Forecast Update: Storm rolls in: 6″ to 12″ likely in metro

Update 1am:

First snow of the season accumulates on the weather lab deck!

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Preicp is likely to stay all snow in most of the metro…except the far east where it could still mix with rain and sleet at times Saturday.

Road conditions will be slick Saturday! Expcect slick roads…remember a winter storm warning is in effect!

Best bet at snow totals by Sunday night:

Possible Metro totals:

6″-12″ Waconia-Lake Minnetonka-Maple Grove-Rogers-Elk River-Anoka.

4″-8″ Prior Lake-Bloomington-Minneapolis-St. Paul-White-Bear Lake-Hugo.

2″ to 5″ Hastings- Cottage Grove-Hudson-Stillwater.

Possible Minnesota & Wisconsin totals:

6″-12″ Fairmont-Mankato-west metro-Hinckley-Duluth.

4″-8″ Owatonna-St. Paul-Grantsburg.

2″-5″ Rochester-Red Wing-Rice Lake.

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We still need to keep an eye on the potential for warm air wrapping into the system that COULD change snow over to rain in the metro Saturday. IF that could reduce amounts accordingly.

-Twin Cities NWS

-Twin Cities radar loop

-MNDOT traffic cams


Update 12:00am Saturday:

Storm Headlines:

-Rain snow mix moving into metro

-Radar “bright banding” indicates possible heavy snow band moving in

-MNDOT traffic cam confirms

-Late model runs support heavy snow event for metro

Check out the MNDOT traffic cam shot from I-35 and Co Rd. 60 south of the metro. Image shows heavier snow falling under doppler radar “bright band” moving into metro around midnight.


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Twin Cities NEXRAD shows “bright bands” moving into metro and Rochester.

These brighter colors on doppler usually indicate higher reflectivity associated with big wet snowflakes.

Model runs support heavy snow:

The late night model runs support the idea of heavy snow (6″ to 12″ totals) in the metro by late Sunday. The rain snow line appears to be setting up in the far east metro Saturday.

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Stay tuned for updates…and be safe and enjoy the snow!


Update: 5:40pm:

Storm Headlines:

-Winter storm warnings flying now on a Fairmont-Mankato-West Metro-Hinckley line.

-Rain and snow spreading north overnight.

-Latest computer runs cranking out 6″ to 12″ of heavy wet wind-whipped snow Saturday and Sunday in winter storm area.

-Rain snow line progged to set up in east metro Saturday…could reduce snow amounts in east metro.

-Big snowfall range across Twin Cites with this storm. 6″ to 12″ possible west metro…4″ to 8″ possible central… 2″ to 6″ possible east…all rain in much of Wisconsin.

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It’s on.

The season’s first major winter storm is winding up and moving into Minnesota. This is the time when we pull the trigger on making some snow call for winter storms. Like most Minnesota winter storms…this one still is not a slam dunk. The models have come into better agreement today….but a change in the rain snow line by 30 miles could mean the difference between mostly rain and a foot of heavy wet snow in the Twin Cities this weekend.

Here’s the scenario.

The track:

The forecast track for the surface low is ideal for heavy snow for the western Twin Cities and central Minnesota.

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The thermal profile for this storm sets up the “critical” 32-degree isothem in the lowest mile of the atmosphere right into the eastern metro for most of Saturday.

That should mean the infamous “rain/snow line” will wave over the east metro, and bring mixed and changeable precip. Expect rain/sleet/snow at times in the east metro Saturday…before enough cold air wraps in to change things over to all snow by Saturday night into Sunday morning.

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NAM critical 850 millibar chart (5,000 feet) shows freezing line over the east metro Saturday.


There may be enough “upward vertical velocity” with the storm to produce thundersnow in or close to the metro late Saturday into Sunday morning. Snowbursts can occur…with brief snowfall rates of 1″ to 2″+ per hour in thundersnow.

Expect rain/snow to move north into the metro between 9pm- midnight, and spread north overnight. Wind whipped snow should continue for much of the area Saturday…with all snow by Sunday.

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Metro “meteogram” cranking out 4″ to 8″ snowfall for Twin Cities Airport. Totals could be higher in west metro…lower in the east metro by late Sunday.

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Duluth meteogram cranking out potential 12″ snowfall totals.

As they say in hurricane statements…. all preparations should be rushed to completion tonight in Minnesota.

Get ready for a wintery blast this weekend!


Update 3:35pm:

Our first major winter storm of the season is winding up to the south tonight and moving north into Minnesota.

The latest model trends are coming together around a solution that puts heavy snow on a Fairmont-Mankato-Glencoe-Hutchinson-Annandale-Rogers line this weekend. On this track, the western metro (Waconia-Lake Minnetonka-Maple Grove-Elk River) may fall into the heavy snow band, which could produce 6″ to 12″ snowfall totals this weekend.

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It looks like the thermal profile of this system will set up the rain snow line in the east metro, where precip may change phase between rain, sleet and snow. It could be all rain in most of western Wisconsin.

Stay tuned…more on the way!


The morning and midday models runs are in, and it looks like a major winter storm is on the way for much of central Minnesota, possibly including the Twin Cities metro.

The model differences from yesterday seem to have (mostly) worked themselves out…and it looks like more snow than rain for most of Minnesota Saturday.

Winter Storm Watches have been posted for much of Minnesota for the possibility of heavy snow Saturday into Sunday.

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The models are cranking out as much as 2″ of liquid precipitation, and if that falls as all snow, it’s going to be a huge pile of wind whipped snowfall.

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NAM model cranking out 6″ to 12″ of heavy wet snow near the western metro this weekend.

Stay tuned for updates on MPR news 91.1FM this weekend, and watch Updraft for more details on the storm later today.

Bottom line: Get set for heavy snow tonight and Saturday into Sunday.