1/23/15: Clipper Cold

Although very mild today with noontime temperatures in the mid 30s to lower 40s, Saturday will bring some changes.

Noon Temps


Temperatures will probably not climb too much more this afternoon, but still any 40° reading in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota in January is an added bonus and although 40° January temperatures in western North Dakota are more common, even there it is a welcomed break from winter’s grip.

Changes are coming for tomorrow as an area of low pressure currently moving into the coast of British Columbia will rapidly cross the Rocky Mountains in Canada, reform on the high plains of Alberta and quickly move to the southeast.

11AM Surface Map


That “Alberta Clipper” should move into eastern North Dakota and be centered near Fargo at 6:00 PM on Saturday as it moves with a very powerful jetstream.  My current thinking is the low will track from central Saskatewan to Fargo to Mason City Iowa as it moves through the area.

Saturday 6PM Progged Jetstream



That would place the main band of snow from north central North Dakota through the northern Red River Valley, somewhat similar to what the graphic below detects.  This track would also be favorable for the Fargo Moorhead area to accumulate 1″ or more of snow from a single event, something that has not yet occurred this season for that location.


Projected Snow


With the mean upper-level wind flow still more angled from the Pacific Ocean than from the Arctic, although Sunday will be cooler than Saturday, it certainly will not be all that cold for the time of year, instead, it will be above average.  Another clipper on Monday and Wednesday will continue this trend, but the Wednesday clipper will bring will it a more noticeable cold front and it is that system that will alter the pattern enough to bring in some significantly colder air into the region.  Plus, with two rounds of snow, the temperatures near the beginning of February could be some of the coldest of the season.

Short term:  Mild today.  Saturday clipper.  Dry and cooler Sunday.  Another clipper on Monday.

Long  term.  Mild through Wednesday.  Significantly colder January 31 through February 7 (on most of those days).   Warm up February 7 to 15, then trending colder.  In other words, the pattern we have been on since November.  Not many days near average, but moderately above seasonal values fluctuating both ways.

Daryl Ritchison