A high pressure center with origins in the Arctic is parked over eastern North Dakota into Minnesota this morning.
With a clear sky, light wind and fresh snow, it is no surprise that eastern North Dakota into northwestern Minnesota recorded a very cold morning. Both the Hillsboro and the Langdon NDAWN (North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network) stations recorded low temperatures of -25° F this morning.
Low pressure situated in far southeastern Alberta will be southeasterly today and bring with it some clouds and a pocket of pretty light snow. The clouds in particular will help modify the temperatures today, that even with a very cold start temperatures should recover to well above zero today in eastern North Dakota and some locations in southwestern North Dakota may even flirt with 40°. It is that thermal boundary that will serve as the track for the snow today, although the projected snow looks to be a dusting in the locations that do record some snowfall (less than 1″).
After the snow passes, colder air will again move into North Dakota and Minnesota. That process will be slow and in fact, with clouds lingering tonight, many locations will stay above zero, but it will be during the day on Friday that the cold will begin to push in setting the area up for a very cold Saturday morning.
The high pressure coming in on Saturday with be #2 in the line of 4 Arctic Highs expected in the next 10 days (including the one this morning). An animation of the progression of these highs in the next 10 days is presented below.
Below average temperatures foreseen through at least near the end of February of differing degrees. So after a warm December and January, February looks to be finishing below average, but not enough to offset the warmth of December 1 though January 31. Meaning, although this winter (December though February) will still finish above average overall, the last month of the season, certainly looks to be reminding us that it is still winter.