Valentine's Day arrives with a fresh snow-frosted landscape.
Our overnight "Cupid Clipper" dumped some impressive snowfall totals in north of the north metro. The heavy wet snow was almost magical, and trees in the woodland are covered with a stunning frosting of fresh white. The beauty that is a "Minnesota winter" is on full display today.
In this edition of Updraft we tally the totals, and gauge the depth of the cold outbreak ahead. Will we dip below zero one more time this winter in the metro?
Is our snowy pattern a sign that our long "meteorological drought" may be easing at last?
7 separate snow events in Minnesota in the 1st 13 days of February
1.8" "official" snowfall total at MSP Airport with latest Clipper
1.5" at NWS Chanhassen
2" in Stillwater & Watertown
3" in Plymouth in the northwest metro
3.5" in St. Cloud
3.8" in Eau Claire
3" to 5" reported in Monticello north of the metro
Snowy pattern resumes next week?
Temps crash tonight into the weekend
Near 0F in the metro by Saturday AM
Our latest overnight Clipper was a productive one.
The upper level and surface center of spin or "vort max" tracked right over the Twin Cities metro...a little further south than the models indicated yesterday.
That put the "pivot point" right over the southern metro on radar overnight, and kept the northern half of the metro in snow for a couple of extra hours.
The result was some impressive heavy wet snow for the northern metro. Here are the early snow totals from Twin Cities NWS.
Valentine's Forecast: Warm hearts & cold hands tonight
A chilly northwest wind will have you and your sweetheart moving briskly to and fro tonight.
Our latest cold front is part of a remnant polar air mass that's been lingering in central Canada. Not as cold as what we saw in January, but you'll notice the chill through Saturday.
With fresh snow cover and the center of high pressure overhead, temps will fall below zero again in much of Minnesota. Metro suburbs may dip below zero Friday & Saturday AM...and MSP will hover near zero by Saturday AM.
Tipsy Turvy: Temp roller coaster ahead
We'll ride a bit of a temperature roller coaster in the next week, as winds shift from north to south and back again.
Late February's higher sun angle and two more hours of daylight since December means periodic thaws come easier now. But the overall pattern I'm looking at suggests winter is in no hurry to leave this year.
Flipping the switch: Wetter pattern may signal the end of "meteorological drought"
Earlier this week I talked about the different kinds of "drought."
Frozen soils mean there is no doubt that Minnesota's "Agricultural Drought" is with us until the ground thaws this spring. Any snow or rain cannot penetrate the frosty soils and icy top layers until the melt.
But our recent parade of snows is putting a dent in the "hydrologic drought" in parts of Minnesota. There is now 4" to 6"+ of water content (snow water equivalent) in the snow pack in western & northern Minnesota. Sunday's storm dumped a month's worth of snow & water between Alex & Fargo in west-central Minnesota. Additional storms will add to the snowpack before the big melt.
All that water will run into lake & rivers and help boost levels this spring.
But ironically, if we get enough additional snow...and a quick warm up with rain this spring on snowpack and frozen ground...we could be in the odd situation of having a "hydrologic flood" on top of an "agricultural drought."
One thing is for sure. With winter snowfall and moisture above normal in much of Minnesota, and 7 storms in the first 13 days of February, our "meteorological drought" is easing for now.
NOAA's CPC outlooks favor above average snow & rain right through spring.
Both the GFS & Euro modles suggest another potential winter storm for Minnesota next Thursday & Friday.
Let's hope so.
Now all we need is more snow to boost river & lakes, a nice slow warm up until the thaw so we don't flood, and much above average rainfall once the ground thaws to soak into parched soils.
Not too much to ask for... right?
Why, then, was the snow in the cities drier and fluffier?