Top five weather events of 2022
Updated at 2:30 p.m.
Many Minnesotans woke up to the sight of flocked trees this morning. Fog overnight deposited a coating on the tree branches.
Fog will linger in some areas today. Fog is also expected to redevelop in many areas this evening and linger into New Year’s Day morning.
Some locations could see occasional mist/drizzle and patchy freezing drizzle and flurries this Saturday and Saturday evening. One forecast model also shows periods of light snow in northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin late Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.
You can find updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the Minnesota Public Radio News network, and on the MPR News live weather blog.
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Our average Twin Cities high temp is 25 degrees this time of year. Metro area highs will reach the 30s Saturday afternoon and we’ll share 30s with roughly the southern half of Minnesota and most of western Wisconsin.
Sunday highs will be in the 20s across much of northern and central Minnesota, with lower 30s elsewhere in Minnesota and western Wisconsin:
Sunday afternoon wind chill temps will be in the teens in much of northern Minnesota, with 20s in southern Minnesota:
Parts of northwestern Minnesota will have single-digit wind chills Sunday afternoon.
Back to high temps, Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to be in the lower 30s Monday and Tuesday, followed by lower 20s Wednesday and Thursday then mid 20s on Friday.
Winter storm to start the week
Computer models show a low pressure system moving out of Colorado late Sunday night and then tracking northeastward Monday and Tuesday, spreading precipitation over much of the upper Midwest. There will be mainly snow in some areas and a wintry mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain in other areas.
The models don’t agree on the exact storm track and the temperature profile in the atmosphere Monday and Tuesday. As a result, the locations for the most significant snow accumulations vary from model to model.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System (GFS) model shows the following precipitation pattern from Monday through Tuesday night:
The GFS model has the band of heaviest snow from southwestern and west-central Minnesota through central Minnesota and into northwestern Wisconsin. The Twin Cities metro area would ride the southern edge of that heaviest snow band, with the north metro receiving more snow than the south metro.
Other forecast models shift the heavier snow band southward a bit. Check forecast updates as we get closer to Monday. This will be an impactful winter storm in many areas.
2:30 p.m. Update
The NWS has issued a winter storm watch with various Monday start times across much of central and southern Minnesota and portions of Wisconsin:
Here are some start times for the winter storm watch, which will run through Tuesday:
6 a.m. Monday Winter storm watch begins in southwestern Minnesota
3 p.m. Monday Winter storm watch begins in Willmar, Mankato, Albert Lea and in the southwestern part of the Twin Cities metro area.
9 p.m. Monday Winter storm watch begins in the remainder of the metro area and up toward St. Cloud and also in west-central Wisconsin.
A winter storm watch starts at midnight Monday night and continues through Tuesday evening from Brainerd and Hinckley to Duluth and into northwestern Wisconsin:
Here are details of the southwestern Minnesota portion of the winter storm watch:
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Sioux Falls SD 148 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 IAZ001-MNZ071-072-080-081-089-097-098-SDZ038>040-050-052>070- 010600- /O.CON.KFSD.WS.A.0005.230102T1200Z-230104T0000Z/ Lyon-Lincoln-Murray-Cottonwood-Nobles-Pipestone-Rock-Beadle- Kingsbury-Brookings-Gregory-Jerauld-Sanborn-Miner-Lake-Moody- Brule-Aurora-Davison-Hanson-McCook-Minnehaha-Charles Mix-Douglas- Hutchinson-Turner-Bon Homme-Yankton-Clay- 148 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 …WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON… * WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch possible. Higher snow accumulations could be possible. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph. * WHERE…Portions of northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota and central, east central, south central and southeast South Dakota. * WHEN…From Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon. * IMPACTS…Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning and evening commute. Power may be impacted in some locations. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…There remains potential for this storm system to shift north or south which will impact expected snow and ice totals.
Here are details of the portion of the watch that includes Mankato and Albert Lea, plus the southwestern part of the Twin Cities metro area:
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN 153 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 MNZ068>070-076>078-083>085-091>093-010600- /O.NEW.KMPX.WS.A.0007.230102T2100Z-230104T0000Z/ Carver-Scott-Dakota-Le Sueur-Rice-Goodhue-Blue Earth-Waseca- Steele-Martin-Faribault-Freeborn- Including the cities of Chanhassen, Chaska, Victoria, Shakopee, Hastings, Le Sueur, Faribault, Red Wing, Mankato, Waseca, Owatonna, Fairmont, Blue Earth, and Albert Lea 153 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 …WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON… * WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch possible. * WHERE…Portions of east central, south central and southeast Minnesota. * WHEN…From Monday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon. * IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Heavy icing could cause downed tree branches and power lines. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travelers are urged to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and statements on this potentially hazardous travel situation. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Monitor the latest forecasts for updates on this situation.
Here are details of the watch that includes the remainder of the metro area plus St. Cloud and parts of west-central Wisconsin:
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN 153 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 MNZ043>045-049>053-059>063-WIZ014>016-023>026-010600- /O.NEW.KMPX.WS.A.0007.230103T0300Z-230104T0600Z/ Morrison-Mille Lacs-Kanabec-Stearns-Benton-Sherburne-Isanti- Chisago-Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-Polk-Barron-Rusk- St. Croix-Pierce-Dunn-Pepin- Including the cities of Little Falls, Princeton, Mora, St Cloud, Sauk Rapids, Elk River, Cambridge, Center City, Monticello, Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Osceola, Rice Lake, Ladysmith, Hudson, River Falls, Menomonie, and Durand 153 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 …WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM MONDAY EVENING THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING… * WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 7 inches and ice accumulations one to two tenths of an inch possible. * WHERE…Portions of central and east central Minnesota and northwest and west central Wisconsin. * WHEN…From Monday evening through Tuesday evening. * IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Heavy icing could cause downed tree branches and power lines. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travelers are urged to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and statements on this potentially hazardous travel situation.
Here are details of the Brainerd, Duluth and northwestern Wisconsin portion of the winter storm watch:
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Duluth MN 124 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 MNZ034>038-WIZ001>003-006>008-010730- /O.NEW.KDLH.WS.A.0015.230103T0600Z-230104T0600Z/ Crow Wing-Northern Aitkin-South Aitkin- Carlton and South St. Louis-Pine-Douglas-Bayfield-Ashland-Burnett- Washburn-Sawyer- Including the cities of Brainerd, Hill City, Aitkin, Duluth, Pine City, Hinckley, Superior, Washburn, Bayfield, Ashland, Grantsburg, Spooner, and Hayward 124 PM CST Sat Dec 31 2022 …WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM LATE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING… * WHAT…Heavy snow and mixed precipitation possible. Total snow accumulations of 3 to 8 inches, and ice accumulations of around one tenth of an inch possible. * WHERE…From Brainerd east through Duluth and Superior, the Interstate 35 corridor and into northwest Wisconsin * WHEN…From late Monday night through Tuesday evening. * IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.
Top five weather events of 2022
The Minnesota State Climatology Office has compiled a list of the Top Five Weather Events of 2022 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 was among the Minnesota meteorologists who voted this year.
The final vote tally has been completed and here are the results as posted by the Climatology Office, along with their narrative for each event and links to more info:
#1 The Drought of 2022
For the second year in a row, significant drought conditions developed in Minnesota during 2022, this time in response to quick-hitting and steep precipitation deficits. Unlike the previous year's drought, which hit northern Minnesota the hardest and peaked during late summer, this one originated in southern Minnesota and escalated during the fall. As of early November 2022, the 2021 drought was the larger and "worse" of the two episodes in all categories.
#2 Flooding in the Northland
The exceedingly wet spring set the stage for historic flooding in the far north. International Falls through June 19 had 18.53 inches, which is almost two times the 1991-2020 normal of 9.47 inches. Rainy Lake set a new record high level, breaking the old level from 1950 and Lake of the Woods feel just short if the record level set in 1950. With 100 years of record, the Pigeon River at Grand Portage set a record flow or “discharge” in the spring as well.
#3 (tie vote) May-hem: A Stormy and Damaging May 2022
There were six separate weather episodes in May 2022. Through June 3 there were more severe thunderstorm warnings though June 3, than any year back to when searchable records began in 1986. One of the most extreme thunderstorm wind events seen in years on Thursday, May 12, 2022. The highest wind gusts recorded in Minnesota was 94mph at Madison in Lac Qui Parle County and Verndale in Wadena County. There were at least nine tornadoes. High winds damaged homes, garages, silos, grain bins and numerous trees. One man was killed when a large grain bin fell on his vehicle.
#3 (tie vote) Blizzard, Ice, Slush Storm, and Rain, December 13-17, 2022
A powerful winter storm lasting multiple days brought wind, rain, heavy mixed precipitation, and intense wet snow to Minnesota from Tuesday December 13th, lasting into Saturday December 17th, 2022. Across the state, but especially in northern Minnesota, the storm damaged countless trees, blocked roads, closed snowmobile trails, and knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers. Its massive geographic footprint and duration meant that virtually all of the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin received significant snowfall accumulations, with Winter Storm and even Blizzard Warnings covering the entire 300,000 square-mile area at times.
#5 Snow & Holiday Blizzard
An enormous, powerful, and deadly winter storm overtook much of Minnesota and the surrounding region after an abundant and powdery snowfall ending on Thursday December 22, 2022, set the stage for a long-lasting and brutally cold regional ground blizzard.* The virtually impossible and life-threatening conditions on nearly all exposed roads in between cities and towns severely impeded holiday travel across multiple northern and central state
You can hear my live weather updates on MPR News at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.