Geminid meteor shower peaks this week

The Geminid meteor shower, one of the most spectacular annual meteor showers, is going to be at its peak over the next several days, and Meteorologist Shawn Cable says that weather conditions will be perfect for viewing. Here are some tips for a great experience:

Find a Dark Location: Light pollution greatly diminishes the visibility of meteors. Choose a spot far away from city lights, ideally in a rural or wilderness area. The darker the sky, the more meteors you’ll be able to see.

Know When to Watch: The Geminid meteor shower typically peaks around mid-December. This year, the peak will be December 13 and 14; however, Geminids will be active through December 24. The shower is usually most active after midnight and before about 4am.

Look Toward the Northeast: Geminids appear to radiate from a point near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini, which is located in the northeastern part of the sky (here in the Northern Hemisphere) during the time of the shower’s peak in December. If you can, it’s best to lie down and look straight up, allowing your peripheral vision to catch meteors streaking across the sky.

Allow Your Eyes to Adjust to the Dark: It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adapt to the darkness. During this time, avoid looking at your phone or any other light source, as this can reduce your night vision. If you must use your phone, make the screen as dim as you can.

Be Patient and Dress Warmly: Meteor watching can require a lot of patience. Not every minute will have a meteor streaking across the sky, and it can be a cold activity, especially in December. Dress warmly, bring a blanket or a comfortable chair, and perhaps some hot beverages to keep you cozy while you watch.

Remember, meteor showers are natural events, and their visibility can be affected by weather and other environmental factors. Check the weather forecast and be prepared for changes.

A slightly warmer, low-key week ahead

After a couple of cold and breezy days, we are headed into a calm, slightly warmer weather pattern that will carry us through the upcoming week and into the weekend. Tuesday will start cold, but temperatures will climb into the low 30s by late afternoon. Low 40s will be possible by Wednesday. We are tracking a potential system that could produce some light rain and snow showers this weekend, but as of right now, it is not a major concern.

The rest of this afternoon will be partly cloudy and a bit chilly with highs in the low 20s. Tonight will be a cold one as temps drop into the single digits. The wind will be from the west at only around 5 to 15 mph, but that will be enough to put the wind chill around or just below zero through the Tuesday morning commute. Be sure to bundle up the kids when you send them out to the bus stop on Tuesday morning.

A warm front moving in from the Dakotas will cause temperatures to climb over the next couple of days. Tuesday will be partly cloudy and just slightly warmer with high temps in the upper 20s to low 30s in the Mankato/North Mankato area. Further west, especially west of US Highway 71, it will be warmer with highs reaching the upper 30s to near 40 degrees. On Wednesday, the warm air will spread across the entire region, bringing plenty of sunshine and a high near 40 degrees in Mankato. Low to mid 40s will be possible across far southwestern Minnesota.

We will remain dry with plenty of sunshine and temperatures hovering around average – which is now in the upper 30s – through the rest of the week into the weekend. As I mentioned earlier, we are watching a potential system that could bring scattered light rain or snow showers by Saturday night into Sunday. It’s still early, and as of now, that system does not look terribly impressive. But it is definitely something we will be watching throughout the week. Other than a chance of scattered light rain or snow showers, Saturday and Sunday will be partly cloudy with highs in the mid to upper 30s.

Winter storm update

Here are the latest warnings and advisories. Snow will start across far southeastern South Dakota by mid to late afternoon and develop north to I-90 across eastern South Dakota and southern Minnesota by 6pm ish and continue further north into this evening. We’re looking at about 4 to 7 inches along a line from Sioux Falls to Mankato to the southern edge of the Twin Cities. Amounts will be heavier to the south. As of now, I’m thinking around 4 to 6 inches Sioux Falls, 8 to 12 inches in the Sioux City, Yankton, Vermillion area, 5 to 7 in the Mankato area. There will be a sharp cutoff to the north, So if this system drifts any further south those numbers could be lower. If it drifts north, those numbers could be higher. But as of now, The system has been trending just slightly south. The snow will come in a relatively short time frame, so when it is snowing it will come down heavily. That will cause problems with visibility and roads will quickly become snow covered. Wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph will be possible to cross far southwestern Minnesota, far northwestern Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.