Extended cold snap for Minneapolis through the end of January

It’s been a mild winter so far across the Twin Cities, but we’ve already started to see changes over the past several days with the first subzero temperatures of the season occurring on the 18th and 19th.  The pattern is now setting up with high pressure over the far Western U.S. and a deep trough of low pressure over the Central/Eastern U.S., which will allow for cold arctic air to pour into the northern plains.

The next strong arctic cold front will be arriving Thursday morning across the Twin Cities.  By 9pm this evening, we can see the arctic cold front (along with subzero temperatures) pushing into North Dakota and advancing toward Minnesota (image source: College of DuPage).  The lines that are close together are called isobars (lines of equal surface pressure), and the leading edge of these tightly wound isobars indicate the approximate position of the cold front.



Looking at the same model, we see the cold front has pushed through the Twin Cities by 9am Thursday with temperatures falling below zero (image source: College of DuPage).



The cold weather looks to stick around for a while.  The next image from the GFS model shows projected temperature anomalies over the next 5 days (image source: tropicaltidbits.com).  High temperatures for Minneapolis-St. Paul are only expected to be in the single digits most days during this time frame.



As far as snow chances go, the pattern will remain mostly dry through the end of the week.  However, the next chance of meaningful snow is currently projected to arrive Sunday night as a potent upper level disturbance arrives from the northwest.  While the exact track remains uncertain, the potential exists for meaningful snowfall across the Twin Cities.  The image below from the GFS model shows the upper level heights and wind pattern for Sunday night, and we can see the location of the disturbance clearly over the Dakotas and Minnesota (image source: pivotalweather.com).



For now, it would be a good idea to start thinking about Sunday night and Monday morning as possible high impact times for road travel, and of course staying tuned as the forecast evolves.

Following Sunday night’s potential storm, more cold air will arrive – possibly even colder than what will be experienced late this week.  The next image from the GFS shows projected temperature anomalies for the 6-10 day timeframe (image source: tropicaltidbits.com).

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