Minnarctica: The Numbers Addition

Our cold blast, aptly nicknamed Minnarctica by some of our viewers, is currently impacting southeast Minnesota and northern Iowa. As of 9:00 Sunday night air temperatures are near -15º with wind chills already near -45º. If you are interested in some of the science on this latest blast of Arctic air you can read our previous blog. This entry is all about the numbers: what to expect and comparing to history.

Our current air temperature forecast low is -25º, still 3 degrees above the record set in 1912.

Our high temperature is expected to reach -16º, very cold but still not enough to break any minimum high records. In fact, it doesn’t look like we will break any records with this latest cold blast. Even when factoring a sustained wind to 25 mph and gusts to 30 mph our wind chill will stay between -50 to -60º, but the record is -64º set in 1982.

Since we aren’t expected to break any records, the next question becomes how long has it been since it has been this cold? Well, back in 2009 we had a 4 day stretch of cold weather that rivals this one. The coldest temperature during that time was -26º reached on 1/16/2009.

Another interesting item to note is the average temperature. With a low of -25º and high of -16º, our average temperature for the day will be -20.5º. We have to go all the way back to February 1, 1996 to see an average temperature that cold.

In summary, even though we have seen a colder low temperature in the past 5 years, when taking the entire day into account Monday will be the coldest day since the beginning of February 1996. The biggest difference between this 2014 cold outbreak compared to 1996 is that our cold only lasts 2 days, because warmer temperatures do return by the end of the week!

Justin Thompson-Gee
Storm Tracker 6 Meteorologist

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