Saturday, January 4, 2014


Long post coming, so lets start out with the numbers everyone wants/doesn't want to hear, the wind chill or "feels like" temperatures. They will be astounding throughout the Midwest on Sunday through Tuesday. Some spots will be 50 below all day on Monday, which can easily cause frostbite within 5-10 minutes if precautions are not taken. Lower Michigan looks to be the only ones spared as the surrounding warmer lakes will help to insolate this part of the state. It's not just the cold that is leading to these dangerous conditions it's the cold and the gusty, winds that will overspread the area by Sunday evening. If you look at the wind chill chart on your right you can see that a temperature of negative -25° for example only takes a wind speed of 20mph to net a wind chill of -55°! This is the kind of conditions many of us will be experiencing Monday and Tuesday. Winds will generally be in the 15-30mph range with temperatures on Monday ranging from -5° in the south to -30° in the north, bringing frostbite times around 5-10 minutes for the colder spots. This is not your grandma's cold day!

Now lets get into more of the discussion based portion of this post...

This will prove to be the coldest air since 1996, if not all time for some locations. All time records are in danger Sunday night through Tuesday.

In the meantime, a winter storm (post going up later on that) will set the stage for extreme cold, straight from the North Pole to come roaring in starting Saturday night. The bulk of the cold air passes through Sunday leading to dropping temperatures across Midwest during the afternoon. The coldest of the days looks to fall on Monday, when wind chills will be at their coldest, see above

Here are the latest numbers off forecast consensus and model data from early this afternoon. Its nothing new to places such as northern Minnesota, but what is new is the fact the cold will run 100s of miles further south. Wind chills will range from -30° to -60°+ during much of the time period of Sunday night through Tuesday morning. Highs will struggle to reach single digits below zero all day on Monday leading to possible records. The all time record high minimum is -11° for Chicago, while we are going with a high of -10°, a new record is certainly in reach! And just look at the wind chill low in Fargo, -65°, serious cold right there!

Here you see a map of 850mb off the Canadian CMC model temps (about a mile above the surface) showing the extent of the cold. For a simple perspective, the bright pink on the map is usually reserved for the north pole and part of Siberia. In fact this is what we call the "Polar Vortex." Usually this feature sits on the North Pole, spins around the globe, traps such cold in Northern Canada and Russia. However, on Monday it is poised to move south into the United States, and dominate our temperatures for a few days, before sizzling away Wednesday and Thursday!  

And now....drumroll....the latest maps off the 12z European run:

Lets start with what will likely be the coldest day for most places, Monday. On the left you see the latest 12z EURO model run displaying what this computer model has for high temperatures on Monday. Much of these are records. And no, these are not wind chills, they are actually HIGH temperatures. Temperatures like these will cause many school districts to shut down, including all of Minnesota where the governor has already called off classes for every district in the state! A rare precedent indeed! Governor Walker of Wisconsin is considering such a measure for Monday also.

And now you made it all the way to the lows for Monday morning, The map says it all! Another thing to mention is that these lows are actually "warm" considering the air mass. We are fortunate to have some clouds floating around Monday morning which will act as a blanket for our temperatures. Furthermore, gusty winds will lead to atmospheric mixing which will also help to keep temperatures from plummeting to -40! Nevertheless, much of these numbers are still record lows and should be taken very seriously! Thanks for checking out this site, be sure to add it to your favorites and "like" our Facebook page, there is a like box on the right hand side of the screen (Or Click Here!). There is also much more to check out in the tabs at the top of the screen, make yourself at home, and hope to see you again very soon.