Here is a very busy graphic from the Chanhassen NWS office. Previously I posted a graphical forecast from Duluth.
Here's the deal. A major winter storm will hammer a large part of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan later tonight and all day Saturday.
We expect clouds to gather snowflakes this afternoon in the Dakotas. Snow will increase in coverage and intenity later this afternoon in western Minnesota. Snow begins in the Twin Cities after the rush hour. Heavy snow falls overnight and begins to taper in the west.
As the storm system strengthens tonight and Saturday morning winds will howl and temperatures will plummet. We should find ourselves in very difficult to perhaps nearly impossible travel on Saturday in a large part of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Pay heed to local authorities on travel advice on Saturday. Total snowfall accumulations on the average of six to twelve inches are likely from Willmar to the Twin Cities to Hayward.
Lake enhanced snowfall of greater than sixteen inches will be possible in Ashland and Superior.
Strong northwest winds will make it extremely challenging to measure the snow. Expect drifts several feet high by Saturday afternoon. Visibilities will be at or below a quarter mile at times.
What about Southeast MN? Thoughts? Worse than the Metro? Better?
Craig, what is the long-term outlook for December and January? Is this harsh weather expected to continue through the whole winter?
Once a pattern sets up for a season, it is very difficult to break down. I see more snow and hopefully moderating temperatures. Snow begets cold however as we have so little sunshine.
Southeast Minnesota is closer to the surface low and may not be so bad initially. But winds pick up on Saturday afternoon with blowing and drifting snow.
How often do forecasters check the computer models? Do they check them at the same time each day? I wanted to know when I should check back for the latest forecast.
Model runs occur after data ingested from radiosonde (weather balloons) launched at 5am and 5pm. Data is crunched by several models using different physics, layers and grid size.
High resolution models are run hourly giving us short term output. Thus you may see some meteorologists tossing out different snowfall totals throughout the day. Check for updates every two to three hours. Follow statements and warning information in text products from the local NWS, linked on the mpr.org weather site.