The high quality snowflakes that accumulated on Sunday have already settled several inches. Chanhassen measured 13.5 inches on Dec. 9. By 6 a.m. today the snow depth was down to 8 inches.
Snow that accumulated in my yard on Sunday has settled about 4 inches from the 12.5 inches measured on Sunday evening.
How do you measure snow?
It's much easier when the snow falls with little wind as it did Sunday in the Metro. Observers are instructed to take about 10 spatial measurements and average them for a best-derived snowfall estimate. Official snowfall measurements are to be taken at six-hour intervals, beginning at 6 a.m. The total of the measurements is considered the daily snowfall or the snow storm total.
Water equivalent is collected in a gauge, as the one shown here.
During the winter season, the funnel and measuring tube are removed so the snowfall can collect in the 4-inch gauge. Once the snow has stopped, the observer takes the gauge indoors, melts the snow and pours the water into the measuring tube.
We are early into the meteorological winter, which began Dec. 1. But snowfalls can clobber us in late autumn, as we experienced in the Halloween Blizzard in 1991.
Snow lovers were cheated last winter. This recent dump of snow should be sufficient for cross country skiing and snowmobiling for some time. Here's a link from the
Minnesota DNR on tracking conditions on the recreational trails.
Look for another very chilly night. Temperatures will drop off quickly this evening over the snow cover with nearly calm winds. Rising temperatures are expected in the early morning hours.
Still tracking the potential snowmaker for the weekend. Models are tracking the next low pressure a little farther to the south. You'll recall the low pressure on Sunday traveled pretty much along the Iowa/Minnesota border.
The GFS model run from 6 a.m. CST paints this forecast of the surface low for Saturday evening. Masked by the precipitation, the low is in southeast Iowa. The heaviest precipitation, shown for this six-hour period, over southeast Wisconsin, may fall as a cold rain.
Our colleagues at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen present this nice graphic of the potential snow for Saturday.
In case you missed it, the low at the Twin Cities International Airport late last night was 2 degrees above. It was the coldest temperature recorded at MSP this season. Monday was the first day this month when the temperature average was below normal.