The crazy weather year of 2014 just got crazier. A major Mega Blizzard rages into early Tuesday from the Dakotas into the Red River Valley and northwest Minnesota. The same system has produced the first tornadoes of the year in Minnesota, in March.
Minnesota's chaotic spring weather is here. And while Thursday looked more like winter in parts of Minnesota, this weekend may actually get you to finally believe that the calendar is ready to turn to April and restore your faith in the season formerly known as spring.
More snow is expected in northern Minnesota Friday and this weekend will feel more like winter than spring. But next weekend should bring higher temperatures.
Snow and mixed precip gathers west and north overnight. A light early morning mix may brush the Twin Cities, with the main event coming Tuesday late afternoon and especially Tuesday night.
March has been unusually quiet so far, but that's about to change in a big way. Winter storm watches and warnings are flying for much of central Minnesota for Tuesday, which means we may soon see scenes again like the one above.
Great Lakes water levels have approached record lows in recent years. The massive ice cover prevents wintertime evaporation. Deep winter snow pack fuels massive spring runoff, and boosts water levels in the Great Lakes. Both factors will contribute to higher water levels in 2014.
"We'll make a run at 50 today in the metro for the first time in nearly four months," writes Paul Huttner on Updraft. "A milder start and plenty of sun will give us a good shot. The deep snow cover will be the limiting factor to just how warm we can get. Most of Minnesota is still living on a glacier."
The Pacific air mass overhead is plenty mild enough to support temps well into the 50s today in southwest Minnesota, with 70s again today in western Iowa and Nebraska.
The heaviest snow -- up to 10 inches -- can be expected from southeast Minnesota, the eastern Twin Cities and into northwest Wisconsin. And by daybreak on Saturday morning, wind chills will be well below zero.
Thursday's late winter storm is looking like the real deal. There are still track issues to be resolved on Wednesday's model runs, but what looks nearly certain is that eastern Minnesota into Wisconsin will get a major snow blitz with ferocious winds.
Winter storm warnings are out ahead of the next wave of snow due in late tonight and into Monday morning rush hour. More later today, but expect a snow laden Monday morning commute after a pleasantly quiet winter Sunday.
Some indicators early in winter pointed to a potential for a warming trend as we move into February. It does look slightly less Nordic in the next 2 weeks, but I don't see any huge warm ups in sight, yet.
Expect a very difficult commute in the Twin Cities metro with heavy snow falling, poor visibility and snow covered roads Thursday morning. If you must travel, plan on at least double commute times Thursday morning.
The next few days will test our ability to adapt to rapidly changing temperatures. Bursts of light snow will sail overhead, and by the time Sunday evening rolls around you may be shoveling another 2 to 4 inches off your front walk. It's the death of a thousand snowy cut this winter.
This will be one of those classic "Chamber of Commerce" Minnesota winter weekends. It just doesn't get any better than this weekend when it come to great outdoor winter weather in Minnesota.
Get ready for some major ups and downs on your thermometer in the next week. There are indications that after our balmy thaw early next week, another bitterly cold Polar Vortex may take a swipe at the Upper Midwest.