Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Plowable Snow South Of The Metro Wednesday Into Thursday - A Few Slushy Inches In The Twin Cities

Midwest Snowstorm To Bring 6-12" Of Snow Across Southern Minnesota

Watches and Warnings As Of Tuesday Evening. National Weather Service offices, including the one in the Twin Cities, upgraded parts of the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning (in pink) Tuesday afternoon where the confidence was highest that at least 6-12" of snow could fall Wednesday into Thursday. The Twin Cities NWS office kept the Winter Storm Watch (blue) for areas from Redwood Falls to Twin Cities metro due to some models keeping a chance of 6"+ creeping that far north.

Future radar every three hours from 7 AM Wednesday through 1 PM Thursday. Graphic: AerisWeather.

Timing Out The Snow. While some light rain or snow is possible over southern Minnesota Wednesday morning, the snow will ramp up in the late morning/afternoon hours across the Twin Cities lasting through Wednesday Night with a few inches possible. It currently appears the heaviest will stay south of the metro - more on totals in a moment. The snow quickly pushes out Thursday morning and we should see mostly sunny skies return during the day Thursday.

Potential Snow Totals. The Monday night models threw a lot of people for a loop, as most of the main ones moved the potential of 6"+ closer to the Twin Cities. However, some of the more trusted computer models in the Tuesday morning run pushed the heaviest snow totals back to our south. There are still a few models trying to bring heavier snow into the metro as of Tuesday evening, but I'm not sure I buy into them just yet - we need to see where the precipitation sets up heading into tomorrow morning. Right now the forecast is for 1-4" of snow across the Twin Cities metro - with the greatest chance of 3-4" across the south metro. It is still snow, so chances are high that it will likely slow traffic a bit for the Wednesday evening commute and potentially Thursday morning, but currently not the half a foot that was possible in the Monday night model runs.

"Heart Attack Snow". We are expecting what does fall over the next couple days to be a heavy, wet snow - the type that takes a bit more effort to remove from sidewalks and driveways. That can put a strain on your heart and cause health problem. Make sure to take it easy removing the snow that does fall.

Top March Snows. While we are certainly not expecting this much snow to fall in the metro, the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service put out this graphic showing the top five daily March snowfall totals in the Twin Cities. The top daily snow? 16.7" back on March 4th of 1985.

Panic Optional - Ankle Deep in Slush
By: Paul Douglas

Watches, warnings and breathless bromides of BREAKING NEWS! An alien invasion in Blaine? An imminent volcanic eruption in Willmar? Nope, just a candy-coating of slush.

I have discovered, the hard way, that it's best to be conservative with snow amounts. If the models predict 6 inches cut it in half and you'll (usually) be closer to the mark. Because snow storms, given a choice, prefer to avoid the Twin Cities.

Weather models are more useless than usual; NOAA guidance hints at plowable amounts, but ECMWF keeps the heavy snow bands south of the metro. I expect a couple slushy inches but the most hype-worthy amounts (over 6 inches) should pass south of MSP.

We're on the northern edge of the storm; a 50-mile shift in its track could mean the difference between an inch - or 4 inches. Not the end of the world, just a reassuring reminder that it can snow in March - in Minnesota.

Skies clear Thursday; showers Saturday give way to cool sun on Sunday. I see another run of 50s the middle of next week with rain.

Take a deep breath. No volcanoes or aliens. It's just snow. It'll melt.

Extended Forecast for Minneapolis

WEDNESDAY: Wet snow, 1-3" at MSP. High 36. Low 25. Chance of Precipitation: 80%. Winds: NE 15-30 mph.
THURSDAY: Skies clear, snow gradually melts. High 41. Low 29. Chance of Precipitation: 10%. Wind: NW 7-12 mph.
FRIDAY: Clouds and winds increase. High 46. Low 37. Chance of Precipitation: 30%. Wind: S 10-20 mph.
SATURDAY: Few showers, wet roads. High 42. Low 30. Chance of Precipitation: 60%. Wind: NW 10-15 mph.
SUNDAY: Sunnier, nicer day of the weekend. High 45. Low 32. Chance of Precipitation: 10%. Wind: NW 5-10 mph.
MONDAY: Mostly cloudy, risk of a shower. High 46. Low 33. Chance of Precipitation: 30%. Wind: SE 5-10 mph.
TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, feels like spring. High 55. Low 44. Chance of Precipitation: 10%. Wind: SE 10-15 mph.
This Day in Weather History
March 23rd
1966: A snowstorm brings a foot of snow to southern Minnesota.
Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
March 23rd
Average High: 45F (Record: 83F set in 1910)
Average Low: 27F (Record: -4F set in 1965)
Average Precipitation: 0.07" (Record: 1.18 in 1966)
Average Snowfall: 0.3" (Record: 11.6" in 1966)
Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
March 23rd
Sunrise: 7:10 AM
Sunset: 7:30 PM
*Length Of Day: 12 hours, 20 minutes and 31 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3mins & 9secs

*Next Sunrise That Is Before 7 AM: March 29th (6:58 am)
*Next Sunset That Is After 8 PM: April 16th (8:01 pm)

Great Lakes Commercial Shipping Season Begins In Duluth. Shortly after 4 AM Tuesday morning, the Edwin H. Gott left Duluth Harbor, kicking off the shipping season in the port city. For those waiting for the first inbound boats, you won't have to wait long. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority says that two boats, the Stewart J. Cort and the Burns Harbor, are expected to arrive Saturday.

You can watch boats come and go from Duluth Harbor on two webcams that the Lake Superior Marine Museum has (which is where the above image came from, courtesy of NWS Duluth for posting it to their twitter feed).

Wednesday: World Meteorological Day. Wednesday is World Meteorological Day, commemorating the day the World Meteorological Organization was established back in 1950. Every year they focus on a theme - this year's theme, tied to climate change, is "Hotter, Drier, Wetter. Face the Future." Read more from the WMO.

National Outlook

The threats from the low ejecting onto the Plains will be two-fold as we head into Wednesday and Thursday. We already talked about the first threat - the snow across the northern U.S. - but the second will be in the warm sector with severe weather. We'll get to that threat in just a moment. Back out west we'll watch another wave of moisture move onshore in the Pacific Northwest late Wednesday Night. As we reach the end of the forecast period in our loop (Friday evening) a clipper system will be diving south out of Canada bringing the potential of some rain and snow to parts of the northern Rockies and upper Midwest to begin the weekend. Parts of northern Minnesota could pick up an inch or two of snow in association with that clipper.

Severe Risk Wednesday. Graphic: AerisWeather

The threat of severe storms Wednesday exists from parts of southern Iowa and northern Illinois south into Texas. Large hail, damaging wind and a tornado or two is possible from these storms, particularly in the yellow highlighted area from south-central Missouri into northeast Texas.

Severe Risk Thursday. Graphic: AerisWeather

The severe weather risk will shift off to the east on Thursday, from southern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The main threat on Thursday will be damaging winds.

Thanks for checking in and have a great Wednesday! Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!
- D.J. Kayser

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