There isn’t much weather drama on tap as we start 2021 on Friday. Far northern Minnesota may see some patchy light snow showers Thursday night and early Friday morning.
Check weather forecasts if you are heading toward Missouri, Kansas, southeastern Iowa or northern Illinois on New Year’s Day. A winter storm will drop heavy snow and possibly some freezing rain and sleet in parts of those states.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale (NAM) forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern for Friday morning through Friday evening:
You can hear updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the MPR network, and you’ll see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.
Our average Twin Cities high temperature is 24 degrees this time of year. Twin Cities metro area highs will be in the mid 20s on New Year’s Day, and we’ll share 20s with much of Minnesota and western Wisconsin:
Winds will be fairly light on New Year’s Day.
Saturday highs will be mainly in the 20s:
Some spots in far southwestern and far northwestern Minnesota could creep into the lower 30s.
Sunday highs will reach the lower 30s in some areas:
Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach the upper 30s on Monday, followed by lower 30s Tuesday and Wednesday.
Top five weather events of 2020
You may recall that It felt like September for a few days in early November. The Twin Cities saw highs in the 70s on five days in early November. The November warmth was one of the most notable weather events of 2020.
The Minnesota State Climatology Office has released the results of voting for the Top Five Weather Events of 2020 in Minnesota.
According to the Climatology Office:
Votes were cast from various weather enthusiasts including the National Weather Service, the University of Minnesota, State agencies and Facebook followers.
I should mention that the Dec. 23 blizzard occurred after the votes had been tabulated. That blizzard would have made the top 5 list. Here are the results of the voting, along with Climatology Office narratives:
#1 Sharp Turn Towards Historic Warmth: November 3-9, 2020
The #1 spot in 2019 was an arctic outbreak in January and for 2020 it was summer in November. Not only was the November warm spell record-setting and record-shattering in many regards; it also represents one of Minnesota’s greatest warm-ups. Temperatures had been as low as 2 F at Lamberton and Brimson on October 27th, and had risen into the 70s and even the 80s by November 4th. This warm spell tied Minnesota’s all-time record high for November with an 84 F reading at Granite Falls, and produced more 70 and 80-degree highs than any other November on record.
#2 Record October Snowstorm: October 20, 2020
With 7.9 inches of snow in the Twin Cities, 7.0 inches at St. Cloud, and a large swath of 6-9 inches stretching across the state, this was the heaviest snow on record so early in the season throughout much of central and southern Minnesota. The heavy, wet snow plastered all surfaces, compacting into thick sheets of ice on area roads, and knocking out power in the eastern Twin Cities area.
#3 Violent, Deadly Tornado: July 8, 2020
Minnesota’s apparent drought of major tornadoes ended tragically, as a photogenic but devastating vortex ripped through Otter Tail County, killing a 30-year-old man. The tornado was rated EF-4, corresponding to winds estimated in excess of 165 mph. No tornado in Minnesota had been rated EF-3 or higher since an EF-4 struck Wilkin County on August 7, 2010. Spanning nearly ten years, this was been the longest period without a major tornado in state, dating back to the 1870s.
#4 Minnesota’s First Known Direct Encounter with a Tropical Cyclone
Tropical Storm Cristobal moved northward out of the Gulf of Mexico, and maintained Tropical Depression status as it pulled into the Upper Midwest, producing heavy rains and even some landslides in southeastern Minnesota. The rains came without lightning or thunder, and in true tropical fashion, the rain did not cool the air appreciably.
#5 Easter Sunday Winter Storm: April 12, 2020
For the third year in a row, mid-April brought a major winter weather event to southern Minnesota. Although not as potent as the storms in 2018 and 2019, this one did produce accumulations of up to 10 inches, including 6.6 inches In the Twin Cities. In southern Minnesota, mid-April snows exceeding four inches generally only occur 5-10% of the time, or every 10-20 years on average. This marked the first time on record (back to the 1870s) that the Twin Cities had experienced such a storm in three consecutive Aprils.
The Dec. 23 blizzard was Honorable Mention #1 in the Climate Office list:
Holiday Lights Howler: December 23, 2020
This event came too late for the voting, but would have certainly been a top five weather event. The combination of the snow with high winds was what made this event a spectacular storm. Whiteout conditions dominated open areas, and even spread into the urban areas during the afternoon and evening, prompting the National Weather Service to cover 70 of Minnesota’s 87 counties with Blizzard Warnings, possibly the greatest coverage of such warnings on record. These Blizzard Warnings included the core of the Twin Cities for just the third time in the past 30 years. The other two instances were both locally infamous: the Halloween Blizzard of 1991, and the “Thunder Blizzard” of April 2018.
We’ll see what 2021 brings us.
Have a great 2021!
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