MSP: Snowiest winter in 19 years? Chicago: Epic blizzard imminent

Boy did we get lucky on this one.

Monday’s long duration snowfall left behind a trail of respectable snow totals…but nothing like what the next phase of the storm will deliver to Chicago tonight.

Officially 4.7″ at MSP Airport recorded 4.7″ of snowfall with the latest system. That puts the season to date snowfall at MSP at a healthy, ice dam dripping 60.4″. Here are the relative numbers for MSP.

Season snowfall: 60.4″

Average to date: 34.1″

Departure from avg: +26.3″

January snowfall: 17″ (+3.5″)

If we maintain our current snowfall pace the rest of the winter we are on track for about 80″ of snow. That would approach the 5th snowiest winter on record. It would also be the snowiest winter in 19 years. The last time we had 80″+ was in 1991-’92 (Halloween Mega-Storm) when we stacked up 84.1″ of snowfall!

Here’s the final NWS tally on Monday’s snowfall:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

107 AM CST TUE FEB 01 2011

…PRELIMINARY SNOWFALL AMOUNTS FROM SUNDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT…

SNOW AMOUNTS LISTED BELOW ARE NOT NECESSARILY FINAL SNOWFALL TOTALS

FOR THE EVENT. PLEASE NOTE THE TIME OF THE REPORTS.

THE TOTALS BELOW ARE SEPARATED INTO SNOW…AND ICE AND SLEET

CATEGORIES…THEN BY AMOUNT…AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE

FINAL AMOUNT FOR EACH LOCATION.

SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT

INCHES LOCATION ST COUNTY TIME

—— ———————– — ————– ——-

12.00 S MADELIA MN WATONWAN 0518 PM

9.00 SACRED HEART MN RENVILLE 0516 PM

8.00 WILLMAR MN KANDIYOHI 0538 PM

8.00 VESTA MN REDWOOD 0445 PM

8.00 WINTHROP MN SIBLEY 0332 PM

7.00 9 SW GRANITE FALLS MN YELLOW MEDICINE 0421 PM

6.50 MINNESOTA LAKE MN FARIBAULT 1011 PM

6.00 MANKATO MN BLUE EARTH 0830 PM

6.00 LITCHFIELD MN MEEKER 0500 PM

6.00 GLENCOE MN MCLEOD 0253 PM

6.00 WSW ST JAMES MN WATONWAN 0233 PM

6.00 WINNEBAGO MN FARIBAULT 0212 PM

5.00 ELLENDALE MN STEELE 0800 PM

4.90 ST CLOUD MN STEARNS 1200 AM

4.70 MINNEAPOLIS MN HENNEPIN 1200 AM

4.50 CHANHASSEN MN CARVER 1200 AM

4.50 MAPLEWOOD MN RAMSEY 1000 PM

4.50 DURAND WI PEPIN 0557 PM

4.40 INVER GROVE HEIGHTS MN DAKOTA 1000 PM

4.20 FRIDLEY MN ANOKA 0742 PM

4.00 LAKEVILLE MN DAKOTA 1025 PM

4.00 GLENWOOD MN POPE 0900 PM

3.80 WACONIA MN CARVER 0500 PM

3.80 NEW HOPE MN HENNEPIN 1208 PM

3.50 CHAMPLIN MN HENNEPIN 1059 PM

3.50 ANNANDALE MN WRIGHT 0600 PM

3.40 SW ST PAUL MN RAMSEY 0528 PM

3.00 CLAYTON WI POLK 1200 AM

3.00 RUSH CITY MN CHISAGO 0500 PM

3.00 ANDOVER MN ANOKA 0115 PM

2.80 EAU CLAIRE WI EAU CLAIRE 1200 AM

2.80 1 N CAMERON WI BARRON 0444 PM

2.80 OWATONNA MN STEELE 0120 PM

2.00 RICE LAKE WI BARRON 0518 PM

1.00 2 NW GILMAN MN BENTON 0253 PM

0.90 LONG PRAIRIE MN TODD 0550 PM

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Arctic Comeback:

Arctic air is sliding south again in the wake of Monday’s snow event. Temperatures plunged into the -20 and even to -35 near the center of the arctic air mass in North Dakota and eastern Montana overnight.

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The chill will keep Minnesota in the deep freeze (and hopefully stop my ice dam covered window sills from dripping temporarily) through mid-week before temperatures moderate by late week.

Brief late-week “thaw?”

Temperatures will rebound Thursday into Friday, as milder Pacific air begins to move in from the west. 20s should return Thursday…with lower 30s possible in southern Minnesota Friday and Saturday.

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Another shot of arctic air is due next week.

Bigger thaw ahead?

There are signs that a more substantial thaw could emerge for the Upper Midwest by late next week into the following weekend. Indications are the upper air pattern may shift, and the polar vortex over Hudson Bay may slide east toward Greenland temporarily.

That could allow milder winds form the Pacific Ocean to take hold over the upper Midwest. If the pattern takes firm hold…it could mean a few days of 30s and even a shot at 40 in Minnesota by the weekend of February 12th.

Stay tuned.

Chicago: Biggest blizzard in history?

A major “snow bomb” is racing toward Chicago today and tonight. A powerful storm is taking aim with what meteorologists refer to as some incredible “dynamics.” The storm has the potential to become the biggest in Chicago history.

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Here is some of what the Windy City can expect tonight and tomorrow according to the Chicago NWS.

-Snowfall totals over 20″?

-Snowfall rates of 2″ to 4″ per hour

-Thundersnow

-Wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph

-5 to 10 FOOT drifts

-Waves as high as 25 FEET on Lake Michigan

-Severe lakeshore flooding

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Blizzard warnings are flying for the entire Chicagoland area.

Check out some of the snowpacolyptic language from the Chicago NWS.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO IL

421 AM CST TUE FEB 1 2011 /521 AM EST TUE FEB 1 2011/

…WINTER WEATHER SAFETY AND SURVIVAL TIPS…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO ADVISES YOU TO BE PREPARED

FOR THE IMPENDING SEVERE WINTER STORM….COMPLETING ALL STORM

PREPARATIONS BY AROUND NOON ON TUESDAY THE LATEST.

WITH WINDS GUSTING UP TO 45 MPH AND HIGHER ON TUESDAY NIGHT INTO

WEDNESDAY MORNING…THERE WILL BE A HEIGHTENED CHANCE OF POWER

OUTAGES. OTHER PRIMARY CONCERNS ARE POTENTIAL LOSS OF HEAT…HOME

TELEPHONE SERVICE AND A SHORTAGE OF SUPPLIES.

YOU SHOULD HAVE AVAILABLE…

A FLASH LIGHT AND EXTRA BATTERIES…

A BATTERY POWER RADIO TO RECEIVE EMERGENCY INFORMATION…

EXTRA FOOD…WATER…MEDICINE AND BABY ITEMS…

FIRST AID SUPPLIES…

HEATING FUEL AND AN EMERGENCY HEATING SOURCE…

A FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND SMOKE DETECTOR.

…LAKESHORE FLOOD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO

3 PM CST WEDNESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN CHICAGO HAS ISSUED A LAKESHORE

FLOOD WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 3 PM

CST WEDNESDAY. THE LAKESHORE FLOOD WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

NORTHEAST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 30 TO 40 MPH THIS EVENING WITH

GUSTS OF 50 TO 60 MPH. THESE STRONG WINDS WILL LIKELY RESULT IN

WAVES BUILDING TO 14 TO 18 FT…WITH OCCASIONAL WAVES UP TO 25 FT. THESE LARGE AND BATTERING WAVES WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT BEACH

EROSION AND COASTAL FLOODING. PORTIONS OF LAKE SHORE DRIVE AND

OTHER FLOOD PRONE AREAS NEAR THE LAKE WILL LIKELY EXPERIENCE

SIGNIFICANT OVER WASH FLOODING FROM HIGH WAVES.

IN ADDITION…THE COMBINATION OF VERY STRONG WINDS AND LARGE WAVES

WILL CAUSE FREEZING SPRAY WHICH WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT

ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE NEAR THE IMMEDIATE SHORELINE.

This looks like an epic blizzard for Chicago. Only 3 storms in history have produced over 20″ of snow in Chicago. 23″ fell in January of 1967, and The “Mayor Jane Byrne” blizzard (20.3″) slammed Chicago and changed the political landscape in 1979.

This storm will be Chicago’s version of a Nor’easter on the shores of Lake Michigan. With potential wave heights reaching 25 feet severe lakeshore flooding is expected, and waves will likely crash over Lakeshore Drive. I covered similar events working for WGN in Chicago in the 90s where I broadcast live from near the Chess Pavilion as waves pounded “The Drive.”

The storm will rage on and move east this week…and could dump 1-2 feet of snow from Chicago through Detroit and all the way east into Upstate New York and Boston!

I know I’m feeling better now about shoveling a paltry 4″ from my walkway today!

PH

  • Nick N.

    Might want to check your math – I’m pretty sure that the 1991-1992 winter was 19 years ago, not 29.

  • andy

    I’m from MN, living in Chicago now. They’re all really going nuts for this storm – as they should. Luckily my place of employment is planning on being closed tomorrow. I wouldn’t have gone in anyway. I have to admit, I’ve wanted a major snow storm here all winter, I was jealous of your early December storm. I guess we’re going to finally get ours….