After tonight, all will be right again in the Twin Cities. Minnesota is forecast to have its first subzero temperature of this winter around midnight.
As of today (Jan. 18), this winter has been wimpy in the Twin Cities, as it has in much of the rest of the United States. Temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 17.7 degrees Celsius) across southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin during winter are usually a fact of life for people there. But with this year's weird winter, folks are wondering where is the cold and snow ? There has never been a winter where temperatures at reporting locations across the Twin Cities forecast area failed to drop below zero, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). But that should change tonight, according to the latest forecast.
"In Minneapolis ... subzero #cold for the 1st time this season tonight," tweeted the Weather Channel's Eric Fisher.
In the Twin Cities, the fewest number of below-0-degree F days was two, which happened in the winter of 2001-2002. Jan. 18 was the latest winter season date for the Twin Cities to experience their first below-zero temperature, which happened in 1889. If the mercury fails to drop below zero before midnight tonight, that record will be broken.
Like much of the country, the Twin Cities region is at the mercy of the Arctic Oscillation, a climate pattern of opposing atmospheric pressures in the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the Arctic Oscillation has been in a positive phase, which brings warmer-than-average temperatures to the northern United States. The warm weather and a lack of snow cover this year have kept many cities unusually warm.
Alaska has been the only exception, as it has experienced frigid temperatures and record snowfalls around the Anchorage area.
The Pacific Northwest is also getting a heavy dose of winter today, with a snowstorm that is bringing several inches of snow to Seattle and other parts of the region, which normally don't see such major snowfalls.