Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blizzard Warning South Metro (totals range from 12-16", heaviest amounts south metro)

Storm Headlines:

* Winter Storm Warning in effect, Blizzard Warnings south/west of MSP.

* Blizzard Warning area expanded to include south metro: Carver, Scott and Dakota counties under a blizzard warning through the evening hours.

* Moderate to heavy snow continues into the evening hours, tapering to flurries tonight.

* Heaviest snow bands setting up over the southern/eastern suburbs: best chance of picking up 16" or more of snow - 30 mph winds will carve out some 2-5 foot drifts. I'm pretty comfortable going 12-16" from Lakeville and Northfield to Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Hastings and Red Wing. But Elk River may see closer to 8-10" with 6-8" for Ham Lake, maybe 2-5" for far northern suburbs like Princeton and Cambridge. St. Cloud area: 2-5", no accumulating snow for Brainerd.

* Snow totals of 12-16" across much of the metro area by 9 pm tonight, closer to 4-8" for far northern suburbs. The steadiest/heaviest snow shuts off after 7 or 8 pm this evening.

* Going out on a limb: I think MSP will wind up with close to 16", making it one of the Top 10 Snowfalls for MSP. My hunnch is we'll come in #6 or #7 on the list; modern-day records dating back to 1891.

Most Snow Since 1991? Here are the top 6 snowfall amounts from a single storm. Not sure if we'll get to 16.7", but we may come close, certainly a Top 10 event. Data courtesy of the NWS and the MN State Climate Office.

* Close to blizzard criteria, especially outside the metro area. Sustained winds of 25-30 with gusts over 35 mph. will produce white-out conditions. I think the worst travel conditions will come just south of the Twin Cities - be very careful heading south on I-35, 55 and Highway 61.

* Dangerous wind chills tonight and Sunday - dipping to -30 F. at times. Significant threat of frostbite and hypothermia, a gradual drop in body temperature. Infants and the elderly are most susceptible.
Blizzard Warning Includes Portions Of The Metro Area. The NWS has expanded the area under a blizzard warning to include Waconia, Chaska, Shakopee, Prior Lake, Woodbury, Lakeville, Northfield and Red Wing. Conditions will get progressively worse the farther south you go. More details here.

Definitely "Plowable". Thanks to Tricia Frostad in Chanhassen for sending me a photo of the snowy scene outside her window. Snow is falling at the rate of an inch every 1-2 hours - even heavier bands setting up over the south metro of the Twin Cities.

Heaps And Piles Of Snow. Here is the latest (NAM/WRF) model prediction for snowfall amounts - the heaviest amounts predicted for the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities - as much as 18-20" for the Rochester area. Amounts drop off sharply north/west of MSP, St. Cloud may wind up with 3-6" of snow - virtually nothing for Brainerd, maybe an inch for Alexandria. Just south Willmar could easily pick up over a foot of snow.

Latest Model Guidance. The computer models are converging on a solution of 14-17" for much of the metro, the best chance of over 15" south metro.

Stubborn Snow Bands. The heaviest bands are setting up over the south metro - amounts drop off sharply north/west of St. Cloud and Alexandria. My hunch is that some of the southern and eastern suburbs of St. Paul and Minneapolis will wind up with somewhere between a foot and 18" - with 2-5 foot drifts. The latest Doppler Radar is here.

* Latest snowfall reports are here, courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Snow Blitz of '10. Here is the latest surface map, the intensifying storm tracking across central Iowa into southern Wisconsin - a perfect track for heavy snow setting up over the Twin Cities.

Getting Worse. Here is the latest Google traffic map for the metro area - I expect conditions to deteriorate as the day goes on (and winds increase).

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