Round #2 of our 3 round Thanksgiving week weather siege is underway.
A low pressure system zipping rapidly through Minnesota today is brining a mixed bag of freezing rain and snow to Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Roads are slick again with falling precip.
Once again a shallow layer of above freezing air has worked into the metro and southeast Minnesota. That means that the metro is seeing a mix of freezing rain and snow. As colder air eases in this afternoon, any precip should trend toward all snow in the metro by later in the day, before it ends tonight.
Snow totals should be on the lighter side in the metro, with heavier snows northwest. Here's th brief cut.
Twin Cities: Wintery mix. Freezing rain and snow. Snowfall around 1" or less.
Southeast Minnesota: Mostly freezing drizzle, untreated roads and walks will be icy. Freezing rain advisory.
Central, northwest & northeern Minnesota: (Including Fargo, Detroit Lakes, Willmar, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Duluth.) Snow today with 2" to 4" in most areas.
The system should pull out this evening leading to a mostly dry day Tuesday.
Round #3: Iffy Thanksgiving storm.
There are still plenty of forecast questions surrounding a potential mid-week storm system for Minnesota. I'd love to tell you today how much snow will fall in the metro Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, but anyone who says they can put a number on that forecast yet is playing fast and loose with the weather facts.
Here's what we know...and what we don't know at this point.
What we (probably) know:
-Tuesday will likely be the best (pre-Thanksgiving) travel day this week.
-A strong low pressure system will wind up and head for Minnesota Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day
-The system will likely bring two distinct shots of precipitation...one Wednesday and one Thanksgiving Day.
-Colder air will follow the system Thursday and Friday, and temps will moderate Saturday and Sunday.
What we don't know:
There are still some huge "ifs" with Wednesday's weather maker.
-It looks like a wedge of warm air will surge north ahead of the storm Wednesday. This may come far enough north to change precip to freezing rain or just plain rain from the metro southeast Wednesday. We could potentially have another icing event with the first round of precip Wednesday from the metro south. If that happens snowfall amounts will be reduced accordingly.
There will be a better chance for all snow in the northern half of Minnesota.
-The system may develop a huge "dry slot" Wednesday night into Thursday. This could mean a wedge of dry air wraps into the system and shuts down precip for a few hours Wednesday night into early Thursday. If that happens, again, snowfall amounts for the metro could be reduced accordingly.
-The system may stretch out and track farther north. Some of the model runs are suggesting a more northward track by Thursday. If that happens, and wrap around snowfall on the system's back side may be focused in the northern half of Minnesota. That may mean the metro would see occasional snow showers Thanksgiving Day, and heavier snowfall totals would trend into northern Minnesota.
-The eventual magnitude of the cold air behind the system is still in question for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. It is going to turn colder, but the duration of the cold snap should be brief...with temps moderating toward 30 by Saturday and into the 30s Sunday.
-There are signs of potential snowfall Monday on the back side of the Thanksgiving weekend. Stay tuned for that one.
Bottom line...the Thanksgiving system is still uncertain at this time for track, thermal profile and precip type in the southern half of Minnesota. It looks more likely that the northern half of Minnesota could se the steadier heavier snowfall with this system.
Watch the slick roads and walkways today...and stay tuned for updates on Wednesday's system as successive model runs try to work out the kinks in the forecast.
Posted at 6:50 PM on November 22, 2010
by Paul Huttner
Filed under: Snow
What would the biggest travel week of the year be without a series of big winter storms?
A band of heavy snow blasted Eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota Monday. Fargo & Moorhead got whacked with 10"+, and totals well over 6" ran from the Red River Valley into International Falls. Orr picked up 8+" with Monday's storm. Travel will remain very tough in these areas into Tuesday morning.
There are still several questions surrounding a winter storm this week, but there are also a few things I think are coming into focus. Let's walk through the big travel week's weather and try to give you what useful information I can as you plan holiday travel.
What we think we know: (Likely scenarios...80%+ confidence)
-Tuesday will be the best travel weather day of the week in most of the Upper Midwest. If you can travel Tuesday...do it. Expect a mix of sun and clouds...mostly dry weather and temps in the 20s.
-Wednesday may be the worst travel day of the week, especially PM. A mixed bag of rain, freezing rain and snow may fall in the southern half of Minnesota (including the metro) with all snow likely in the northern half of Minnesota. Snow totals could be heavy with potentially 6"+ up north. **There is the potential for a significant ice event for the metro and central Minnesota Wednesday.**
-There will be a potent low pressure system moving through Wednesday and Thursday. The track, timing and temperature profile are subject to change so stay tuned for forecast changes as we head through the week.
-Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday will be windy and much colder! Highs may not climb out of the teens in much of Minnesota with blowing snow and below zero wind chills.
There are still some major questions reagrding storm #3 this week.
-It appears the storm have a significant "dry slot" in Minnesota Wednesday night into early Thanksgiving Day. This may shut off or reduce precip for several hours...trimming potential snow amounts.
-Snow totals: It looks like the main shot of precip will come on the front side of the storm Wednesday. It should be mostly snow from St. Cloud north. It COULD be a mixed bag of freezing rain and snow in the metro, and potentially mostly rain to the south. If Wednesday's precip in the metro falls mostly as freezing rain...that will make for icy travel but reduce snow amounts accordingly.
It is possible that the Twin Cities may escape heavy snowfall with this storm, and see mostly ice or even rain instead.
The snowfall bull's eye with this storm appears to aimed at the northern half of Minnesota...where 6"+ snowfall totals are possible Wednesday into Thanksgiving Day.
-Expect the best travel Tuesday, Friday and Saturday this week. Expect the worst travel Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day.
-Travel will generally be better south and east (Madison, Chicago)...and generally be worse north and west. (Fargo, Brainerd, Iron Range & Duluth)
Stay tuned for more model runs and hopefully some more specific snow (and ice!) forecast totals Tuesday.