Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rain Today - A Slushy (Icy) Inch Possible New Year's Eve (over a foot far north/west)

Midday Thursday Storm Update

* Rain today for the metro, try to get your travel out of the way by this evening, especially if you want to drive into northern or western MN. (by the way, this would have been 3-5" of snow had it been 3-4 degrees colder).

* Brief lull tonight as Storm # 1 tracks to the east of Minnesota.

* Second (stronger) storm arrives tomorrow, all snow for northern/central/western MN, but an icy mix for the Twin Cities, sleet, freezing rain, all ending as an inch or so of icy snow Friday night.

* Latest guidance hinting that the "dry tongue", a surge of dry, desert air from the southwest, will keep amounts down across much of eastern and southeastern MN - heaviest snow bands set up 75-200 miles north/west of the storm track, which may be very close to MSP late tomorrow.

* Travel conditions will get worse as the day goes on tomorrow (as temperatures fall) and as you drive north/west, away from the MSP metro area.

Expected (Friday) Snowfall Amounts:

MSP Metro: 1" of ice (sleet/freezing rain), then 1" of snow Friday night.

St. Cloud: about an inch of slush this evening, another 1-3" possible New Year's Eve.

Brainerd: 5-8" of snow possible.

Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls and Fargo/Moorhead: 10-15" snowfall amounts are possible Friday and Friday night with treacherous travel due to gusty winds and low visibility. Near blizzard-conditions are possible late tomorrow up north.

Rochester: Coating of snow.

Huge Snowfall Variation Predicted. That bright red over Alexandria and Detroit Lakes is 12-16" snow. Even if the models are off, not sure how much of west central and northwestern MN sees anything less than 10-12". Even the Brainerd area may pick up 5-8" of snow, closer to 1-3" St. Cloud, around 1" of snow (and sleet!) New Year's Eve in the Twin Cities metro.

Round 1. I know it's a bit odd staring out a rain-splattered window the day before New Year's Eve, but the atmosphere will stay warm enough aloft for mostly-rain into the afternoon hours, possibly ending as a little slushy snow this evening (with little accumulation - mostly wet roads). Had this all been snow? 2-4" would have fallen today across central and southern MN. Yes, this will make the snow a bit crunchy when everything freezes up again tomorrow and New Year's Day.

Dueling Storm Tracks. Today's storm passes just south of MSP, circulating enough warm (Gulf) air into Minnesota for mostly rain. Tomorrow's storm approaches from the Texas Panhandle, pulling enough warm air north for an extended period of sleet, possibly more freezing rain, all ending as an inch or two of snow Friday night. Snow, on top of a layer of ice? Lovely - and just in time for a few hundred thousand Minnesotans to get home from their New Year's Eve parties. Somehow that just doesn't sound very promising...

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