There are still patchy areas of snow and freezing drizzle falling around Minnesota today as the storms trailing upper level low pressure system gradually pulls out of Minnesota.
As the storm eases and we have a chance to dig out from another whopper, it is evident some records have fallen.
This was an "interesting" storm. (How could a 17" not be "interesting" right?)
Each storm is different. This one was slow getting going, and featured patchy snowfall coverage early on. There were bands of heavy snow (south metro) next to snow free areas (north metro). Pockets of dry air on the storms northern edge limited snowfall for several hours in north metro communities.
The storm also had huge east-west coverage, but was relatively narrow north to south. At one point Sunday it was snowing from Idaho to Pennsylvania! At the same time the snow/ice band was relatively narrow north to south, with precip bracketed between the south metro and northern Iowa.
Snowstorms are not homogeneous in terms of producing snowfall. There are large variations in snowfall over relatively small distances, often due to localized convective snowbursts or "thundersnow" within the storm. The "banded" structure of heavy snow can produce big ranges in snowfall over short distances.
As expected, this storm produced a big range in snowfall totals, even within the heaviest snow band and across the metro. The heaviest snowfall band set up from near Montevideo (10.5") eastward along the Minnesota River Valley (8"-10") into the south metro (10" to 17") to Eau Claire (9.5").
In the Twin Cities metro area, snowfall reports indicate the overall snowfall range appears to be 7" to 17".
Eden Prairie 17"
Forest Lake & Isanti 7"
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
759 AM CST MON FEB 21 2011
...SNOWFALL TOTALS FROM THE FEBRUARY 20TH-21ST WINTER STORM...
THE TOTALS BELOW ARE SEPARATED INTO SNOW...AND ICE AND SLEET
CATEGORIES...THEN BY AMOUNT...AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE
FINAL AMOUNT FOR EACH LOCATION.
SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT
INCHES LOCATION ST COUNTY TIME
------ ----------------------- -- -------------- -------
17.00 NW EDEN PRAIRIE MN HENNEPIN 1030 PM
16.00 BLOOMINGTON MN HENNEPIN 0713 AM
13.30 MENOMONIE WI DUNN 0729 AM
13.30 ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0610 A
12.50 ENE ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0530 AM
12.30 MINNEAPOLIS MN HENNEPIN 0600 AM
STORM TOTAL MEASURED AT THE MINNEAPOLIS/ST
PAUL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
12.00 3 N BLOOMER WI CHIPPEWA 0730 AM
12.00 BALDWIN WI ST. CROIX 0700 AM
12.00 CREDIT RIVER MN SCOTT 0553 AM
12.00 3 SW MINNEAPOLIS MN HENNEPIN 0900 PM
12.00 SHAKOPEE MN SCOTT 0854 PM
12.00 INVER GROVE HEIGHTS MN DAKOTA 0803 AM
11.80 RICHFIELD MN HENNEPIN 0915 PM
11.60 LAKEVILLE MN DAKOTA 1029 PM
11.50 2 W PRIOR LAKE MN SCOTT 0130 AM
11.20 CHANHASSEN MN CARVER 0600 AM
STORM TOTAL MEASURED AT THE NWS OFFICE.
11.00 MORGAN MN REDWOOD 0702 AM
11.00 RED WING MN GOODHUE 0701 AM
11.00 4 NNE MAPLEWOOD MN RAMSEY 0830 PM
10.60 MINNETONKA MN HENNEPIN 0539 AM
10.50 REDWOOD FALLS MN REDWOOD 0500 AM
10.50 EDINA MN HENNEPIN 0909 PM
10.30 COON RAPIDS MN ANOKA 0529 AM
10.00 ISANTI MN ISANTI 0626 AM
10.00 OSCEOLA WI POLK 0600 AM
10.00 HASTINGS MN DAKOTA 0600 AM
10.00 EAU CLAIRE WI EAU CLAIRE 0500 AM
10.00 2 N MENOMONIE WI DUNN 1100 PM
10.00 1 W CARVER MN CARVER 0900 PM
9.70 WACONIA MN CARVER 0803 AM
9.50 STILLWATER MN WASHINGTON 0936 PM
9.00 BARRON WI BARRON 0728 AM
9.00 LONSDALE MN RICE 0600 AM
9.00 GLENCOE MN MCLEOD 0151 AM
8.60 NEW HOPE MN HENNEPIN 0658 AM
8.60 7 S HILLMAN MN MORRISON 0653 AM
8.40 4 NE WOODBURY MN WASHINGTON 0800 PM
8.00 2 S ST FRANCIS MN ANOKA 0731 AM
8.00 DURAND WI PEPIN 0730 AM
8.00 RICE LAKE WI BARRON 0725 AM
8.00 ALBANY MN STEARNS 0700 AM
8.00 SAUK RAPIDS MN BENTON 0613 AM
8.00 LITCHFIELD MN MEEKER 0600 AM
8.00 CARLOS MN DOUGLAS 0552 AM
7.50 1 NNW COLD SPRING MN STEARNS 0600 AM
7.50 FOREST LAKE MN WASHINGTON 0554 AM
7.20 JIM FALLS WI CHIPPEWA 0610 AM
7.00 5 NE FOREST LAKE MN CHISAGO 0441 AM
6.80 CHAMPLIN MN HENNEPIN 1015 PM
6.50 CAMBRIDGE MN ISANTI 0743 AM
6.50 LITTLE FALLS MN MORRISON 0600 AM
6.50 BLAINE MN ANOKA 1001 PM
6.20 ST CLOUD MN STEARNS 0530 AM
6.00 RED WING MN GOODHUE 0600 AM
6.00 2 NNW WAITE PARK MN STEARNS 1057 PM
5.90 ST CLOUD MN STEARNS 0600 AM
5.90 MONTICELLO MN WRIGHT 1115 PM
5.50 ANDOVER MN ANOKA 0815 PM
5.10 CAMERON WI BARRON 0843 PM
4.20 BOWLUS MN MORRISON 1127 PM
4.00 KIMBALL MN STEARNS 0600 AM
3.50 LONG PRAIRIE MN TODD 0600 AM
2.50 WINTHROP MN SIBLEY 0858 PM
The north metro piled up less snow due to drier air early in the storm, as heavy snow bands set up over and pummeled the southern metro.
The latest snowfall summary from NWS is here.
Reports are still coming in, but it appears the storm set several snowfall records.
-Eden Prairie's 17" broke the all time daily state snowfall record for Minnesota for Feburary 20th. (Previoud record was Marshall with 16" on Feb 20th 1952.)
-MSP's 12.3" is the all time biggest February snowstorm on record at Twin Cities Aiport. (Previous was 10.7" Feb. 1-2, 2004)
-Season snowfall at MSP Airport so far is now a whopping 72.9"! This ranks as the 11th snowiest winter on record, and the 3rd snowiest to date so far.
Flood outlook: Storm adds moisture to snowpack
It looks like the storm added another .50" to 1.2" of water to snowpack across much of southern Minnesota, especially in the Minnesota River watershed. This will certainly not help improve the spring flood scenario.
It looks like the overall snow:water ratio for the storm ended up at around 14:1 in the metro.
MAX/MIN TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION TABLE FOR
CENTRAL AND SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
710 AM CST MON FEB 21 2011
VALUES REPRESENT HIGHS YESTERDAY...LOWS OVER THE LAST 12 HOURS
AND PRECIPITATION OVER THE LAST 24 HOURS
location/max temp/min temp/precip/snowfall/snow depth
EAU : EAU CLAIRE WI : 28 / 21 / 0.86/ 10.0/ 17
MSP : MINNEAPOLIS MN : 27 / 23 / 0.89/ 12.3/ 14
STC : ST CLOUD MN : 27 / 20 / 0.55/ 5.9/ 12
CLSM5: CARLOS MN : DH0554/ M / M / 0.41/ 8.0/ 16
MPXM5: CHANHASSEN WFO : DH0554/ 26 / 21 / 0.88/ 11.2/ 11
FORM5: FOREST LAKE MN : DH0700/ 30 / 6 / 0.69/ 7.5/ 9
HSTM5: HASTINGS L/D MN : DH0600/ 25 / 21 / 1.10/ 10.0/ 17
KIMM5: KIMBALL MN : DH0554/ 25 / 18 / 1.03/ 4.0/ 12
LCHM5: LITCHFIELD MN : DHM / M / M / 0.89/ 8.0/ M
LTFM5: LITTLE FALLS MN : DHM / M / M / 0.32/ 6.5/ 15
LNGM5: LONG PRAIRIE MN : DH0600/ 22 / 13 / 0.29/ 3.5/ 12
LSAM5: LWR ST ANTHONY MN : DH0600/ M / M / 0.87/ M/ M
MGNM5: MORGAN MN : DH0554/ M / M / 1.20/ 11.0/ 19
RDWM5: RED WING L/D MN : DH0600/ 28 / 24 / 0.80/ 6.0/ M
REWM5: REDWOOD FALLS MN : DH0500/ 24 / 19 / 0.94/ 10.5/ 24
SCSM5: ST CLOUD ST MN : DH0530/ M / M / 0.57/ 6.2/ 12
The weather over the next 2-4 weeks is still the primary wild card in determining how severe spring flooding is. Major to record flooding is still likely per the NWS spring flood outlook.
Posted at 1:22 PM on February 21, 2011
by Craig Edwards
Here is a great example of the challenges of pinpointing snow accumulations. When the snow is blowing and you mix in very strong dynamics that produce updrafts violent enough to trigger lightning and thunder you get a dramatic variability in snowfall measurements.
For instance, at the weather lab in Eden Praire I measured twevle inches. Yet another report from Eden Priarie was as much as a foot and a half.
Lots of moisture has been laid downed in the Minnesota River Valley. Hydrologists will soon say all bets are off on how high the rivers will rise in the next month or so.
Posted at 3:57 PM on February 21, 2011
by Craig Edwards
It would appear that the temporary pause of winter last week was just that, a pause. The longer range models are suggesting that we should anticipate a continuation of below normal temperatures and increasing chances for precipitation.
I was sifting through the models for the coming week and eye-balling the potential for more snow as we head towards Friday. Currently the track of the next precipitation producing system is favoring a southerly path through Iowa and Illinois. As my snow plow buddy told me last evening, you said that about this weekends storm. That's why weather is a twenty-four hour a day business and meteorologists are revising the forecasts.
Overall, once the confidence level on the path of this latest storm increased, forecasters called the snowfall amounts quite accurately. Timing was off slightly. We actually caught a break with the snow falling on the weekend.
Yesterdays accumulation of 11.8 inches at the Twin Cities International Airport was a record snowfall for February 20th. The water content of 0.85 inches was also a record.
This evening's snow eventually runs out of gas, but not before another inch or two, especially south and east of the Twin Cities. Travel with caution. Even the main roadways will be slick in spots.
Here's NOAA's outlook for temperatures the first week of March. Odds strongly favor below normal temperatures. Normal temperatures this time of year are highs in the lower ro middle thirties and lows in the teens. This outlook is confidence of colder temperatures. Colors do not magnify the departures from normal.
Posted at 5:03 PM on February 21, 2011
by Craig Edwards
Filed under: Winter
A steady snowfall increased in intensity during the afternoon accumulating an additional two to three inches in east central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. So far today, Anoka picked up more than three inches of fresh snow. About two inches of snow fell at Chanhassen and Eden Prairie.
The seasonal snowfall total for the Twin Cities International Airport is now more than 74 inches. My first year in the Twin Cities we accumulated 84.1 inches in the winter of 1991/92. Fifty inches of that seasonal snowfall fell by December 1, 1991.
Travel with caution this evening.