Extreme cold polar temps descended south over the weekend to bring subzero temperatures and dangerously cold windchills across the Midwest including North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and of course Minnesota -- home base to the SWIFT Weather operations.
We Minnesotans are used to cold weather, but this is one for the recordbooks. As a whole, this winter has been the coldest in decades with several weeks of subzero temperatures.
We woke this morning with temperatures at -18 degrees Farhenheit near Minneapolis and Wind Chill values around -45 degrees. That number is to expected to drop further overnight to -21 degrees F and almost -50 Wind Chill. And Minneapolis isn't the coldest part of the state by a long shot. The further north you go, the colder it gets.
Stay warm and plan ahead if you need to travel anywhere. Stock up on winter gear -- after Christmas is a good time to get deep discounts on winter apparel.
In a year where winter has been hard to find, it's finally making itself known across the northern United States. The Northwest is seeing a multi-day winter storm that has over 200,000 without power on Puget Sound. The good news for Seattle and surrounding area is that temperatures are forecast to rise this weekend. This will keep any upcoming precipitation in the form of rain.
Cold air has settled in across the northern quarter of the U.S. Current temperatures in North Central Minnesota are currently below zero.
This, along with the winds, are creating dangerous wind chills across parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
There are already Winter Weather Advisories out across the Upper Midwest through Friday evening.
Most areas are expecting around 2-4" of snow through Friday evening. Chicago's expecting 4-6" of snow and Milwaukee is expecting 3-5".
The storm should then move into the Northeast for Saturday. Again, most areas are expecting 1-3", however, Pittsburgh is in a narrow band that is expecting 3-5" of snow from Friday night through Saturday.
The last couple days have seen numerous records fall, yet again, in the nation's mid-section. Snowfall amounts of 20+ inches were seen in parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas. Places like Jay, OK (25"), Siloam Springs, AR (24.5") and Hutchinson, KS (17") are digging out from heavy snow. The cleanup is further compounded by the blast of arctic cold that came in behind the system.
Lows Thursday morning broke records in states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri. Bartlesville, OK set a new all-time low for the state of Oklahoma with -28°F! Other locations setting records were:
- Wichita, KS (-17°F) - beat old record for this date by 5°F
- Springfield, MO (-10°F)
- Amarillo, TX (-6°F)
The good news for everyone is that there's a February thaw heading their way. Places like Bartlesville, after setting a record low this morning, will be looking to rebound to the mid 50s by Sunday afternoon. Amarillo is looking for the mid 60s by Sunday as well. The thaw looks to continue into at least the middle of next week. Some forecasters are even saying that some areas could see as much a 100° jump from the frigid temperatures of this morning with temperatures in the next week pushing the 70s in some locations!!!
As the Midwest finally sees some thawing, the Northeast will remained locked into a cold and wintry pattern with another round of snow coming this weekend. A dip in the jet stream over the Northeast will help keep cold temps in place while allowing the "big melt" in the middle of the country.
While winter is far from over (we just passed the mid point of winter recently), this warm up will do a lot to help areas thaw out after a brutal first half of winter.