The rain gauge at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport accumulated nearly a half-inch (0.49) of precipitation on Sunday. This is a record for Jan. 27, beating the old record of 0.42 inch set in 1916. The observer measured 3 inches of snow on Sunday at the airport.
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A dense, icy fog blanketed a large part of Minnesota with temperatures below the thawing point of 32 degrees this morning. Visibility was as low as a quarter-mile from Duluth through the Twin Cities to Albert Lea. Travel with caution. Visibility is expected to improve later this morning.
A sharp contrast in temperatures is seen on the map above, with highs as mild as the 60s in Illinois. Last night, around 10 p.m., a thunderstorm was reported to the west of Chicago at the Dupage County Airport.
A mixture of freezing rain/sleet and snow is expected to form in western Minnesota later today. This wintry mix should change to all snow tonight.
Travel will be very hazardous through the night in northern portions of Minnesota, where a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the potential for 4 to 8 inches of snow.
In the Twin Cities lighter amounts of snow are on tap for later tonight and Tuesday.
The upper Midwest is in the path of a blast of Arctic air on Wednesday.
Source:NOAA/College of Dupage
NAM forecast at approximately 5 thousand feet on Thursday at noon displaying the impressive onslaught of perhaps the coldest air mass of the season. Temperatures and wind field paint the icy cold quite nicely. In this case, bright red is extreme cold.
Below normal temperatures are expected through Saturday.
Heavy snow to fall over northern Minnesota tonight.
Dense fog and periods of drizzle, perhaps freezing drizzle, will hamper travel in much of the southern two-thirds of Minnesota and into Iowa and Wisconsin.
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As the Spirit of St. Louis Airport checks in with sunshine and 74 F this afternoon, we peer out the window and gaze at snow cover and a persistent fog. Yes, temperatures are in the middle 70s in portions of Missouri this afternoon, while in our neck of the woods, a wintry mix is expanding in eastern North Dakota and west central Minnesota.
Here is the developing snow that may be mixed with sleet and freezing rain this evening before changing to all snow overnight.
Screen capture regional radar 3:30 p.m. CST. Source: Weather Underground
As the precipitation develops through the evening it will spread into northern Minnesota depositing several inches overnight. A winter storm warning stretches from Detroit Lakes through Bemidji to International Falls into Tuesday morning.
Total snowfall in portions of northern Minnesota will range up to nine inches by 10 a.m. CST Tuesday.
NOAA's NCEP forecast of the most favored region to receive 8 or more inches of snow is outlined in green.
In the local Twin Cities Metro region, fog will thicken overnight and there will be periods of light drizzle, perhaps freezing in outlying ares. Be cautious when traveling later tonight and Tuesday morning.
On the heels of this mid-winter conundrum, a blast of arctic air will invade the upper Midwest on Tuesday night and Wednesday. Be prepared for bitter wind chill readings on Wednesday into Wednesday night.
Thursday and Friday mornings are likely to be well below zero over the state. The fresh snow cover over northern Minnesota is expected to enhance the overnight bone chilling cold.
One final note: There is a risk of severe thunderstorms well to our south on Tuesday in the much warmer air mass. The Storm Prediction Center paints this region outlined in red in a moderate risk.
A moderation appears to be shaping up as we reach the weekend.