Where’s The Cold? Here’s When Minnesota’s Warm Winter Weather Trend Will Likely End
The winter of 2022-2023 has overall not been a very cold one overall so far across Minnesota. While we've seen the occasional brisk few days here and there like the cold stretch right before Christmas, things have overall been relatively warm - particularly as we work our way through what is generally the coldest month of the year.
When looking at official NWS temperature recordings for two of the state's biggest metropolitan areas, we've spent way more days experiencing above-average temperatures than anything else.
In the Twin Cities, the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen shows 13 of the first 16 full days of the month with above-average daytime high temperatures. The exceptions are January 6-7 and the 13th, where "normal" temperatures were recorded. For the record, the normal daytime high is around 23 degrees for January in the Twin Cities.
Twin Cities Temperatures - January 2023
You can see in the visualization above the departures from normal. The blue bars are the recorded temperature range for the day, with green being "normal", light blue being "below normal" and red being "above normal" temperatures.
Duluth has seen a similarly warm month so far, with 15 of the first 16 full days of the month seeing above-average daytime high temperatures. The one exception for Duluth was January 13, when we saw temperatures in the "normal" range. for the record, Duluth's "normal" daytime highs range between 19 and 21 degrees throughout the month.
Duluth Temperatures - January 2023
Our warm and generally quiet weather so far this month has led to lots of foggy conditions, a stretch of stagnant air leading to some of the worst winter air quality in the state in nearly two decades, and even some January Minnesota rain.
When will Minnesota's temperatures cool down?
While there might not be too many people complaining about the lack of "arctic blasts" so far this winter, it has led to a lot of earlier-than-normal snowmelt from our early winter snowstorms, and has led to thinner and less-safe ice conditions for ice anglers.
The "good news" (if you want to look at it that way) is that colder air appears to be on the way.
From the look of forecasts for next week, temperatures are expected to trend downward through the week next week with normal to below-normal temperatures possible as the week progresses.
What's the long-term outlook for temperatures in Minnesota?
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is pointing to a cooldown in their long-term outlooks for the Upper Midwest to end January and kick off February 2023.
In their shortest-term outlook, which forecasts January 22-26, they expect "near normal" temperatures for almost all of Minnesota and Wisconsin, with a pocket of "below average" temperatures in the Southwest.
In their 8-14 day outlook, forecasting January 24-30, that pocket of below-average temperatures expands eastward, showing a 50-60% chance of below-average temperatures for most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Then, in their longest-term outlook, showing a broad preview of what could happen from January 28-February 10, most of Minnesota remains in the 50-60% chance of below-average temperature probability, with an even higher likelihood of below-normal temperatures in North Dakota and far northwestern Minnesota.
One big thing to remember about these climate outlooks is that they are "broad brushstrokes", and do not guarantee every day in the forecast period will be colder than normal. They just mean there is an increased likelihood of below-normal temperatures.
So, whether you've been cautiously enjoying the warmer weather or missing the colder temperatures we're used to, it looks like they might be on the way to end January and kick off February.