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Dramatic 61 degree apparent temperature contrast across Minnesota Wednesday

Apr 22, 2020 02:31PM ● By Editor

By Paul Huttner of Minnesota Public Radio News - April 22, 2020

The temperature map across Minnesota today tells a tale of very different air masses.

The warmest air mass of the year so far is blowing across southern Minnesota. Temperatures have hit 80 degrees along the I-90 corridor in southern Minnesota.

Weather conditions at Fairmont
Weather conditions at Fairmont.  Graphic:  NOAA

Meanwhile, in Grand Marais along Minnesota’s North Shore, the air temperature hovered at 28 degrees this afternoon, with a wind chill of 19 degrees.

Weather conditions at Grand Marais
Weather conditions at Grand Marais Wednesday afternoon  Graphic: NOAA

So, when you factor in the apparent or “feels like’ temperature, it feels 61 degrees warmer today across southern Minnesota than Grand Marais!

The geography of extremes

One look at today’s temperature map shows you how great the contrast in air masses is across the Upper Midwest.

Temperatures Wednesday afternoon
Temperatures Wednesday afternoon.  Graphic: Oklahoma Mesonet

There’s a reason these huge temperature contrasts happen most often in springtime. Minnesota sits in an ideal location for big temperature contrasts this time of year. Air masses to the south are in the process of heating up. Our higher spring sun angle and solar intensity are now equal to August 20. That heats up air masses blowing north into Minnesota. 

At the same time, Lake Superior is still frigid with water temperatures in the 30s. That modifies air masses along the North Shore toward the opposite extreme.

Lake Superior water temperature
Lake Superior water temperature.  Graphic: NOAA

They say all weather is local. That’s especially true in Minnesota on spring days like today.

To read the original story and see related weather reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.

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