Saturday Snow: Coating to 1″ metro ; 2″ to 5+” Alex, Brainerd & Duluth

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Updraft Headlines:

Season’s 1st snowfall for much of central Minnesota Saturday

0.8″ NAM snowfall output for MSP Airport Saturday

1.3″ GFS snowfall output for MSP Saturday (Friday AM run)

3.1″ GFS snowfal output for MSP (Friday PM run)

Coating to 1″ Weather Lab forecast snowfall for most of the metro Saturday & Saturday night (Best chance for 2″ NW Metro)

50% chance of mixed precip or northerly track resulting in little/no accumulation in much of the metro

2″ to 5″+ band of heaviest snow centered on a Morris-Alexandria-Brainerd-Mille Lacs-Duluth line

6″+ possible in eastern South Dakota and extreme western Minnesota near Browns Valley, Ortonville and Wheaton

Winter Weather Advosries posted for central Minnesota Saturday (north of the metro)

Winter Storm Warnings posted for eastern South Dakota and extreme western Minnesota (Ortonville, Browns Valley and Wheaton)

Snowy travel conditions Saturday on I-94 between St. Cloud & Fergus Falls and along I-35 between North Branch & Duluth!

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Latest Twin Cities radar loop

System on track:

We’re still on track for Saturday snowfall, primarily north and west of the Twin Cities. Low pressure will track though Iowa and Wisconsin Saturday.

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A lead wave is casing some rain and snow in northern Minnesota Friday. The main system will increase snowfall Saturday from west to east.

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Snow falling Friday in Bemidji on Paul Bunyan webcam

Temperature profile and precip type:

It looks cold enough for all snow north of a Redwood Falls to St. Cloud line Saturday. Precip may start as a mix in the metro Saturday, and then change to all snow as the low swings by later Saturday PM.

Snowfall accumulations:

Thankfully, the models have been pretty consistent in laying out the heaviest snowfall band through central Minnesota. It still looks like a good 2″ to 5″+ swatch will lay down from eastern South Dakota though Browns Valley-Alex-Brainerd-Mille Lacs- to Duluth.

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Alexandria Metorgram: Lines represent snowfall output for different modles. Friday PM NAM cranking out 4″ to 7″ potential!

Willmar and St. Cloud will be in the transition zone, with a likely total of between 1″ and 3″ by late Saturday night.

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NAM lays out heaviest snow north of the metro.

As expected, it looks like the Twin Cities metro will be on the southern edge of this system. A rain-snow mix should develop Saturday PM. Temperatures should be just above freezing Saturday PM, meaning it will be tough to get any accumulation in most of the metro Saturday afternoon.

Rain should change to snow late Saturday PM and evening, resulting in a quick coating to 1″ snowfall in much of the metro. The best chance for more than an inch will be in the northwest metro communities, where it’s possible some 2″ totals may occur.

What could possibly go wrong?

While some snow looks likely in the metro, there a a few factors that argue against accumulating snow.

1) The ground is still warm enough to melt the first flakes

2) Surface temps will be just above freezing Saturday PM.

3) Mixed rain may limit snowfall in the first half of the “event.”

4) The system still shows signs of a shift north and a rapid cutoff in snowfall on the southern edge. This may limit accumulating snow in the metro.

5) The system is an “open wave” moving fairly quickly, this may also limit snowfal totals.

There is still a chance that most of the accumulating snow will miss the metro to the north!

This will be the first significant snowfall for many central Minnesota communities. Prepare for snowy travel conditions in these areas!

Overall this looks like a minor snowfall with little impact for the metro.

Stay tuned!


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