past 30 days.

Temperature departure from average over the last month
Temperature departure from average over the last month.
Midwest Regional Climate Center

Looking at the forecast through Monday, it looks very likely that we’ll end up with the coldest January since 2014. The monthly average temperature that January was 8 degrees.

Also, seven of the past 10 Januarys have been warmer than average in the Twin Cities. This is just the third colder-than-average January in the past decade.

Above-average snowfall

It’s surprising to many when I note that we’re actually running a bit above average for snowfall so far this winter. The Twin Cities has logged 33.2 inches so far at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That’s 5.2 inches above average for the season to date.

Recall that we hit 58 degrees in the Twin Cities on Dec. 15 with tornadoes nearby. That rapid warm spell and rain melted snow cover across most of southern Minnesota.

Temperatures moderate into the 20s this weekend and 30s as we close out January next Monday. I hear Topeka, Kan., is nice this winter.

Forecast high temperatures Monday
Forecast high temperatures Monday.
NOAA

Let’s see what February deals.

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