By Paul Douglas
Keep your expectations low, that way you'll never be disappointed. Especially when it comes to snow. Wait, we muddle thru 3 weeks of numb, a streak of subzero nights and a parade of piddly clippers. When a big, moisture-laden storm finally approaches it's too warm for all snow? Old Man Winter is toying with us.
No major travel problems today; a little freezing drizzle may arrive by tonight. Temperatures aloft will be just warm enough for a rain-snow mix much of Sunday, possibly 1-3 inches of sloppy snow Sunday night. Just enough to amuse you on your Monday morning commute. No big deal. A surge of dry air (the "dreaded dry tongue") may cut off precipitation Sunday night. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect, but the best chance of significant snow will be over the Red River Valley and Dakotas.
Meanwhile New England is seeing a real blizzard; coastal winds gusting to 60. Like Sandy, this was a mash-up of two separate storms, mutating into a potent Nor'easter. Warmer Atlantic water may be fueling the storm.
According to climate scientist Kevin Trenberth sea surface temperatures off New England are running 1.5 to 2. 5 F. warmer than the 1981-2010 averages. Weather on steroids.
Todd's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
**WINTER STORM WATCH AM SUNDAY - PM MONDAY**
Saturday: Clouds thicken through the day. Wintry mix overnight. Winds: S 15mph. High: 35
Saturday Night: Rain/Snow mix continues. Low: 31.
Sunday: Rain/snow mix, turning to all snow later. A few inches possible late? High: 34.
MONDAY: Scattered snow showers. Low: 26. High: 29.
TUESDAY: Better travel day. Intervals of sun. Low: 12. High: 25.
WEDNESDAY: Sun and cloud mix. Low: 14. High: 30.
THURSDAY: Next clipper arrives. Light snow. Low: 19. High: 29.
FRIDAY: Some sun, turning colder. Low: 15. High: 22
**WINTER STORM WATCH**
A large chunk of the Upper Midwest has been put under WINTER WEATHER HEADLINES including BLIZZARD WATCHES. A fairly intense area of low pressure will blow into the Upper Mississippi Valley region by the weekend with strong winds and wintry precipitation. At this point, the heaviest snowfall looks to fall from portions of northwestern Nebraska to central/eastern South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and into central and northern Minnesota, where 6" to 10"+ of snow will be possible. Strong winds on the backside of the low will gust to near 45mph and create whiteout conditions across the Dakotas and far western Minnesota.
Probability of at Least 4" of Snow on SUNDAY
Again, at this point, it still appears that the heaviest will just miss the Twin Cities. The NWS probability of at least 4" of snow on SUNDAY are at 70% across central and northwestern MN.
Probability of at Least 8" of Snow on SUNDAY
Here's the NWS probability of at least 8" of snow on SUNDAY. Note there is still a small 70% near the SD/ND/MN border. The 10% does not fall in the Twin Cities.
Probability of at Least 12" of Snow on SUNDAY
The percent chance of at least 12" of snow on SUNDAY drops down to just 10% across northwestern MN.
Slop Storm for MSP??
To be honest, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty with weather models right now. Some have heaviest snow band across northwestern Minnesota, while some try to bring it through the northern Twin Cities metro. Here's a look at a few different weather models for the Twin Cities. I've circled the "MODEL AVERAGE" which suggests some shoveling potential. Keep in mind that it also appears there will be some sleet/rain/freezing rain possible. I think there will be a wide range of totals from the northern metro to the southern metro. Shoveling 6" may not be out of the question on the northwest side of town, while the southern side of town may not see much at all.Total precipitation (liquid) from the storm could be near 1" for some!
Here's the latest HPC 3 day precipitation forecst. Note several maximums there exceeding 1" - again from central Minnesota and southeast, snowfall amount could be cut down quite a bit due to warmer air wrapping into the system. That would change precipitation over to Rain/Freezing Rain and Sleet!
Historic Nor'Easter Continues...
Wild wind and snow surrounding the historic Nor'Easter of 2013 will begin to wind down through PM Saturday and Sunday. Post storm, there will be lots of cleanup, which will likely take days/weeks to remove nearly 2ft. to 3ft in places. Near hurricane force wind gusts and the shear quantity of snow will make for a number of power restorations that will likely be still ongoing through next week.
New England Closed Until Further Notice
A number of cities in the Northeast basically 'shut down' in advance of this storm. Ground and air travel halted Friday. The images below from Flightaware.com showed over 3,000 flight cancellations across the nation on Friday, most of those in the Northeast due to the massive storm!
A Storm of Historic Proportions... 2013?
This storm definitely has the potential to dump record snow amounts in quite a few areas. Here are the top 5 storm totals for Providence, RI and Boston, MA. Interestingly, the February 5th-7th, 1978 storm ranks as the all-time greatest snow storm in Providence, RI at 28.6". Boston, MA had it's 2nd largest snow storm during that storm at 27.1". This storm certainly has the potential to meet OR exceed some of the top 5 tallies listed below!
At 7AM CST, Boston Logan reported 21.8" which is good enough for the 6th largest storm in recorded history! accumulating snow is still expected through Saturday, so there is definitely potential to see a top 3 snow event here... stay tuned!
Boston Snow Stats Continued...
Here are some other Boston snow stats. Note the measly 9.3" seasonal snow total last winter!
This storm system will also have the capability of producing strong to severe thunderstorms across the south Saturday and possibly Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for parts of Texas on Sunday. Stay tuned for more.
Thanks for checking in, have a great weekend ahead!
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