Winter storm watches & warnings for northern Minnesota this weekend
Sunday's system tracking even further north
3" - 6"+ best chance for Grand Forks, Bemidji, Iron Range cities, International Falls, Ely and North Shore.
4" to 9" snowfall from Thursday's clipper from South Dakota to Chicago (Just clipped far southwest Minnesota)
Tuesday & Wednesday next snow chance for Minnesota
Northern Minnesota: Winter Storm this weekend
The northward progression of the forecast models continues this weekend.
At least we have a storm to talk about, and this one is taking aim at the northern third of Minnesota.
Winter storm watches and warnings are flying, and snowfall should peak Sunday as the system moves through.
It looks like most of the accumulating snow will fall along and north of a Fargo-Brainerd-Duluth line. The best chance for 3" to 6"+ will be north of that....and there may be some 8"+ totals in the BWCA and the high country above the North Shore near Grand Marais.
It's a good news/bad news scenario for southern Minnesota and the metro this weekend. The northward shift in the storm track means little to no snow accumulation in southern Minnesota.
The good news? Travel conditions will be much better than expected earlier in the week.
The bad news? We realy need some additional snowfall. The extra moisture would have been available to help recharge river & lakes through runoff.
Maybe next time.
Unreliable forecast models?
It's been a tough week for weather forecasters, and shifting forecast models have been nearly useless at times.
Then there's the ever northward shift in the model tracks for Sunday's storm. That took the snowfall "bull's eye" from the metro all the way to the BWCA as the week progressed.
Last winter both the "Domebuster" (17.1") and the Presidents' Day Storm (13.8") we're well tracked by the models. We were able to give plenty of lead time...and track the systems fairly accurately several days in advance. The modles did a farily good (even great) job of handling the 5th and 15th biggest snowfall events in Twin Cities history!
This winter forecast models have been unreliable, with storm tracks shifting over 100 miles just before potential snowfall events.
It's not just that the tracks are changing this winter, we expect some of that. It's the way they are changing that seems especially random and more unpredictable than usual. It makes me wonder if this strange winter is so out of whack that the assumed model physics just can't deal with the unusual atmospheric realities this winter.
Next chance Tuesday?
So now we cast a leery eye toward the GFS, which is advertising another potential rain/snow system for next Tuesday.
Art this point it's anybody's guess how/where/if/what type of precip will fall. At least there is the notion of a storm...and it may bring some more much needed rain and or snow to drought plagued Minnesota.
Posted at 2:56 PM on February 24, 2012
by Mark Seeley
With potential for significant precipitation over the final four days of February, the string of six consecutive drier than normal months statewide (Aug '11 to Jan '12) is likely to come to an end. This change in weather pattern is desperately need and will be welcomed in most places. Precipitation deficits since last August have accumulated significantly and range from 6 to 9 inches less than normal in many areas.
It is interesting to note that the threat of a winter storm next Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb 28-29) may bring record-setting precipitation. How do we know that already? Leap Day (Feb 29) climate record values for Minnesota are quite meager. At MSP the record precipitation value for Leap Day is only 0.09 inches (2004), while the record snowfall is only 0.7 inches (1948). Similarly for Rochester the Leap Day records are 0.14 inches (2004) and 1.0 inches of snow (1916), while at Duluth Airport they are only 0.05 inches (2008) and 1.2 inches of snow (1972), respectively. So it will be interesting to see how many station precipitation and snowfall records around the state are eclipsed on Leap Day next week. Stay tuned.
BTW: The string of consecutive warmer than normal months will remain in tact with February marking month number 8, quite a long stretch of warmer than normal weather, especially after the string of colder than normal months that started out 2011.