Thursday's breezy, slightly cooler; northern lights possible Thursday night

Some snow showers possible this weekend

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Forecast highs Thursday
National Weather Service

Thursday will be slightly cooler and breezy but with more sunshine. Northern lights will be potentially visible statewide Thursday night.

Slightly cooler, breezy Thursday

A weak cool front continues to move through the Upper Midwest early Thursday. It will make for a slightly cooler set of afternoon high temperatures Thursday afternoon but still above normal. 

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Forecast temperature anomalies Thursday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Pivotal Weather

We’ll see a fair amount of sunshine again with just some patchy clouds in northern Minnesota. Winds will increase from the northwest, reaching 10 to 15 mph in the wake of the cold front.

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Forecast wind speeds, direction and gusts midday Thursday
National Weather Service

It will be a little colder overnight Thursday night with lows mainly in the teens to low 20s.

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Forecast lows Thursday night
National Weather Service

Good chance to see auroras statewide Thursday night 

An explosion on the sun’s surface has triggered a series of coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are now racing toward Earth.

One is being called a “cannibal CME” because it’s a large ejection that takes over a smaller one. All of this energy, reaching Earth Thursday night could make for a vivid display of northern lights if it aligns with our magnetic field just right. A KP index of 7 is forecast. 

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Forecast KP index for Thursday night into early Friday
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

When the KP index reaches 6 or higher, the lights are potentially visible across even southern Minnesota. A 7 means that they could be visible into Iowa and Illinois.

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Forecast for the aurora oval visibility Thursday night into early Friday
Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Most of Minnesota should see mostly clear skies overnight Thursday night as well. There will be some scattered areas of clouds especially in northern Minnesota, but overall visibility should be good. 

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Forecast cloud cover at 12 a.m. Friday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Pivotal Weather

Weekend system tracks mainly south but some snow showers possible

The developing storm system we’ve been watching for the weekend looks to affect areas mainly to the south and southeast with a swath of snowfall from Des Moines, Iowa, to Madison, Wis.

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Forecast precipitation 7 a.m. Saturday through 1 p.m. Sunday
NOAA, via Pivotal Weather

We’ll still see a broad trough that will bring at least some snow showers to eastern Minnesota but the best chances for accumulations will likely be just southeastern Minnesota into parts of southwestern Wisconsin.

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Forecast snowfall from four different computer model scenarios
NOAA, via Pivotal Weather

Overall, we remain very mild into next week with the possibility of 50 degree temperatures again in southern Minnesota by mid to late week.