Forecasting blind: Models all over the place

Forrest Gump may have said it best. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

That’s how meteorologists feel looking at each new forecast model run these days.

3″ of snow Thursday or just a little slushy rain/snow mix? Heavy 1″+ rain & thunder Sunday? Heavy snow 6″+ Monday? Opps…storm tracking south, little or no rain or snow Sunday & Monday??

Various forecast model runs have painted all of the above scenarios over just the past two days, and it looks like we’re not done yet!

Thursday system:

After a sunny & milder Wednesday, it looks like Thursday may feature an almost “Alberta Clipper” like system riding along in northwest flow aloft. This seemingly weak system looks to produce light precip from a visual perspective on the maps. Still, forecast model output insists the system has enough oomph to produce precip on the range of .25″ to .75″ depending on which run & model you want to believe.

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Models all over the place on precip amounts. (Click to enlarge)

Rain or snow? Most of the model guidance would seem to suggest temperatures cold enough in the lowest mile of the atmosphere for snow Thursday. Still, temps should be close enough to freezing that daytime warming may cause some of the precip to mix. That may suggest a slushy mix of snow and rain Thursday.

How much?

Based on (the inconsistent) data so far, it looks like an inch or two of sluchy snow is possible Thursday and Thursday night into early Friday. If precip manages to stay all snow…there could be some 3″ totals somewhere in the eastern half of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

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Bottom line:

Expect some precip Thursday &Thursday night into Friday morning. It will probably be slushy snow but could mix with rain at times. An inch or two of slushy accumulation is possible, but not certain. This forecast still has a relatively low degree of confidence since the models continue to change with little “run to run consistency.”

The “smell test” looking at the maps says to me the idea of heavy precip with this system may be overdone.

Nice Saturday!

Saturday still looks like the nicest day of the weekend. It appears Minnesota will be in between weather systems, and it should be sunny and relatively mild with highs in the lower 50s possible!

Next system Sunday-Monday?

Here’s where the forecast models are all over the map. Literally.

Overall tracks are trending south with this system. The latest GFS run still tracks a low close enough to Minnesota to produce soaking Sunday rains. The more southerly track also hints that colder air could come south…changing rain to possibly accumulating snow.

The European model suggests a more southerly track that could keep precip completely south of the metro.

Stay tuned…


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