As was forecasted by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center a couple of weeks ago, Minnesota saw an arctic blast to end the month of January - and those temperatures are lingering into the first couple of days of February.
An especially brutal blast of cold air, bringing wind chill warnings with it for parts of the state, will make the end of this week particularly frigid before we see a change in the weather.
This weekend's forecast shows a rebound into the 20's above zero, albeit with breezy conditions. It'll still feel warmer than parts of what we've seen this week. How long will that warmer air stick around though?
Looking again at forecast data from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, Minnesota and Wisconsin could see above-normal temperatures. In the CPC's temperature outlook for February 7-11, most of Minnesota and all of Wisconsin have a 70-80% chance of seeing above-normal temperatures.
This is part of a likelihood of warmer-than-normal temperatures for a sizable share of the eastern and central part of the country for the first part of the month of February.
What is "normal" for this time of year?
For the first couple of weeks of February, "normal" temperatures tend to be in the low 20s for daytime highs and in the mid-single digits above zero for overnight lows, broadly speaking for the state. This, of course, varies from place to place - leaning colder in the northern part of the state and a little warmer in the southern part of the state.
Next week's forecasted daytime highs around the state look like they'll get as warm as the mid-30s in parts of the state. Using the "normal" measurement of low 20's for the first part of February, that puts us around 10 degrees warmer than normal. Heatwave!
How long will the warmer temperatures stick around?
A couple of things to remember about NOAA's climate outlooks - first, they are broad brushstrokes. So, if a forecast suggests a probability of warmer than normal temperatures, there could still be days where the opposite happens.
The second thing to remember is that the further out you look in a forecast, the less reliable it becomes. Take, for example, the outlook from a couple of weeks ago. That outlook called for a probability of colder than normal temperatures for a timeframe that now could see warmer than normal temperatures. That was looking out a number of weeks at the time, and clearly things changed.
So, take the longer outlook with a grain of salt, but NOAA thinks that the likelihood of above-normal temperatures could linger through February 1, with the eastern two-thirds of Minnesota seeing 60-70% chances of warmer than normal temperatures.
Looking toward the end of February, it's more of a toss-up, with equal chances of above-normal, below-normal, or normal temperatures.
What about precipitation chances for February in Minnesota?
Most Minnesotans will tell you that it seems like late February and March is when we get heavy snow every winter. How does that perceived trend measure up against our precip chances for this February?
Remember, just like the temperature outlooks, this compares the chances of above/below normal precipitation for a timeframe. So, it isn't a guarantee of snow, just the probability of more or less precipitation than we would normally get.
The current CPC outlook shows "near normal" precipitation for most of Minnesota and the northern half of Wisconsin through February 11, with a slightly elevated chance of above-normal precipitation to end the month of February.