1). No major travel problems today. The sun may even peek through, the proverbial calm before the storm.
2). If you can take off first thing tomorrow (especially if you're driving south/east) you should be ok.
3). Conditions worsen (from west to east) Wednesday afternoon. Enough warm air may wrap into the storm for a period of ice/sleet before a changeover to snow by late afternoon.
4). There is a significant risk of blizzard conditions across parts of the metro between 3 pm and 9 pm tomorrow. Winds may reach 30-40 mph, a thin layer of ice under (rapidly) accumulating snow.
5). The latest guidance is hinting at 2-5" of snow for the metro (closer to 5" if we don't see as much sleet/rain as I'm expecting). Parts of central MN may pick up 4-8" with over 10-12" closer to Duluth.
6). Snow tapers to flurries Thanksgiving Day with little additional accumulation in the metro area. The big story by Thursday will be the cold - temperatures stuck in the teens with subzero wind chills. Lows may dip below zero Thursday night as the wind chill dips to -20 F. Think twice about traveling Thursday, especially after dark. Running out of gas or sliding into the ditch could be more than just a minor inconvenience - it could be life-threatening.
7). The sun should be out Friday, bitter cold but dry, suitable for shopping. Thank you Amazon.com.
8). I still don't see any post-Thanksgiving travel headaches - just a little light snow over far northern MN late Sunday, but no major accumulations of snow or ice after Thursday. Getting home should be a lot easier than getting to your destination late tomorrow.
Diagnosis: Blizzard Potential Wednesday PM Hours. The predicted "sounding" (atmospheric cross-section) 3 pm tomorrow is showing 70 mph winds within 2,000 feet of the surface. That could be a problem - southeast winds may reach sustained winds over 30-35 mph. at times - creating near white-out conditions for the drive home tomorrow. Have a Plan B - leave yourself PLENTY of extra time to reach your destination. I think you'll be OK morning hours, but after 2 pm all bets are off. It could be VERY rough out there with windblown sleet/freezing rain changing to heavy snow.
Tracking A Snow "Burst". This is a product from BUFKIT, an amazing NWS program that helps meteorologists determine the potential for snow/ice/rain. In this case we're looking at a time line (now is on the right - the graph reads from right to left - I know, a bit counter-intuitive). The area I've circled shows intense upward motion (and ripe conditions for dendritic ice crystals about 10,000 feet above the ground between noon and 8 pm tomorrow. That's why I'm thinking we may see a period of heavy ice (sleet and freezing rain) changing to heavy wet snow by the dinner hour. The timing is tricky, but I think the late PM hours tomorrow may be a real mess.
"Nuisance Snow." Officially a tenth of an inch of snow fell at MSP Monday (what meteorologists euphemistically refer to as a "coating"). Nearly half an inch of snow fell at St. Cloud (where there is 1" on the ground). Highs ranged from a chilly 17 at Alexandria to 23 in St Cloud, 31 in the Twin Cities and 34 at Eau Claire, WI.
Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
TUESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds, few flurries. Low: 17
Nuisance Snow Up North Late Sunday. I don't see any ticking time-bombs getting home next weekend, some sun on Saturday, clouds increasing Sunday as a weak storm approaches from the Denver area - maybe a period of very light snow over far northern MN late Sunday and Sunday night capable of an inch or so.