Friday, October 9, 2009

Saturday flurries... Sunday night snow?

Man O Man - what have we gotten our selves into? If the current weather pattern continues, this could be a LONG winter. We went from an extended summer in September to a chilling hint of winter in October. All or nothing seems to be the appropriate phrase when talking about our crazy, Minnesota weather in recent weeks. Though, when have you ever found our weather to fit the norm? First of the season flurries will likely be found statewide through early afternoon today, but another system sweeping up from the southwest will bring a fresh batch of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and combine with cold air already entrenched across the area to create a coating of white across central and northern Minnesota... at least that's what the latest weather models look like. Our focus lately has been on this morning with the first flurries/coating of the season, but this next system seems to have flown under proverbial radar. Take a look at the National Weather Services Weather Story image below:

Again, today's flurries early will come as a shock - you may double-take and rub your eyes a while if/when you see those first initial flakes, but Sunday night into Monday system is the one we'll have to watch. Here's a quick look at the weather maps for Sunday night/Monday (I'll explain):

The first image on the left show the precipitation type: Blue indicates snow. The image on the right show the 12 hour accumulated precipitation from 7am to 7pm Monday: Yellow and orange coloring indicates 0.40" to 0.50" with a bulls-eye near Duluth at 0.90". A general rule of thumb for snow forecasting is a 10 to 1 ratio meaning for every 1" of liquid there is 10" of snow. If it holds true in this case, there could be spots through northern Minnesota that see nearly 4" of snow by Monday evening. Things to consider: We would likely not see an all snow event; there would likely be periods of rain and snow during the daylight hours. Also, the ground is still quite mild, so most of the snow that falls would melt. I should also mention that, before we go jumping the gun on accumulating snow, we still have some time to pour over the ever changing weather models that are particularly finicky during spring and fall storms. Any deviation in a storm track can change the freezing line (rain/snow line) north or south by several miles. It's not all that cut and dry, but it sure makes for an interesting forecast and certainly makes my job more interesting. For now, let's just keep an eye on things, but be warned that certain areas of Minnesota by dinner-time Monday could be a little on the wintry side, which is well ahead of schedule.

Todd's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Saturday: Light snow in the morning, a coating to 1/2" possible. Windy with some partial afternoon clearing possible. Winds: West 10-20 (windchill: dipping into the 20s). High: 38

Tonight: Partly to mostly clear and cold. Hard freeze likely. Low: 25

Sunday: Sunny start, clouds increase during PM hours. High: 43

Sunday night: Another chance of snow, a little slush possible by Monday morning. Low: 30

Monday: Snow showers with light accumulations possible northwest. High: 44

Tuesday: Cool sunshine much of the day. High: 47

Wednesday: Clouds increase, a cold rain late in the day. High: 46

Thursday: Rain tapers (possibly mixed with wet snow north of Brainerd). High: 43

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