6am snow mainly south of metro with some accumulation and slick/icy roads
Coating expected in metro
1" to 2" possible south of metro and southern Minnesota by noon Tuesday
Jet stream snakes closer to Minnesota next few days
Several snow chances in the next week
A rare snowy morning commute south of metro:
Commuters have been lucky this season. We've had mostly dry, snow & ice free roads this winter. That will change Tuesday morning, at least south of the metro.
It may not be a snow blitz by Minnesota standards, but 1" to 2" of snow overnight from Mankato to Rochester and falling temps around 10 degrees will lead to icy conditions for your drive into work Tuesday morning. Remember road chemicals don't work as well when temps fall below about 15-20 degrees. Take it easy, this could be one of the tougher commutes in recent memory.
Jet Stream nearby + Cold + Moisture = growing snow chances:
The outbreak of cold air means the jet stream has shifted south. During the next week it will snake closer to Minnesota. As it does, a series of rapidly moving weather systems will tap moisture and deal us several snow chances.
It's too early and chaotic to be totally accurate about specific timing and totals, but here's my best early estimate at this point.
Tuesday AM: Coating metro; 1" to 2" south
Wednesday PM: Dusting
Thursday night Friday morning: Another 1"-2"+ potential?
Saturday: Another couple of inches?
Next Tuesday: Significant snow chance?
We'll work out details on timing and totals as the week wears on, but overall it looks snowier the next week to 10 days. We may nickel and dime our way to several inches of snow by next Tuesday. Snow lovers rejoice?
Stay tuned, but more importantly, stay safe on your Tuesday morning commute!
Extreme Cold Watch issued for North Dakota and northwest Minnesota
-30 to -45 wind chills in North Dakota by morning
-25 to -36 actual air temp in Manitoba & Saskatchewan this morning!
-20 to -25 below in northern Minnesota by Thursday morning
Near 0 in the metro overnight tonight
-6 GFS model forecast for the metro Thursday morning (January 19th)
January 18th latest sub-zero temp on record at MSP (2002)
January 19th, 21st, 27th, February 1st, & 2nd all potential sub-zero lows in the metro according to latest GFS run
Major snowfall potential next Tuesday?
Snowy near miss:
The metro got off relatively lucky this morning as the bulk of accumulating snow slid just south in the overnight hours.
A light coating of snow was still enough to slick up streets and freeways around the metro.
The bulk of accumulating snow slid south from Mankato to Waseca and Rochester, where a slippery 1" to 2" fell.
Cold posied to attack:
The season's coldest air is poised in Canada and ready to attack Minnesota over the next 48 hours.
We'll get just a taste tonight as temps hover below zero in northern Minnesota. Then the mother lode of cold will surge south Thursday behind another micro clipper that could bring a snowy dusting Wednesday.
I've been following this air mass all the way from Alaska, where it's been -30 to -50 for weeks now. This seriously cold air has spilled over the Canadian Rockies, and it hit -36 in Saskatoon this morning! That sounds like a long way off on the road map...it's not very far on the weather maps.
The core of that bitter arctic air will nose into Minnesota Thursday morning.
The Grand Forks NWS is the first to trot out the new "Extreme Cold" watch products this morning. Remember? It's the new version of the "Wind Chill" watch & warning products.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CROOKSTON...EAST GRAND FORKS...
NEWFOLDEN...RED LAKE...THIEF RIVER FALLS...RED LAKE FALLS...
PARK RAPIDS...DETROIT LAKES...WOLF LAKE...BRECKENRIDGE...
FERGUS FALLS...NEW YORK MILLS...WADENA...ELBOW LAKE...CAVALIER...
412 AM CST TUE JAN 17 2012
...EXTREME COLD WATCH IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAND FORKS HAS ISSUED AN EXTREME
COLD WATCH...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH
* BITTERLY COLD TEMPERATURES WILL MOVE INTO THE AREA THROUGHOUT
WEDNESDAY NIGHT. WINDS WILL INCREASE INTO THE 10 TO 20 MPH RANGE
AND BRING DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS. WINDS WILL DECREASE AND
TEMPERATURES WILL BEGIN TO RECOVER BY MID DAY THURSDAY.
* TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO DROP DOWN INTO THE 15 TO 20 BELOW
RANGE OVERNIGHT. WIND CHILL VALUES MAY APPROACH THE 30 TO 45
* FROSTBITE CAN OCCUR WITHIN MINUTES.
The logic behind the change is that it's still dangerously cold even if there is no wind to speak of. Feel any warmer yet?
Record latest first sub zero temps at MSP this week!
If we make it to midnight at MSP Airport without hitting zero (and it may be close!) we'll at least tie the record for the latest sub-zero temp on record at MSP. If we are able to hold off zero tonight, it looks like a lock that we'll plunge below zero by Thursday morning in the metro.
That should set the record for the latest sub zero temps at MSP.
This will not be the first winter on record without sub-zero temps at MSP. Wishful thinking for some!
Snowy spells; with a major storm chance in sight
As the jest stream delivers cold air bursts in the next week, a series of weak to moderate low pressure systems will spin up over Minnesota. Each one will bring a chance of snow.
The most promising this week appears to be Friday, when the GFS is cranking out .18" of liquid which could translate into a couple inches of snow.
The bigger system looming on the horizon winds up and stalls right over Wisconsin next Tuesday according to the GFS. The GFS is spitting out .63" of liquid (starting as rain changing to snow?) with this system for MSP as of today. At a 10:1 snow:rain ratio you can do the math...it could be our biggest snow so far this winter.
It's too early to bet the farm on a system a week out, but at least there's hope for snow lovers!
Tornado season 2012; we have a winner!
Welcome to tornado season 2012!
The first tornado watch of 2012 was posted early Tuesday for parts of Missouri (including the St. Louis metro area) and Illinois. No tornadoes were sighted so far.
Arctic cold front sweeps south Wednesday
Snowy dusting possible with frontal passage
-6 forecast low temp in the metro Thursday morning
1st sub zero reading this winter?
January 18th - current latest sub zero on record at MSP
0 number of winters without a sub zero temperature in the metro
3" to 6" model snowfall range for southern Minnesota Friday
Weather forecasting is looking through the windshiled at what's ahead
Climate is what you see in the rearview mirror
"Information is not knowledge." - Albert Einstein
"Technology" is a fancy word for "tool."
The art of weather forecasting:
As we head into a potentially snowier weather pattern, I'm reminded and humbled that forecasting snowfall is among the most difficult forecasts a meteorologist has to make.
It's also one of may all time favorite things to do.
There's a lot of weather information out there. In fact there may be too much weather information, and not enough really good weather information.
There are at least 21 different forecast modles that are put into "ensembels." The reality? Most of them are wrong to some degree on precise forecasting of geographic coverage and snowfall totals.
Sometimes a forecaster is better off just using one or two modles, and knowing their biases.
Food for thought as we head into what passes for our snowy season in Minnesota this winter.
You can feel it in the air. This cold is slowly strengthening it's grip on Minnesota.
Ground? Frozen solid. Mild sunny day in the 40s and 50s? Not anytime soon.
This will be bone chilling, tree cracking cold. It's what we expect each winter in Minnesota.
Sub Zero Thursday:
All indications are we'll set a new record for the latest sub zero reading on record Thursday morning, January 19th, 2012.
It could be close Wednesday as temps make a run at zero overnight tonight and again before midnight Thursday.
Any chance that we'll see a winter without sub zero temps has left the building.
More from the Twin Cities NWS & MN Climate Working Group:
Will the Twin Cities Tie a Record for the Latest Below Zero Temperature?
"The likelihood of witnessing a below zero temperature across southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin during any given winter is very good indeed. There has NEVER been a winter where temperatures failed to drop below zero.
In the Twin Cities, the least number of below zero days was 2 back in the winter of 2001-2002. As of January 16th, the temperature has not dropped below zero at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport this winter. January 18th is the latest date during the winter season that the Twin Cities has experienced its first below zero temperature (back in 1889).
In addition, Mankato has yet to see a temperature below zero this winter as of January 16th. The least number of below zero days for a given winter in Mankato was 6 back in the winter of 1982-1983.
St Cloud, Albert Lea and Eau Claire have already seen below zero days this winter. As of January 16th, St. Cloud. Eau Claire, and Albert Lea have all dropped below zero 2 times.
A seasonable cold snap will affect the region through Saturday morning. This could bring below zero readings to portions of the area that haven't seen sub zero temperatures yet this season.
If the temperature at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport drops below zero Wednesday morning (January 18th), it will tie the latest sub zero reading on record (since 1871).
If not, a new "latest subzero reading" will likely be set the following morning (January 19th). Low temperatures are forecast to be close to zero at the airport Wednesday through Saturday morning."
Speaking of the Minnesota Climate Working Group, let me take a moment give thanks and appreciation for the excellent work they do. This dedicated group of professionals keeps the books for a vast variety of Minnesota weather records. The incredibly detailed data is valuable to so many sectors of our economy. You can count agriculture, commerce, tourism and of course media outlets among the many who benefit from their work.
Spend a few minutes (or hours!) sifting through this vast treasure trove of data. You'll see why it's one of my favorite resources for Updraft and our daily weather chats on MPR!
Here's a 72 hour heads up that we could see significant snow in southern Minnesota Friday.
Two of our primary forecast models (GFS and NAM) bring in a snow system Friday.
Early indications are the heaviest snow band could lay out south of the metro, but the metro could see plowable snow Friday if current model tracks hold.
The system appears to have the potential for dumping 3" to 6" of fresh snowfall. Now where that will fall is the big question. It's too early to pinpoint metro totals, but stay tuned as a more active snow pattern kicks into high gear.
You may want to fire up the snow blower, dig the shovel out of the back of the garage and stock up on driveway salt.
I'm just sayin'!