Coldest Thanksgiving in 7 years; sweeter weekend ahead


Happy Thanksgiving Minnesota.

A cold Canadian high pressure system is in place in the Upper Midwest today. As you can see from the temperature map above, blue is the dominant color in our region. Sub-freezing temperatures push as far south as the Chicago suburbs in southern Iowa to Omaha.

Our Thanksgiving air mass this year is the coldest in 7 years. The last time the Twin Cities had a high temperature on Thanksgiving colder than today was in 2014, when the high was only 10 degrees. The minimum that morning was minus 4!

Here’s a great summary of the Thanksgiving climatology from the Minnesota Climate Working Group.

Because Thanksgiving Day occurs during the transition period between fall and winter, Thanksgiving time can be mild to brutal. A typical Thanksgiving Day in the Twin Cities has high temperatures in the 1930s and at least some filtered sunshine.

It’s relatively rare to have a balmy day in the 50s on Thanksgiving Day, considering the historic high of 1872. A high of 50 or more has only occurred eleven times in 148 years, or so. once every 13 years or so. The hottest Thanksgiving day was a tie of 62 degrees in 1914 and 1922. The warmest recent Thanksgiving day was 60 degrees on November 22, 2012. This tied 1939 as the third hottest Thanksgiving at 1872 for the twin cities.

On the other side of the spectrum, it’s common to have a high temperature below 32. The average temperature on Thanksgiving Day is near zero. What about an extremely cold Thanksgiving? Looking at the past 149 years, the odds are about the same of having a low of zero or less on Thanksgiving Day, as it is with having a high of 50 or more. Sub-zero lows have occurred ten times in the past 148 years. The coldest minimum temperature on Thanksgiving Day was 18 degrees below zero on November 25, 1880. The coldest temperature was one below zero on November 28, 1872. The last time it was below zero zero on Thanksgiving morning was 2014, with four below zero. 2014 saw the coldest Thanksgiving temperature since 1930 with a temperature of 10 degrees.

A sweeter weekend ahead

Temperatures are moderating a bit this weekend across Minnesota. Highs hit 40 again in southwest Minnesota on Friday, with mostly 30s elsewhere. This temperature map will be pretty typical for the coming weekend.

High temperature forecast Friday.


Light rain or flurries on Saturday

A weak mower brings a chance of light rain and snow in Minnesota. Most of the snow will be north of the Twin Cities. A few forecast models suggest minor accumulation in parts of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

NOAA GFS Saturday model

NOAA GFS Saturday model.

NOAA via tropical treats

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s GFS suggests that about an inch is possible by Saturday later.

NOAA GFS model snowfall output

NOAA GFS model snowfall released by Sunday morning.

NOAA via pivot weather

Looking ahead, next week promises to be relatively smooth again. Highs will hit 40 and possibly 50 in parts of southern Minnesota by next Wednesday and Thursday.

High temperature forecast Monday

High temperature forecast Monday.


It was a graceful slide towards the end of fall this year. There are still signs of possible snow towards the end of the first week or the second week of December.

The MPR Weather Team wishes you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend this year!

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