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Welcome January thaw

Welcome January Thaw. We’ve been expecting you, waiting, wondering – hoping that you would arrive on gentle, moderate Pacific breezes. The past 2 1/2 weeks have been pretty tough up here on the tundra – a lot of soul-searching, second-guessing, frantic calls to travel agents. Wait, are there any travel agents left? Even evacuating to Florida didn’t help remove goosebumps and goose-bulges – it was nearly as cold there as it was up here in Minne-snowda. Yikes! The last 18 days have been a test, mental and physical. Not many records, just an extended spell below freezing (and zero, for that matter). Character-building indeed. We’re due for a change in the pattern, and it’s here: highs near freezing through Sunday, sloppy every afternoon on the highways, icy every morning with a touch of fog. A weak disturbance will whip up a few flurries this morning, a better chance of spying the sun this afternoon. BTW, have you noticed: the amount of daylight is on the increase. Yes, I can now drive home in lovely twilight. A few hardy birds are even chirping when I leave the house every morning. Can spring be far behind?

A surplus of snow
. The latest NASA MODIS satellite image shows snow on the ground across roughly the northern half of America. You can zoom into this graphic and see individual ice-covered lakes in Minnesota. Try it out for yourself right here.

Next question please.

Storm-free weather lingers through next Tuesday (a slight cooling trend possible early next week, highs in the mid 20s, still a few degrees above average). Computer models are still hinting at a potential icing event for the middle of next week, a period of drizzle, freezing drizzle, maybe some freezing rain mixed with sleet and wet snow. Yes, next Wednesday and Thursday may be a slushy/icy mess. After drying out (temporarily) next Friday and Saturday a second, stronger southern storm shows signs of surging northward around Jan. 24-25, a Sunday-Monday, and the models are hinting at two things: a). probably cold enough for mostly-snow, and b). a few inches of snow may result, although it’s still WAY early to try and pin down amounts and timing. Just know that the latter half of the weekend of Jan. 23-24 may look and feel like winter – again. I still don’t see anything arctic or nanook looking out through the end of January. We’ll probably pay for this January thaw in February. Count on it, although with any luck it won’t be quite as harsh as it was in late December/early January. Fingers (and eyes) crossed.

A potentially stormy/snowy late January weekend
. Models are hinting at a southern storm tracking northward across the Plains, spreading (mostly) snow into Minnesota by Sunday, Jan. 24, lingering into Monday, Jan. 25. A “plowable” snowfall is possible from this system, the next real opportunity for accumulating snow.

Paul’s Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Clouds, a few flurries possible – partial clearing by afternoon. Winds: NW 10-20. High: near 30

Tonight: Partly cloudy and chilly. Low: 17

Friday: More sun, less wind, feeling better. High: 32

Saturday: Plenty of sun, feels like late February! High: 35

Sunday: Mix of clouds and sun, still well above average. High: 33

Monday: Blue sky, still dry and storm-free. High: 28

Tuesday: Sun giving way to increasing clouds. High: 27

Wednesday: Cloudy, chance of a little freezing drizzle/ice. High: 28

Thursday: Wintry mix possible, some ice lingers. High: 29

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