The January thaw has begun! Modified, Pacific air will continue to stream over Minnesota through the weekend. Highs on Saturday will approach 40 degrees! Soft, loose snow expected. Especially with rain in the forecast the day before the race on Friday...
With El Nino driving the big snow storms south of Minnesota the snowfall forecast looks sparse this week. A late week thaw and light rain/snow mix Friday-Saturday will certainly impact trail conditions come race day.
Warm, south breeze on race day Saturday will get daytime highs into the mid-20s. Cloudy conditions along with below freezing temperatures will help maintain snow conditions on the trail. Even non-fatbike tires may be allowed!
Expected two rounds of light snow next week that will freshen up the singletrack before the 2nd Get Phat with Pat race on January 30.
The cold won't have quite the bite late this week. Temperatures will be closing in on 30 degrees by race day...a mini heatwave, Minnesota style!
January, historically speaking, is the coldest month out of the entire year in Minnesota. Perfect time to hold a fatbike race! The 2016 Get Phat with Pat race series takes place in mid-January at the Minnesota River Bottoms Mountain Bike Trail.
The 2015-2016 winter outlook is looking warmer than average. Stay tuned for race specific CycleCast leading up to race day!
The lower the tire pressure the better! Soft snow conditions will continue as temperatures hold steady in the mid-30's through Saturday morning.
9AM: 32° Cloudy. Wind: WNW 9
10AM: 33° Above freezing. Wind: W 7
11AM: 33° Light breeze. Wind: W 7
NOON: 35° Loose snow. Wind: SW 7
Snow arrives Saturday night and continues into Sunday morning. Total snowfall will be 1"-4" across the metro. While the Get Phat misses the snow, the Sunday tailgating ride at Lebanon Hills should be fun in the new snow.
We are now halfway through winter, but snowfall totals and cold conditions barely compare to the Twin Cities' brutal winter of 2014. The 9.9 inches of snow so far this winter pales in comparison to last year's 26.2 inch total.
About 19 inches is normal by this time in winter.
Periodic snow showers and slightly above normal temperatures will define our week leading up the race day Saturday. These intermittent snow events will be light and provide the River Bottoms with just a fresh coating from time to time. No significant snow accumulation in the foreseeable future.
The diagram above dissects the past and future snow conditions. With the recent warmer weather we have seen a decrease in snow depth. The chance of snow is higher this week, but the snow will likely be of a higher liquid content. This could result in a good base to pack if temps can stay below freezing...
And that's the kicker, temperatures during the day teeter around freezing. I am most concerned with Friday's temperatures in the mid 30's. Lower tire pressure likely be needed for this weekend's race!
9AM: Mostly cloudy. 28° Wind: NW 11
10AM: Light breeze, steady temps. 29° Wind: NW 11
11AM: Partly cloudy. 29° Wind: NW 9
Noon: Light snow/flurries developing late Saturday evening. 31° Wind: WNW 7
Take Home Message: A few opportunities for snow this week. Temperatures hover near freezing this week. Snow will be soft and challenging on Saturday, lower tire pressure will be desired.
Latest GFS LAMP guidance shows temperatures rising above freezing after Noon Saturday. Limited sun in the morning will help to curb any melting but a light, misty freezing drizzle is certainly possible as warmer air rushes over the snowpack. Expect a gusty wind to pick up during the afternoon.
9AM: Cloudy, misty drizzle. 29° Wind: SW 10
10AM: Warming up. 30° Wind: SW 11
11AM: Close to freezing, minor melting? 31° Wind: SW 12
Noon: Soft snow. Increasing wind. 33° Wind: W 15 Gusts to 20
Weather looks warmer but windy for the first race!
Take Home Message: Despite temps rising above freezing the lack of sun will help keep the trail in good condition.
We've seen that scary, horizontal line in front of the temperature number all too often this winter. At least 45 Minnesota climate stations reported low temperatures -20°F or colder in the past few days. No shortage of beadcicles and snotcicles on faces of brave cyclists across Minnesota this winter!
The coldest of the cold looks to be behind us. Sure, a few sharp cold fronts will bring in a puff of cold air once in a while, but not the sustained subzero wind chill values like last week. In fact, models suggest that we may not see any more arctic air through the rest of January!
Tuesday morning of this week will be the coldest yet this winter with wind chill readings as low as -30 degrees in the metro. If it makes you feel any better, the lowest wind chill ever found in Minnesota between 1905-2014 was -63°F on January 22, 1936.
The National Weather Service issued a handful of Wind Chill Advisories/Warnings as wind chill plummeted to -40° in northern Minnesota. Right now, central Minnesota is second to North Dakota for the most Wind Chill Advisories/Warnings issued this season.
But we all know that the cold is relative. What feels cold in Kentucky is different from Minnesota. For example, the criteria for issuing a Wind Chill Advisory is -10°F in Kentucky vs. -25°F in the Twin Cities.
Luckily, racers on Saturday won't be battling dangerously low wind chills. The arctic air finally eases its grip on the area as a subtle shift in the upper level wind takes place. High temperatures from Friday through the weekend will be in the 30s, above normal! Anything close to freezing will feel like a Minnesota mid-winter heat wave!
Saturday - Get Phat with Pat Race #1
9AM: Partly cloudy. 23° Wind chill: 15°
10AM: Warm southerly breeze. 25° Wind chill: 15°
Noon: Warming up. 33° Wind: W 10
1PM: Slushy snow in the sun. 35° Wind: W 10
Take Home Message: Aside from a dusting of snow Tuesday night, no significant snow accumulation is expected leading up to race day. A gradual thaw with temps hitting freezing by Saturday. Snow could become slushy in those favored areas with full sun.