Light rain/snow today; Bigger storm Sunday/Monday!

Two distinct weathermakers are on the map and taking aim at Minnesota.

The first one is already here, with a mixed bag of generally light rain and snow showers. A weak low pressure system is squeezing out lighter precip amounts today/tonight.

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Low pressure “trof” moving east today. (Click all images to enlarge)

It looks like precip totals will be around or under .25″ by Friday in most areas.

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Morning Twin Cities radar loop shows spotty rian snow mix.

-Current Twin Cities radar loop here.

With temperatures hovering around or above freezing from the ground to around 5,000 feet above ground today, expect a rain snow mix that could trend toward all snow tonight. With temps above freezing at ground level, it will be difficult for any snow that does fall to accumulate much more than a slushy coating.

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NAM snowfall: Slushy coating north?

Friday & Saturday: Sun returns

Look for the sun to make a return by Friday afternoon in most areas. Saturday looks downright nice, with plenty of sun and highs pushing 50 Saturday afternoon.

Potent storm Sunday & Monday:

The next “big” weathermaker moves into the Upper Midwest Sunday.

A strong hybrid late winter-early spring low pressure system will track eastward out of the Rockies toward the Upper Midwest Sunday. It appears a band of precip will push north into SW Minnesota Sunday morning, and overrun the state Sunday.

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GFS places surface low in Kansas and pushes heavy precip into Minnesota Sunday.

As I sift through model data this morning to try and see what’s credible, It looks to this forecaster right now like enough mild air will push north that the system will produce mostly rain from the metro south Sunday. Rain could be moderate to heavy at times…and there are indications that rainfall totals could exceed .50″ to 1+” in some areas of southern Minnesota Sunday.

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Over an inch of liquid precip (some as snow) Sunday & Monday?

It appears cold enough for a transition to mostly snow just north of the metro and toward Fargo, Brainerd & Duluth Sunday. The snow could be heavy in central & northern Minnesota. At this time the heavy snow axis seems to be focused on and north of a Fargo-Brainerd-Duluth line.

The GFS is cranking out some impressive (downright scary?) early snowfall numbers for Brainerd (20.2″) & Duluth (19.6″).

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GFS: Some big numbers for Brainerd!

As the system moves by and cold air is drawn south Monday, it appears rain will change to snow statewide, including the greater Twin Cities metro. The snow could be heavy, and wind driven Monday.

Changeable forecast?

The Sunday-Monday system looks good (or bad) on paper at this point. I’d say there is a better than 50% chance we’re going to get a potent storm. But keep in mind that the error margin 4 to5 days out for Midwest surface lows can often exceed the width of the heavy snow band.

Translation? A shift of 50 to 100 miles in the track of the surface low track or thermal profile of the storm can change rain to snow…and push the potential heavy snow band north or south in a hurry.

**There is some model data suggesting that the metro could fall within the heavy snow band Sunday & Monday. At this time, it is just too early to say with any credibility exactly where the heavy snow will fall, and who will get mostly rain Sunday.**

The storm system is well out over the north Pacific today, and will not enter the USA upper air (weather baloon) grid until Saturday. When it moves over the USA, the denser observation newtork may get a better handle on track & thermal profile.

Bottom line: There is the potential for a major hybrid winter/spring storm Sunday & Monday in the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota & Wisconsin. Plan accordingly.

Stay tuned for changes and updates as we get new model runs in the next few days.

PH

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