This week is a one-two punch in the weather department with widespread snowfall this morning and now the cold is on the way for the midweek! This cold could be record challenging and may put us in the top 5 for coldest high temperatures on record for Rochester and perhaps on the top 5 list as well for coldest wind chills! This is dangerous cold, even by Minnesota standards, and may be our coldest winter days since 1996!
Wind and cold temperatures will be the primary concerns over the coming days along with blowing snow at times for Tuesday. The leading edge of this arctic air mass will arrive on Tuesday with air temperatures falling from the -0s in the morning to the -10s by the afternoon with northwest winds gusting up to 35 mph. This may produce wind chills in excess of -30 to -40 degrees at times for Tuesday afternoon which may lead to frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes. Blowing snow will also be a concern for Tuesday as fresh snow will be prone to drifting leading to slippery roads.
The core of the cold arrives Tuesday night and Wednesday with temperatures dipping to around -30° Wednesday morning with high temperatures struggling back up to -20° by Wednesday afternoon. If this confirms, this would tie as the 2nd coldest daytime high on record for Rochester with the other times occurring in 1983 & 1996. The coldest daytime high on record is -22° set back in 1912. Wind chill values on Wednesday may range from -50 to -60 degrees with our last -50 degree wind chill occurring for Rochester in 2014. Our coldest wind chill on record for Rochester is -64° set back in 1982. Frostbite on exposed skin on Wednesday may occur in as little as 5-10 minutes, that’s about how long it takes to pump gas in your car!
Air temperatures may fall back to near -30 degrees by Thursday morning, then temperatures begin to rebound by Thursday afternoon and beyond! Look for high temperatures to return to the -0s for Thursday, then the 10s by Friday and the 30s by Saturday and Sunday! Some light snow may be possible late in the day on Thursday as warm air begins to move back across the Upper Midwest with perhaps a wintry mix of rain and snow for both Saturday and Sunday!