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Canadian Invasion of Arctic Air!

28 Dec 2013, 2:28 pm


This image from was altered just a touch (I’m sure you notice where), but it humorously portrays the blizzard conditions that are going on across North Dakota and into Minnesota.  A very strong arctic front is opening the door to very cold air and strong winds that are flowing down into the upper Midwest this weekend.

Just as temperatures were starting to rise this weekend in the Midwest, and across a good portion of the country, here comes an onslaught of Siberia-like temperatures, funneling down straight across the border of Canada, to the lower 48.  This is how it looked in Cavalier, ND (to the north and west of Grand Forks, ND) around Noon this afternoon.

Earlier on in the day, just around midnight, the temp for the day was 19° with a wind chill of 8°.   By midday, the wind chill was -20° and blowing snow, caused by 20+ mph winds, reduced the visibility to 1/4 mile or less, as you can clearly see in the webcam image.

Around noon time today, temps were starting to drop as the front continued to travel southward through the upper Midwest.  Mild air (orange color) was in place across southern MN and the rest of the Midwest, into the Ohio River Valley, but is quickly being replaced.

Here is how it looked earlier on the satellite & radar imagery earlier today (@Noon), with temps in SD and central MN into the mid to upper 30s, nearly 40°.  Behind the system, temps had dropped into the teens and single digits.

The 24-hour temp drop across the upper Midwest has been quite drastic.  Looking at the same time frame, temps have fallen in ND and upper MN by a good 15° to 35°+!

As a result of the forecasted winds of 20-45 MPH and the bitterly cold air, a wind chill advisory and warning have been placed across an area from eastern MN to western WI.  On any exposed skin (i.e., as if you weren’t wearing a hat, scarf and/or gloves) frost bite would kick in a matter of as little as a few minutes with temps feeling close to 45° below zero.

The storm system that is bringing the arctic front is also bringing about some snow that shall accumulate across northern ND, MN and the upper peninsula of MI.  The final totals will be low, about 2-4″ but watches and warnings are put up not because of the amount of snow, but due to the fact that winds will blow the snow that falls all over, creating very low visibility and lead to snow drifts.  More images will likely come up like the one you saw up above in Cavalier, ND.  The blizzard warning (shaded blood orange) is where winds will blow at 35 mph and higher either frequently or sustained, snow will fall or blow around that will reduce the visibility to 1/4 mile or less.  These conditions are to last at least 3 hours in duration.

Road conditions have become bad enough across portions of ND where the DOT has advised that travel not be done unless absolutely necessary.  I wouldn’t be surprised if those areas highlighted above had the roads closed down to all travel at some point this afternoon.

Temperatures ahead of the front today, and from the Central Plains to the Northeast, are trending above their seasonable averages by a good 10°-20° on average.

Come tomorrow afternoon, temperatures will be far away from what they were on Saturday afternoon in the nation’s heartland.  From the Dakotas to the Southern Plains, temps will be down about 5° to 35° on average from their seasonable daytime highs.  The mild air can still be found on the East Coast, for now, until the front makes its way there early in the work week.

Saturday’s forecast above shows all the lovely conditions to be found from the Central Plains, to the Northeast.

By Sunday, the highs in the upper Midwest will struggle to get anywhere close to zero degrees!  The Twin Cities (average high: 24°) will be below zero, despite mainly sunny skies, and could possibly go all the way into 2014 before it sees positive temps!


I hope you can enjoy the mild and pleasant conditions (if you have them) today and brace yourselves for oncoming onslaught of bitterly cold air!  I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking a trip to the Caribbean is needed!

Meteorologist Addison Green ~ Twitter: @agreenWNTV

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