Rain & snow shield wrapping up nicely in Red River Valley & NW MN today on northwest side of deepening low. Lightning & thunder reported on front edge of rain shield near Park Rapids and Bemidji...that indicates strong updrafts capable of producing "thundersnow" with heavy snowfall rates of 1" to 2"+ per hour today in NW MN as cold air works in from the west.
Look for heaviest snowfall rates in Red River Valley & NW MN through 6pm tonight. Grand Forks NWS already reports 3" in Grand Forks and snowing briskly as of 7 am.
0700 AM HEAVY SNOW GRAND FORKS 10/04/2012 M3.0 INCH GRAND FORKS ND OFFICIAL NWS OBS
-Grand Forks radar loop
-Grand Forks NWS updates
-Latest snowfall totals here
Winter Storm Warnings for Red River Valley & NW MN
6" to 12"+ snow totals according to fairly reliable NAM model output
Blizzard? Winds gusting 40 to 50 mph could create blizzard & "whiteout" conditions Thursday
Updated Thursday language from the Grand Forks NWS:
Major Early Season Snow Storm Will Impact Region
Snow will be heavy at times today, and north winds will increase and gust to 45 mph or even higher at times. This may produce near blizzard conditions when strong winds combine with heavy falling snow. Snow accumulations from 6 to 12 inches are expected across the northern Red River Valley into Northwestern Minnesota by tonight. The heaviest snowfall will occur near the International border in Minnesota, where a foot or more is possible. This early season snow storm will produce hazardous travel. Stay tuned to the latest statements on this dangerous early season snow storm.
UND Med School webcam in Grand Forks
1 month early 1st 1" snowfall comes in early November on average in NW MN -details below
5am Cold front reached metro - temps falling through 50s into 40s by late Thursday
Winter 2012-'13: 1st major winter storm comes early for Red River Valley & NW MN
"So it begins."
The season's 1st major winter storm is pounding eastern North Dakota, the Red River Valley, and northwest Minnesota today. By the time it winds down Friday, a wind whipped coating of 6" to 12"+ will fall in some areas.
A rapidly deepening low pressure storm will track from Sioux Falls to St. Cloud by Thursday morning, to International Falls by lunchtime Thursday. That track favors heavy snow in the Red River Valley region.
Precipitation type & Timing:
Rain changes to snow overnight into early Thursday as cold air feeds in from Canada behind the low. Snowfall rates will be heavy- up to 1" to 2" per hour Thursday morning and midday in NW MN.
The NAM model is the most aggressive and lays down a band of 6" to 12"+ over the RRV including Grand Forks. , Northwest Minnesota's Kittson County (Hallock & Karlstad) is in the snow "bull's eye" where the NAM suggests as much as 12" to 16" snowfall.
These totals may be on the high side....but they are possible given the intense deepening of the system. If the cold air arrives in time, many locations in and around the Red River Valley will see a foot of snow by Friday morning.
Wind: Blizzard to whiteout conditions possible:
I am very concerned about the rapid onset of potentially blizzard like conditions with this system Thursday. Winds will ramp up to between 20 and 40mph, with gusts to near 50mph possible by Midday.
Heavy snow and driving winds may create near "whiteout" conditions.
Early start: Snow arrives about 1 month early
This snow will fall much closer to early season October snowfall records than to "average." The earliest 1" of snowfall on record in Grand Forks is October 2, 1950. The average 1st inch is November 15th!
Here are the details from the Grand Forks NWS.
Notable early season snows in the Red River Valley and Devils Lake Basin include the October 2 1950 snowstorm and the October 7 and 8 snowstorm of 1985. Western North Dakota has seen heavy snows in mid to late September.
Below is a table of the earliest one inch observed snow fall based on the 1940 to 2010 period of record. While this is not a comprehensive list it is designed to give an idea as to when the earliest 1 inch of snow has fallen. Due to the variability of weather from year to year and between any given location, the first inch of snow can be more than two months later than a neighboring site. The average first inch snowfall is based on the 1981 to 2010 climatology. Please note that by "measurable" snow we are speaking of 1 inch or more having been reported at the official observation location.
This early season winter storm is coming a full month earlier than average. This early snow storm seems to fit with the pattern I hinted at two weeks ago in an earlier post.
Stay tuned for updates as the snow flies!
Posted at 6:49 PM on October 4, 2012
by Paul Huttner
Slop storm - several inches to over 1 foot of wet sloppy snow & rain mix in Red River Valley & northwest Minnesota.
The storm dumped a general area of 3" to 7" with some totals over a foot....a cool 14" in Roseau County in Northwest Minnesota.
Details from the Grand Forks NWS.
Snow Totals From Early Season Snow Event
An early season snow event produced significant snow amounts for northeast North Dakota into northwest Minnesota for early October. The heaviest snow fell in Roseau county where around a foot of heavy wet snow has been reported as of 3 pm Thursday October 4. This heavy wet snow has also produced numerous power outages across this area.
These snow amounts appear to be record amounts for this early in the season for many areas. The previous record snowfall for October 4 or earlier at the NWS in Grand Forks was 2 inches on October 2, 1950. The NWS at Grand Forks reported 3.5 inches of snow with this storm on October 4, 2012. While records from around the area indicate that the October 2, 1950 storm produced about 2-5 inches around the region with localized higher amounts, with Leeds, ND receiving 7.0 inches on October 2, 1950, and Hallock 4.5 inches.
HALLOCK (KITTSON CO.) 4 INCHES
KARSLSTAD (KITTSON CO.) 6 INCHES
2W BADGER (ROSEAU CO.) 12 INCHES
10NNW BADGER (ROSEAU CO.) 14 INCHES
ROSEAU (ROSEAU CO.) 7 INCHES
STEPHEN (MARSHALL CO.) 5 INCHES
MIDDLE RIVER (MARSHALL CO.) 8 INCHES (VARIABLE 4-8)
GRYGLA (MARSHALL CO.) 3 INCHES
THIEF RIVER FALLS 4 INCHES (VARIABLE 3-6)
RED LAKE FALLS 4 INCHES
(RED LAKE CO.)
3S ANGUS (POLK CO.) 8 INCHES (VARIABLE 4-8)
3SE CROOKSTON (POLK CO.) 6 INCHES
ADA (NORMAN CO.) 4 INCHES (VARIABLE 3-4)
MOORHEAD (CLAY CO.) 1.4 INCHES (AS OF 7AM)
-Latest snow totals here
Definition of a "slop storm:"
Take one part rain, two parts heavy wet snow, and throw in temps above freezeng and warm ground underneath and what do you get?
A world class slop storm.
Temps just above freezing meant a mix of rain and heavy wet snow that downed some branches in northwest Minnesota & the Red River Valley Thursday.
The good news?
A big swath of 1"+ rainfall & sloppy snow made for a pretty effective "fire extinguisher" in northwest Minnesota Thursday. The "peat bog" originated fires that burn in the ground are not out...but at least the landscape is wet. Talk about effective (if temporary) fire suppression.
Frosty weekend aheadseason's 1st frost for metro inner core
As cold air pours into Minnesota through the weekend, clearing skies and lighter wind will lead to the season's 1st frost in the inner metro core both Saturday and Sunday AM.
Cover it or lose it this weekend!