Evening Update: Rain-snow line crawls east

Update 5:30pm:

Forecast still on track per discussions below. The rain will gradually change to snow from west to east tonight. I still think we’re looking at a changeover sweeping across the metro around midnight…maybe around 10pm far west metro to after midnight far east.

This is mostly a rain event for the greater Twin Cities metro. Most of the moisture will be gone by the time rain changes to snow overnight.

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Here are some rainfall totals as of 5:30pm.

Huttner Weather Lab in Deephaven .61″

Flying Cloud in Eden Prairie: .46″

Lakeville .43″

The rain snow line is creeping closer to the metro. Snow reported at Hutchinson.

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Sticking with snow totals for now. This will be a mostly rain event for the metro…with a little snow on the back side late tonight into Tuesday.

Tuesday AM rush may still be slick in the metro…and travel will be downright difficult as winds kick in in western and central Minnesota.

Here’s the latest thinking on snow totals…pretty much the same as this morning’s forecast.

Heaviest snow band: 6″+ on the high end. West central MN to north central MN. Includes Alexandria, Bemidji, Walker, east to Hinckley and near Duluth up to International Falls.

3″ to 6″ band from Willmar to St. Cloud to Mille Lacs.

1″ to 3″ range across the metro….maybe less east metro and south central Minnesota (Mankato, Owatonna, Northfield), just a coating. Best chance of 3″ in the west and northwest metro.

Mostly rain Rochester and western Wisconsin.

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NAM model keeps heaviest snow west and north of metro as expected.

Bottom line rain gradually changes to snow from west to east tonight…slick am rush Tuesday, especially west of the Twin Cities. Windy and much colder weather will follow Tuesday, with some blowing snow in open areas as temperatures fall into the teens and 20s!

More aafter the late model runs tonight.


Update 3:40pm:

First wave of precip delievering rain to metro and south central Minnesota, snow to the west.

As of late PM the rain snow line is roughly from: International Falls-west of Brainerd-west of Willmar-New Ulm-Jackson.

It is generally snowing west of that zone…and rain to the east.

Snow now in:


PIPESTONE SNOW 25 23 93 N15G24 29.57R VSB 1/2 WCI 12

WINDOM LGT SNOW 28 27 93 NW17 29.55R WCI 16


TRACY LGT SNOW 26 24 91 NW18G25 29.58R WCI 12

SLAYTON LGT SNOW 26 24 91 NW17 29.57S VSB 3/4 WCI 13

STAPLES SNOW 34 34 100 CALM 29.58S VSB 1/2

MORRIS LGT SNOW 25 21 86 NW17 29.61S WCI 11

FERGUS FALLS LGT SNOW 27 27 100 NW12 29.63S VSB 1 WCI 16

PARK RAPIDS SNOW 33 31 92 CALM 29.58F VSB 1/2

BEMIDJI SNOW 34 34 100 NE3 29.61S VSB 1/2

Transition zone here:

JACKSON RAIN 36 34 93 N3 29.52F

LITTLE FALLS MIX PCPN 34 32 93 E6 29.59R


All rain to the east:

ST PAUL LGT RAIN 38 36 92 E9 29.62R FOG

CRYSTAL LGT RAIN 38 36 92 E6 29.59R FOG

BLAINE RAIN 37 36 93 E7 29.60F

EDEN PRAIRIE RAIN 38 36 92 E8 29.57F FOG

LAKEVILLE RAIN 34 34 100 E6 29.57F VSB 3/4

SOUTH ST PAUL LGT RAIN 39 37 93 SE3 29.60S

LAKE ELMO RAIN 36 34 93 E5 29.61R

FARIBAULT RAIN 37 36 93 SE7 29.57F

OWATONNA RAIN 37 36 93 SE12 29.55F

WASECA LGT RAIN 36 32 87 SE9 29.56S


RED WING LGT RAIN 39 36 87 SE8 29.61S

STANTON LGT RAIN 40 37 89 E5 29.57F

DODGE CENTER RAIN 39 37 93 SE14 29.57F

WINONA RAIN 37 34 87 SE8 29.64F

AUSTIN LGT RAIN 37 37 100 SE13 29.55F

PRESTON LGT RAIN 40 37 91 SE8 29.61F

Forecast still looks on track as rain gradually changes to snow from west to east this evening and overnight.


(9am post)

Here we go again!

The next in our series of early season winter storms is winding up in the southern plains and moving north toward Minnesota today. Like the past two, this one will feature another round of heavy wet, wind driven snow somewhere in central Minnesota, with the Twin Cities Metro on the infamous “rain/snow line” again.

Latest Twin Cities radar loop

Right now I am leaning on the lighter side of snowfall totals for the Twin Cities Metro, (generally 1″ to 3″ Tuesday) but that could change with model runs later today and tonight.

Here’s the early look at the storm parameters and forecast model variables, and (hopefully) a practical look at what you can expect over the next 24-36 hours and beyond.

The warnings: Winter storm warnings are posted starting at 6pm this evening for most of western and central Minnesota, expanding into north central Minnesota. Winter weather advisories include the Twin Cities.

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The storm: A deep upper low pressure trough in the Rockies is moving east into the Midwest Tuesday. At the surface, low pressure is developing in the southern plains today, and will move north into Iowa tonight.

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The track: As usual, the surface low track is critical and will determine where the heavy snow band will lay out. Latest model trends track the surface low further west….from western Iowa Iowa tonight, through southeast Minnesota just southeast of the metro Tuesday… to western Lake Superior late tomorrow. This is usually a good track for heavy snow in central Minnesota…but “not so much” ifor the Twin Cities metro.

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Temperature profile: Again, the low level temp profile will be the key to (especially metro) snowfall totals with this storm. With temps in the upper 30s to 40 today, it’s warm enough to start precip as rain today into tonight.

Then the models differ a bit. The NAM wants to change precip over to snow sooner for thee metro…before midnight. The GFS keeps things rain until after midnight. Split the difference and we should see a gradual changeover form rain to snow from west to east around midnight to 3am in the metro.

If that timing works…we should see snow in time to grease up the AM rush tomorrow in the metro.

Snow totals: I’d like to see the evening model runs before I pin down metro snowfall totals, but here is my early thinking. Precip moves in this afternoon…as all rain for the metro. A mix of rain & snow in western Minnesota. Gradual changeover from west to east to all snow overnight. Snow (and wind!) in metro by AM rush Tuesday….peaking Tuesday AM…tapering off PM.

Again, a shift in the track of 50 miles east or west could mean the difference between an inch and 6″ of snow for (especially the west) metro!

It looks like the heaviest snow band with this storm will lay out either side of a zone from Montevideo, Morris & Willmar to Alexandria, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, and International Falls. 6″ to 12″ could fall in these areas by Tuesday night.

Hutchinson, Litchfield, St. Cloud, Mille Lacs to Duluth: 3″ to 6″+ by Tuesday evening.

Far Western Metro: (Waconia, Western Lake Minnetonka, Delano, Rockford) 2″ to 5″ by Tuesday evening. (more if the storm tracks east)

Central & Eastern Metro: (MSP, St. Paul) 1″ to 3″ by Tuesday evening. (Again, more if the storm tracks east)

Western Wisconsin (Menomonie & Eau Claire) Mostly rain with 1″ or so on the back side of the storm.

The morning model runs have dropped metro snowfall totals quite a bit. The NAM dropped from 6″ last night to under an inch this morning!

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Morning model runs leaning toward lighter Metro snow totals Tuesday

Impacts: The biggest impact from the storm will be from western Minnesota (Morris, Alex) through north central Minnesota. (Brainerd, Grand Rapids, International Falls) Tuesday. Northwest winds will whip snow around Tuesday as the cold air pours in behind the storm. This may create near whiteout conditions in much of central Minnesota Tuesday! Travel will be very difficult along I-94 between the Twin Cities and Fargo Tuesday!

Bottom Line: Get set for rapidly changing winter weather conditions over the next 36 hours.

Stay tuned for updates (and potentially changing snow total forecasts) as we get new model runs in through tonight.


  • Carl

    I see lots of speculative analysis regarding Twin Cities weather and a little about southern and central MN but essentially nothing about NE MN. This in spite of the map that suggests the track of the low might result in quite a bit of precipitation for the Arrowhead. Please expand your scope of consideration to include all of Minnesota, even if your focus remains primarily metro-centric.

  • Kim

    Seems the longer it rains the less snow we will get in the metro. Maybe the next snow will be just snow and no rain. Sorry kids..