Forecast: 1″ to 3″ tomorrow…major storm next Tuesday?

Thursday snow update:

The latest look at the weather maps confirms my thinking on 1″ to 3″ of new snowfall Thursday. The system will be gaining strength right over the metro as it moves east into Wisconsin. That may put some heavier snow totals in the east metro by later Thursday PM.

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Season snowfall record in sight?

My former WCCO-TV colleague and TV news icon Dave Moore used to say; “Make no big decisions in March.”

Looking at the weather maps over the next two weeks and doing the math leads me to believe there is now at least an 80% chance this will end up as the snowiest winter on record in the Twin Cities.

-Snowfall so far: 76.5″

-Likely snow in the next week: Another 10″-12″ (Total 86″ to 88″)

That leaves another 10″ to 12″ to break the all time record, and that is very “doable” during the rest of March and into early April.

Stay tuned, and keep the shovel handy for now.


It was in the 60s in Nebraska again Tuesday. Spring is so close… a 5 hour drive on the freeway, but so far away on the weather maps.

Mini-Thaw: Nice while it lasted!

Ample sunshine and mild westerly breezes made for a nice thaw Tuesday in southern Minnesota and much of the Upper Midwest. Here are some afternoon temps, all within a mere 5 to 7 hour trip from the Twin Cities!

-Twin Cities 41 degrees

-Des Moines 50 degrees

-Omaha 56 degrees

Tuesday’s high of 41 degrees was the warmest day in the Twin Cities in 12 days!

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Tuesday PM temperatures show huge contrast in air masses from 60s south to sub-zero north!

Snow cover retreating north:

The Minnesota landscape still lokks like mid-winter with a foot or more of snow on the ground in many locations. But drive 3 hours south of the metro and you’ll see bare ground! The northern edge of the snowpack has (temporarily) retreated into northern and central Iowa. Much of Nebraska is also snow free.

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The higher March sun angle and lack of snow cover to the south & southwest played a big role in allowing southwest winds to warm southern Minnesota nicely Tuesday.

Tale of two seasons:

While southern Minnesota basked in brief spring-like warmth Tuesday, the next arctic front frosted northern Minnesota. Temperatures hovered single digits Tuesday in the northwest, and the arctic air is oozing south. Lows will again dip to -20 or colder in northern Minnesota overnight, with highs in the single digits and teens Wednesday as a wintry air mass returns.

Next snow Thursday:

The next weather system makes a move on Minnesota Thursday. Moisture will overrun the cold air dome near the surface as low pressure sails in from the west. Snow will bust out as a result Thursday, and it could be enough to plow by Thursday night.

At this point it looks like this will be a minor weather system, with snow breaking out Thursday AM and lasting through midday before tapering Thursday PM. Early indications point to general 1″ to 3″ snow totals with Thursday’s system. Thursday midday and PM rush hour could be slick and slow as a result.

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Nicer Friday!

It looks like Friday may bring a break in the action, and a return to sunshine and milder temps. Highs should reach the 30s again in much of Minnesota.

Southern system Saturday:

The models are tracking another systems passing south through Iowa Saturday with a chance of snow clipping southern Minnesota. This system could be a big (10″?) snow producer for Des Moines and Madison if you are planning travel south or east.

It looks dry and sunny (but cool) in the north Saturday.

Major Winter Storm next week?

All systems appear to be go for our next major winter storm Monday… and especially Tuesday. The models are developing a powerful “lee side low” in Colorado on Monday, then tracking it east into Iowa and Wisconsin Tuesday. This is a perfect track to dump heavy snow in Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro.

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Models tracking major storm potential next Tuesday!

The Gulf of Mexico will be “wide open” with this storm, feeding moisture into the system. That could mean a heavy wetter snow. The additional moisture and strong upper air dynamics may produce thundersnow once again.

There is still a chance the track could change, but if ti stays on track, this could be a classic, heavy, knock down-drag out March snow storm next Tuesday!

Signs of a thaw?

There are signs of a thaw somewhere around the March 14 to 16 time frame. Milder Pacific air may work into the Upper Midwest. It’s a long way out…and there may still be more snow behind that.

As we say in the weather biz…stay tuned!


  • Our back yard is right next to the sand beach of Lake Superior, and literally half the yard is snow free. Between the winds that blow the snow and the warm lake that brings us rain instead of snow, we’re down to the grass here. I’d love another good winter storm, especially one that tracks 100 miles north of the Cities.

  • Nagraj

    Clear and Comprehensive post Paul. Looking forward to a post where in you are going to say “It (Winter) is finally over and Spring is here to stay”

  • Paul Huttner

    And I so look forward to writing that one!


  • Andy

    That had to be the shortest thaw I’ve ever seen! When I arrived at work at 7:30 it was 23; when I left work at 5:30 it was 25 and dropping fast (down to 20 forty-five minutes later!). Rumor was it made it to 40, but I never felt it. Who let that cold front through so early?