Tricounty News

Punxsutawney Phil 80 percent right in history

Weather: Groundhog Day took place on Sunday, of course, and Punxsutawney Phil did in fact see his shadow. According to legend, this means six more weeks of winter.

In case you didn’t know, Groundhog Day celebration “is rooted in a Celtic tradition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Pagan holiday of Imbolc, winter will last another six weeks.” Meanwhile, they claim that if no shadow was seen, “spring would come early” or is just around the corner.

I think most of us knew that there is plenty of winter left after the 30-day outlook calls for colder than normal temperatures all the way into the start of March.

It was a pretty quiet, but cold start for the week this week across the Upper Midwest. Temperatures have remained well below average for the start of February, and that trend will continue through the weekend.

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Accidents, spinouts reported with zero visibility

Generally, this winter I have talked of a break of a day or two to allow us to dig out before another winter storm heads our way. This isn’t quite the case this week, however, and I think you’ll be OK with that news.

Of course, we dealt with another winter blizzard on Sunday that produced wind gusts of up to 55 mph at times and near white-out conditions. Many roads and even interstates were closed across Minnesota on Sunday with the hazardous driving conditions.

Many accidents and spin-outs were reported across the area. I-94 even had to be shut down for a time because of the dangerous conditions from Alexandria to Bismarck Sunday afternoon with the zero visibility.

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Temperature swings up and down

Weather: It’s been an interesting winter so far with some unusual temperature swings. Of course, we’ve gone from record or near record highs and lows over and over again, all in the span of a few days at a time.

On Sunday, for example,
Marshall hit 44 degrees which was just three degrees shy of the record high of 47 degrees dating back to 1981.

Fairmont topped out at 43 degrees which was just five degrees cooler than the record high of 48 degrees set just one year ago.

Most of Central, West Central, and parts of Northern Minnesota had temperatures climb into the upper 20s and low to mid 30s with lots of sunshine on Sunday. This allowed for some melting of the latest blast of winter that brought some additional snow to the area Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Three to seven inches of snow was common with the second Alberta Clipper to move across Minnesota by Saturday morning.

Alexandria, Morris, and Elbow Lake received about five inches of snow with that latest dose of winter. Hewitt in Todd County had seven inches of snowfall by Saturday morning. In addition,
St. Cloud and Kimball both reported more than five inches of snow.

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Warming sunshine temporary but welcome

Weather: As they say, the calm before the storm. The area enjoyed some great weather on Sunday, Jan. 12, as temperatures warmed into the 30s and 40s. Alexandria hit 39 degrees and came within five degrees of the record high of 44 degrees set back in 1981.

Quiet conditions stayed with us on Monday for most of the day as high pressure continued to influence our weather. Most locations enjoyed sunshine and temperatures from five to 10 degrees above average.

However, a clipper-type system moved out of Canada and impacted Minnesota Monday night into Tuesday, bringing with it some light snow and windy conditions. This caused some tricky driving conditions across much of Minnesota.

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Record low temps

Weather: The state of Minnesota had some of the coldest air that many of us have remembered for sometime from Sunday night into Tuesday morning. Overnight low temperatures by Monday morning reached 30 below zero and colder across parts of Northern Minnesota.

Most of Central and West Central Minnesota were in the 20 below zero and colder range for morning low temperatures Monday morning.

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