March 12, 1990: The temperature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hits a record-setting 69 degrees.
Springing Forward Into a Plowable Sunday Snow
Up is down. Left is right. It rained on Christmas Day and now, a little more than a week before the spring equinox, we'll see plowable snow. A late-season sucker-punch of winter isn't unusual for March, when all 4 seasons are conveniently packaged into one manic month. Then again Old Man
Winter never leaves willingly. He's like the clueless uncle who doesn't know when it's time to say goodbye.
It'll be like learning to drive on snow all over again. The last the metro area picked up a lousy inch was back on January 25. Really. Today's clipper will spread snow into town by afternoon; with air temperatures in the mid-20s even freeways will become snow covered. I'm still thinking 2-5 inches, with heaviest amounts south of the Minnesota River. Give or take a foot.
This same swirl of energy and moisture will fortify a coastal storm capable of a foot or more of snow from New York City to Boston on Tuesday.
A high sun angle melts most of our snow by Thursday. 40s return by late week; maybe 50s a week from Monday.
Chirping birds and green lawns are about 2-3 weeks away. Really!
European Guidance. The ECMWF solution is in line with NOAA models, showing a 2-5" range across the Twin Cities metro, maybe an inch from Brainerd to Duluth. Travel conditions will get progressively worse south and west of MSP this afternoon and tonight. Map: WeatherBell.
NAM Solution. NOAA's 12 KM NAM is consistent with guidance from ECMWF and GFS, also keeping the heaviest amounts just south and west of the Twin Cities. With air temperatures in the low to mid 20s even freeways will become snow-covered, especially after dark this evening. Leave more time to get around later today: Snowfall prediction: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.
Blizzard Watch New York City and Long Island to Boston. Much of coastal New England is expecting blizzard conditions by Tuesday (sustained winds over 35 mph with visibility under 1/4 mile in falling/blowing snow). Travel may come to a standstill from late Monday into Wednesday midday.
European Model Shifts Heaviest Snow Bands East. The 12z Saturday run of ECMWF pushes the most extreme snows from D.C. to New Jersey and Cape Cod, with significant amounts for Philadelphia and New York City. We'll have to see if this eastward nudge is a fluke or a true trend in model runs. Source: WeatherBell.
GFS Guidance. NOAA's GFS model prints out a 1-2 foot bulls-eye from near Washington D.C. and Baltimore to Philadelphia, another smear of extreme snows near Boston. I keep asking myself what can go wrong. A storm track closer to the coast could mean a period of rain/ice mixing with heavy snow, which would keep final amounts down. But there's now little doubt that much of the Northeast will see the biggest blast of winter snow and wind of the season within 48 hours.
Tornado Count. These numbers are from the Minnesota State Climate Office, not NOAA SPC. For the record "average" number of tornadoes, statewide, since 1950 is 36.
How to Clear a Path Through 60 Feet of Snow, Japanese Style. I can't help but feel a little jealous, although some of the ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada range in California may be telling similar snowy tales. Here's an excerpt from Atlas Obscura: "...The height of the canyon’s snow walls can reach a staggering 66 feet. Using another New York City analogy, that would leave your average five-story East Village walkup apartment building buried head to toe in snow. “The amount of snow that falls here is just exceptional,” says Yoshihide Tanikawa, Vice President of the Toyama Prefectural Road Public Corporation, which is in charge of snow plowing across many parts of Toyama Prefecture, including the Snow Canyon. The reason behind the tremendous snowfall is a confluence of geography and meteorology. “Toyama is on the coast with an elevation of zero,” explains Tanikawa, and just 20 miles from the ocean is Mt. Tateyama. “So the altitude rises from sea-level to 3,000 meters [9,843 feet] in a very short distance...”
Photo credit: "The towering snow walls of Tateyama." Pietro Zanarini/CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: " David Kent Star-Telegram.
Illustration credit: "
MONDAY: Slow, icy start. Flurries taper off. Winds: NE 10-15. High: 26
TUESDAY: Bright sun, light winds. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 5. High: 28
WEDNESDAY: High pressure bubble: blue sky. Winds: S 3-8. Wake-up: 9. High: 33
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, more March-like. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 19. High: near 40
FRIDAY: Unsettled, few rain showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 29. High: 43
SATURDAY: Intervals of sun, pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 27. High: 47
File photo: Barry Wilmore, NASA ISS.