* Dense fog into Thursday may drop visibility close to zero at times over southeastern MN, including MSP metro area.
* Rain today for the Twin Cities may end as a little slush this evening, but most roads will be wet much of today.
* Today will be the better travel day across most of Minnesota - many roads across central and southern MN just wet and slushy. I expect snow-covered roads across far western MN, where 3-5" may fall today.
* Icy mix for central Minnesota today, mostly snow for far western MN, where 3-5" may accumulate today.
* Second storm arrives Friday, with the heaviest amounts over western MN (more of a dry, powdery snow prone to blowing/drifting and low visibilities). I could still envision near-blizzard conditions for much of western MN and the Red River Valley during the PM hours on New Year's Eve.
* Twin Cities on the edge of a "plowable" snowfall Friday. Icy mix (freezing rain/sleet) changes to snow by afternoon and evening, potential for 2-4", best chance of 3-4" western metro. Travel conditions will get worse as the day goes on tomorrow, as temperatures drop, visibility lowers and winds increase.
1). Colder temperatures: 20s metro, teens and single digits far western Minnesota. Snow will accumulate faster, the chemical mix used by MnDOT doesn't work nearly as well when it's that cold.
2). More wind. Winds will reach 20-30 mph across central and western MN, not quite blizzard criteria, but you can expect low visibility tomorrow.
3). Icy mix. I'm concerned that today's wet/slush roads will become icy as temperatures fall through the 20s, then we'll have a few inches of snow on top of the ice. A 1-2 punch, which will make for very unpleasant conditions on area highways.
4). The later in the day you drive tomorrow, the worse conditions will be on Minnesota's roads. If you can leave today you'll thank yourself down the road. Trust me, I'm a weatherman.
1-2" Sleet Friday Afternoon? The latest Skew-T analysis of what the atmosphere SHOULD look like over the next 84 hours has me concerned about the potential for moderate to heavy sleet (ice pellets) during Friday afternoon, changing over to mostly snow Friday evening/night. I wouldn't be surprised to see 1-2" of sleet - not as dangerous as freezing rain/glaze ice, but with temperatures in the mid/upper 20s I could envision a thin layer of ice on many highway surfaces, followed by 1-2" sleet, topped off with an inch or so of snow. Translation: icy mess PM hours tomorrow.
* One surge of wet snow is likely across western/central/northern Minnesota this afternoon (while staying mostly rain in the Twin Cities metro area). A second surge of snow arrives Friday, best chance afternoon/nighttime hours.
Between the 2 separate storms here is how much snow I'm expecting:
Twin Cities: 2-4" (most of that coming PM hours Friday, best chance of 3-4" far west metro)
St. Cloud: 3-5" (one shot coming Thursday PM, another surge of snow arrives Friday).
Alexandria: 8-11" (3-5" tomorrow, another 4-5" possible New Year's Eve, when winds will be stronger, temperatures colder and visibility lower).
Brainerd Lakes Area: 5-8" (3-4" Thursday PM hours, another 3-4" Friday).
Mankato: 3-4" (almost all of that coming on New Year's Eve).
Detroit Lakes Area: 8-12" (4-6" Thursday, another 4-6" on Friday).
Bemidji: 12-14" (4-6" today, another 8-10" possible Friday).
Fargo/Moorhead Area: 8-12" (4-6" Thursday, another 4-6" Friday).
Grand Forks/Crookston Area: 12-16" (3-6" slushy snow today, another 6-9" of light, fluffy, powdery snow Friday, prone to blowing/drifting).
Duluth: 3-6" (inch or two of slushy snow tomorrow, mix likely. Another 2-4" on Friday).
Rochester: 1-2" (coming Friday PM and nightttime hours).
Sioux Falls, SD: 4-6" (inch or two of slushy snow today, another 3-4" Friday).
Northeast Blizzard From Space. Click here to see the U. of Wisconsin CIMSS enhanced infrared satellite loop showing the powerful storm that dumped 1-3 feet on much of New England last weekend. It moved slowly, tapping a huge fetch of moisture off the Atlantic, dumping countless BILLIONS of tons of snow on the northeast.
The United (Snow-Covered) States of America. At last report on 5 southern states were snow-free as of midweek. Click here to see the latest from NOAA's National Snow Analyses site.
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
THURSDAY NIGHT: Fog and rain tapering as a little wet snow - probably little accumulation in the metro area, but wet/slushy roads will become icy as temperatures fall into the 20s. Low: 25
FRIDAY NIGHT: Windy with snow tapering to flurries late. Treacherous travel conditions over much of northern/western with near white-out conditions possible north/west of Alexandria, Wadena and Bemidji, MN. Low: 3