Monday Storm Arrives: Snow burst then wind
Our next weathermaker is lashing Minnesota with another blast of wintery weather on this Monday. The late Sunday night model runs and radar trends continue to support the notion of a heavy snowburst Monday morning, followed by increasing winds Monday afternoon and evening.
If any trends are emerging early this Monday AM, it may be to favor the lower end of my snowfall forecast range below.
Here are some quick headlines for our latest storm.
-A deepening low pressure system is coming together over Minnesota overnight. The system will bring a blast of snow, followed by high winds and blowing snow in open areas Monday.
-Blizzard Warnings are in effect today and include far west metro counties.
-Winter Weather Advisories include the Twin Cities metro.
-Monday morning's commute will feature falling snow - another challenging AM commute in the metro.
-Between 2" and 4" of snow is likely in the metro with this system
-Between 5" and 10" of snow is likely in northern Minnesota including Red River Valey, Bemidji, Brainerd, Iron Range, International Falls, Ely, North Shore & Duluth.
-Wind may be the biggest point of emphasis with this storm. Look for gusts of 40 to 50+ mph to cause blowing snow with blizzard conditions in open areas in western and central Minnesota by Monday afternoon.
-Could this be the last significant winter storm of the season in the metro?
In this Updraft update we'll check the storm track, the snow totals and the wind which will give us an old fashioned January blizzard...in March.
And a year ago today it was 80F in the metro.
Here's the latest "multimedia briefing" on the storm from the Twin Cities NWS.
Storm Track: Model "consensus?"
It looks like the forecast models may have finally reached consensus on the track of Monday's storm. The NAM, GFS, Euro and (finally) the Canadian GEM model all track a deepening surface low from near Aberdeen, SD to near Duluth Monday.
The northerly track falvors laying down the heaviest snows across the northern half of Minnesota.
The main "frontal band" of moderate to heavy snow should is moving through Minnesota early this Monday morning.
Look for the heaviest burst of snow with the frontal band between about 3 am and 9 am in the metro. Snow should taper off suddenly from west to east this morning on the systems back side. We may see some additonal wrap around snow later Monday PM, mainly north of the metro.
Unfortunately, the timing and intensity of the snow burst right before AM rush means yet another messy Monday AM commute.
Our initial impressions Friday suggested the heaviest snows would favor the northern half of Minnesota, and that still looks very likely.
All weather is local as they say, so how much snow is likely in your backyard with this system?
Northwest Minnesota should see the heaviest totals where 6" to 10" will fall.
Lake and terrain induced (orographic) snow bursts will enhance snow on the ridge above Lake Superior. That could produce some hefty snowfall totals on the ridge above the North Shore communities.
In southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities, most of the accumulating snow will come with the "frontal band" as it moves through early Monday AM. That will limit the duration of moderate to heavy to snowfall 3-6 hours, but snowfall should be intense enough (.50" to 1" per hour) during that time frame to produce 2" to 4" snow totals in the metro.
Because the storm is deepening as it moves east, the best chance for 4"+ should be in the northeast metro.
The main feature with the storm later Monday will be high winds. It only takes a few inches of fresh snow...and winds over 40 mph to generate a blizzard.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ALEXANDRIA...LONG PRAIRIE...MORRIS...
GAYLORD...CHASKA...SHAKOPEE...REDWOOD FALLS...NEW ULM...
ST. PETER...LE SUEUR...FARIBAULT...ST. JAMES...MANKATO...WASECA...
OWATONNA...FAIRMONT...BLUE EARTH...ALBERT LEA
827 PM CDT SUN MAR 17 2013
...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 1 AM
A BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 1 AM CDT
* WINDS/VISIBILITY: SUSTAINED 25 TO 35 MPH...WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH. VISIBILITY ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS...INCLUDING NEAR ZERO IN OPEN AREAS.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: 2 TO 4 INCHES.
* TIMING: SNOW WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE REGION TONIGHT AND TAPER OFF
LATE MONDAY MORNING. STRONG WINDS WILL THEN DEVELOP MONDAY
MORNING BEHIND A COLD FRONT AND LAST THROUGH MONDAY EVENING.
Look for northwest wind gusts to 40 mph + in open areas west of the metro Monday, and Blizzard Warnings are in effect for that reason.
Blowing snow, reduced visibilities and drifting over roadways will make for dicey travel by Monday afternoon.
The Good News: Last big winter storm of the season?
After Monday, the rest of the week looks quiet. Other than a few flurries, I don't see any more significant snowfall in sight this week...and maybe for the rest of the spring. I'm not making that a declarative statement yet...I think it will snow again, and we can still see snow in April. But the maps do look encouraging, and I'd say there's a better than 50% chance that this is our last significant snow storm ( combination of snow, wind & arctic cold) of the winter season.
Somewhat milder temps should arrive next week.
Bold Prediction: Spring will eventually arrive, the sun will shine and the snow will melt. It will get warmer in Minnesota in the next few weeks. And there will be sunny days, and baseball.
In the mean time, the early long range look out to April 1st and the Twins opening day at Target Field looks seasonably cool (40s?)...and potentially wet. Of course that forecast can... and probably will change.
Let's hope it changes for the better!
Posted at 9:05 AM on March 18, 2013
by Paul Huttner
Another Monday, another snowy commute. I count at least some snow or wintery mix on 8 of the past 10 Mondays in the metro. Talk about adding wintery insult to injury for Monday commuters.
Here's the latest as we track the snow...and the wind to follow this afternoon.
Back Edge of Snow:
We've had about 2" so far in many metro locations. Here's the 10am radar loop...witht he back edge of the snow now crawling east through the metro. Snow had ended in Minneapolis and the west metro. Look for snow to gradually taper off from west to east this morning.
-Latest Twin Cities radar loop
Here are the latest snow totals from Twin Cities NWS.
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
835 AM CDT MON MAR 18 2013
...LATEST SNOWFALL TOTALS FROM WINTER STORM TODAY...
SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT
INCHES LOCATION ST COUNTY TIME
------ ----------------------- -- -------------- -------
4.00 LONG PRAIRIE MN TODD 0600 AM
4.00 CARLOS MN DOUGLAS 0549 AM
3.50 SAUK RAPIDS MN BENTON 0715 AM
3.50 KIMBALL MN STEARNS 0600 AM
3.30 8 S HILLMAN MN MORRISON 0723 AM
3.30 ST CLOUD STATE UNIV MN STEARNS 0700 AM
3.20 ST CLOUD AIRPORT MN STEARNS 0650 AM
2.50 MILACA MN MILLE LACS 0730 AM
2.50 FARIBAULT MN RICE 0700 AM
2.40 1 W CARVER MN CARVER 0745 AM
2.00 EDEN PRAIRIE MN HENNEPIN 0813 AM
2.00 NEW PRAGUE MN SCOTT 0700 AM
2.00 WACONIA MN CARVER 0700 AM
1.90 4 E MANKATO MN BLUE EARTH 0700 AM
1.80 CHANHASSEN NWS MN CARVER 0700 AM
1.80 MINNEAPOLIS ST PAUL APT MN HENNEPIN 0645 AM
1.80 ALBERT LEA MN FREEBORN 0800 AM
1.60 HAMBURG MN CARVER 0800 AM
1.50 MANKATO MN BLUE EARTH 0645 AM
1.50 MINNEAPOLIS LWR ST ANTHO MN HENNEPIN 0600 AM
1.50 REDWOOD FALLS MN REDWOOD 0530 AM
1.30 CHASKA MN CARVER 0600 AM
1.10 ROBERTS WI ST. CROIX 0800 AM
0.80 3 E NEW ULM MN NICOLLET 0600 AM
Here's a map of early snowfall totals including some 6"+ totals from northern Minnesota.
After this morning snow shot, winds will pick up this afternoon. That's when the blowing and drifting snow kicks in.
The rest of the week looks quiet but cold.
Spring begins on Wednesday at 6:02am CDT with the Vernal Equinox.
Looks like the weather maps will not follow the calendar this year....take a look at the wintyer temps in the forecast for the 1st day of spring.
We'll probably see at least some snow this spring...but overall the maps look encouraging that this may be our last significant snow of winter in the metro and southern Minnesota. No guarantees...but the maps do look encouraging.
Weather fingers crossed.
Old Fashioned March
Welcome to an "old fashioned" Minnesota March.
This is how I remember March as a school kid.
Some of us still enjoy the late season snow.
But I can relate to many "snow weary" Minnesotans who must feel like Dana Carvey's "Grumpy Old Man" on SNL after a March like this.
(Warning: Humor in link above may be inappropriate for some.)
Our latest wintery blast of snow, wind and cold has many of us searching for our sense of humor in these chilly March days.
Forgive my brief digression, but here's my best take on our March 2013 version of "Minnesota's Grumpy Old Man."
'It was never 80 degrees on St. Paaatty's Day when I was a kid."
"The snow drifts were so big we had to walk through snow up to our chest on the walk home. The wind was bitter, and our face was frozen, and our socks were wet.
And we liked it!"
Well at least we didn't know any better.
But one thing was for sure. One day soon, the air would thaw and the strong spring sunshine would melt away the drifts...and we would splash in puddles once again as winter finally metlted away.
In thus Updraft we wrap up our latest March snow blitz, Look forward to "spring" and try and find some "silver linings" in the forecast.
This storm had all the elements of a "respectable" Minnesota winter storm.
The northerly storm track panned out. So did the forecast snowfall totals, winds and blizzard conditions. For once the storm behaved pretty much as expected, and the forecast models came together on a much needed consensus within 24-48 hours before the storm arrived.
Here's a look at some (preliminary) snowfall totals around Minnesota, which included a general 2" to 4" around the metro and some 5" to 10" totals up north.
Yes "astronomical" spring begins Wednesday at 6:02am CDT.
If only the weather maps could read the calendar.
An unseasonably cold northwest flow in the wake of our Monday storm will funnel unseasonably cold air in for most of this week.
There is certainly plenty of snow for winter lovers in Minnesota these days, especially up north.
Gordon Hommes is the trusty NWS coop weather observer just northwest of Two Harbors. I've had the pleasure of a cup of coffee, and to talk a little weather with Gordon in Two Harbors. I tweeted his report from Monday...with over 2 feet of snow on the ground now.
Let me just take a moment to say how much we as meteorologists appreciate the dedicated NWS coop observers like Gordon in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. These volunteers provide extremely valuable weather data every day...rain or shine. These critical observations fill in some big data gaps, and provide important "ground truth" to what we're seeing on radar and satellite during storm events like this week. Thanks to Gordon and all the NWS observers out there!
Here are some more impressive (NWS) snow depth reports for March 18th.
International Falls 28"
St. Cloud 17"
Eau Claire 14"
MSP Airport 8"
Looking at the latest snow depth analysis from NOHRSC, it looks like most of the northern half of Minnesota has well over 1 foot of snow on the ground...with 2-3 feet in some spots.
Searching for Spring:
Some good news?
The air mass should begin to modify a bit after Wednesday, and by this weekend there are signs we could see temps push toward the 30s. We'll see.
The longer range trends do seem to support temp moderation...a warm... up as we head toward April. Here's the latest CPC 8-14 day outlook, which suggests a better chance for more "Normal" temps by around April 1st which is 2 weeks away.
Average high by April 1st in the metro? 50F.
Hang in there!