Something to be thankful for: Minnesota catches break from nasty weather

MARSHALL – How’s this for a tradeoff: below-normal temperatures as opposed to the wintry weather that’s pounding southern states – and eventually the East Coast – with snow and ice.

Turkey Day travelers who will venture out in Minnesota and the rest of the Northern Plains have cold, Canadian air to thank for what is shaping up to be a chilly but quiet holiday week.

“There’s really not much weather taking place across the Upper Midwest or Northern Plains through the holiday week,” said Todd Heitkamp, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D. “We may see a few flurries or some light snow showers throughout the week, but there are really no travel concerns.”

Nothing could be further from the truth in the south where a winter storm is being blamed for as many as 10 fatal crashes in the West and in Texas. The weather was bad enough Monday to cancel almost 300 flights in and out of Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport, the Associated Press said. Airports in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston and Charlotte, N.C., could also see major delays.

The storm system brought a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, southern Kansas and Texas as it tracks east. But thanks to a big push of colder air from the north, it will be a quiet Thanksgiving in the Upper Midwest.

“There are two different weather patterns going on,” Heitkamp said. “We are being influenced by the air flow out of Canada, which is the northern jet stream with colder air that is pushing the main storm track well to the south – that’s what they’re seeing in Oklahoma and Texas, and it will continue over to the east.”

Heitkamp said at this time of the year, the storm track is more dominant in the south and the colder air is heavy enough to push stronger storm systems to the south and east.

“I guess we can be thankful, unless you’re looking for a white Thanksgiving, so to speak,” Heitkamp said.

Heitkamp said it’s too early to tell if Minnesotans will get lucky again for Christmastime travel. But, he said, “December will be a little bit more active weather-wise with precip above normal and temps slightly below normal.”

The storm left 44,000 homes and businesses without power, most of them in Dallas-Fort Worth, though people in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa could be without electricity for a couple of days, the AP reported. New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma and West Texas already received several inches of snow last week.