It can still get really freakin' cold in Minnesota

Categories: Weather, Winter
National Weather Service
It's cold today -- but you probably already knew that.
Here's some news for those of you who have well-insulated abodes and/or haven't gone outside yet this morning: It's winter in Minnesota, and it can get freakin' cold.

You might have forgotten about this season while we were being pleasantly surprised with an extremely mild December and 50-degree temps as late as January 10, but today's freeze-your-face-off coldness brings that familiar bone chill that Minnesotans expect this time of year.

Don't fret, though, those of you willing to sacrifice ice fishing and snowmobiling for comfortable walks outside, because it appears that this cold snap isn't for long.

With a nod toward the long-range weather models, Paul Douglas writes on his Star Tribune weather blog that "today may wind up being the coldest day of winter, a rather tame winter at that."

Tame winter, indeed. Last night, the temperature at MSP dropped below zero for the first time all season one minute before midnight. Had the weather gods held off for 60 more seconds it would've been the latest first below-zero temperature in recorded history. Instead, this season's streak ended up tied with 1889, before your great-great-grandfather was even a speck in your great-great-great-grandmother's eyes.

The 7-day forecast calls for a high temp barely above zero today, then in the single-digits tomorrow. But we'll be warming up from there, with temps back up around 30 by early next week.

Is all the mildness a symptom of global warming? Our Amazing Planet's weather blog believes there's a less-grandiose explanation:
In further proof that forecasters make it up as they go, something called the Arctic Oscillation has apparently trumped whatever this model was based on.
Like much of the country, the Twin Cities region is at the mercy of the Arctic Oscillation, a climate pattern of opposing atmospheric pressures in the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the Arctic Oscillation has been in a positive phase, which brings warmer-than-average temperatures to the northern United States. The warm weather and a lack of snow cover this year have kept many cities unusually warm.
Thank you, Arctic Oscillation, for all you've done so far, and for promising us more mildness as soon as next week. In the meantime, let's try and look upon these few days of oh-my-God-why-do-I-live-here coldness as positively as we can. After all, that January chill in your bones is part of what being a Minnesotan is all about.

See also:
-- This winter, once forecast to be hell, pleasantly defies expectations

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