Friday night's snowfall in the Red River Valley of the North was not particularly moisture laden. While snow accumulated up to seven inches in far northwest Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, the water content was on the order of a quarter inch or less. Grand Forks measured 1.8 inches of snow with only 0.05 inch of water equivalent.
They are still starved for moisture in northwest Minnesota. Much of the nation's midsection, extending into our neck of the woods, could use a nice midwinter snow storm.
Unfortunately the jet stream continues to travel west to east or from northwest to southeast; from Alberta, Canda to the Great Lakes. Such an upper level flow keeps the Gulf moisture confined well to our south.
The jet stream forecast from a GFS model valid at midnight Saturday indicates the source region of our cold air arriving over the weekend.
Both the NAM and the GFS models agree on a weak snow-producing system to streak from northwest to southeast on Wednesday. This Alberta Clipper, a swiftly moving kink in the jet stream, is likely to stir up some snow. Lacking a good source of moisture, Clippers typically deliver 1-3 inches of snow.
NAM precipitation for six-hour period ending at 6 p.m. CST. Source:NOAA/College of Dupage.
GFS model six-hour precipitation forecast valid at 6 p.m. CST presents a similar pattern of snowfall. Source:NOAA/College of Dupage
Forecaster confidence increases when models agree. This latest computer model run places the snow a little farther south than yesterday's model forecast. Stay tuned.
Chicago has so far dodged the winter of 2012-2013. You may be interested in learning more sbout the lack of snow in the Windy City.
From the NWS Chicago Office on Monday; Chicago has yet to have any meaningful cold or snow so far this winter, and it's beginning to approach the point where it's not just highly unusual, but actually record breaking.
Paul has been giving a head's up on the arctic invasion. We'll track this as the week progresses. But the medium range model is pretty aggressive on bringing frigid air down from Canada into the upper Midwest and the Great Lakes.
Let's see how this forecast for numbing cold pans out as we approach the weekend.
Posted at 3:44 PM on January 15, 2013
by Craig Edwards
Filed under: Winter 2012-13
Temperatures topped out in the lower 30s in portions of southern Minnesota this afternoon. Albert Lea reported 34 F at 4 p.m. CST. Bright sunshine aimed at the south facing slopes has melted and evaporated most of the snow in many places In the Twin Cities.
At the daybreak today, the official report for snow depth at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport was only a trace.
So far this winter season the Twin Cities is running about ten inches below normal for snowfall, accumulating only 16.8 inches since November 1st.
Matching up this eye in the sky picture you can see the confirmation of the fading snowpack in southern Minnesota as well as Wisconsin. It seems a long time since Madison, Wisconsin got hammered with more than 15 inches of snow in mid December.
In this morning's Updraft, I included the most recent status of the US Drought monitor. The story continues to be a concern for moisture in Minnesota, now extendng into western Wisconsin. Persistence of the jet stream from northwest to southeast has kept the moisture laden storms from the Gulf region from reaching this far north.
This afternoon's computer runs are now backing off on the moisture with the weak system embedded in the jet stream. While some light snow is expected later tonight and Wednesday, amounts will be generally an inch or less.
Temperatures are likely to drop off this evening and before holding steady and even rise later tonight. The normal minimum is in the single digits in central Minnesota for mid January, but we'll likely wake up to 30 F in the Twin Cities on Wednesday morning. Biting winds will usher in colder air Wednesday afternoon.
Looking ahead, we expect the jet stream to tilt more from north to south over central North America. Cold air has been building in Manitoba, Canada and it's the time of the year when it finds its way to Minnesota and the Great Lakes.
Sub zero readings are likely on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday morning, at least over northern and central Minnesota.
Periods of light snow may accompany the intrusions of increasingly colder air. A strong high pressure system settles over the Midwest early next week, creating ideal conditions for fridgid overnight low temperatures.