Growing chances for (potentially big?) snow next week?

Happy Valentine’s Day from the weather lab!

0.3″ snowfall Monday at MSP Airport

15.2″ season snowfall so far at MSP Airport

61.1″ snowfall to date last winter by this date!

Pattern change ahead next week

Snow chances increasing next week?

Major winter storm potential late next week according to GFS model?

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Foggy start along I-35 near the Minnesota River today. (MNDOT image)

Foggy start:

It’s another foggy start for much of eastern Minnesota today. Residual moisture from Monday’s light snow has left a fog blanket around eastern Minnesota. Drier air means ths sun is shining in western Minnesota today.

The fog will thin as the day goes on, and we could see a little sunshine later this afternoon.

Milder days ahead:

The air mass is fairly mild this week. If we get any sun, temps could respond into the upper 30s and maybe touch 40 in southern Minnesota Wednesday.

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Pattern change next week: Snow chances increasing?

Last week I posted about the chances for snow increasing the week of February 20th.

The overnight GFS model runs have “reacquired” the shift in the jet stream pattern that leads me to believe we may not be out of the woods just yet when it comes to snow this winter.

So far this winter the jet stream has lifted way north into Canada, or been stuck in a northwest flow over Minnesota. That pattern has brought us alternating record mild spells and infrequent bouts of light snow.

That may change next week.

The GFS is locking onto a southwest flow aloft in the upper atmosphere.


GFS: Major upper air storm over Minnesota Friday Feb 24th?

Two distinct waves of low pressure may ride the newly established southwest flow, bringing moisture and snow chances to Minnesota.

The first could roll through next Monday night & Tuesday. Early indications are this system could be light to moderate, and potential bring a few inches of snow to parts of central and southern Minnesota.

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The second system may be bigger.

It’s still a longgggggg way out, but The GFS is winding up what could potentially be the season’s first “major winter storm” (did I just type that??) in Minnesota next Friday, February 24th.

According to the GFS, a strong upper level wave will deepen a surface low pressure storm over the Upper Midwest late next week. If the models pan out, that could produce the season’s first heavy snow somewhere in or near Minnesota.

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Model fantasy or major winter strom next Friday February 24th?

Today’s GFS run suggest a powerful surface low pumping warm moisture rich Gulf of Mexico air into Minnesota next Thursday. Temps in the 40s could begin the storm as rain, then quickly change precip to heavy snow as the system races by.

The GFS precip numbers are insane at this point, suggesting around 2″ precip totals. If most of that falls as snow, this would truly be a major winter storm.

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**It’s simply too early to know how much credibility to place in this solution. The models can (and probably will) shift the storm track south to Chicago or even further east in future model runs.**

But there are some signs that lead me to believe the GFS may be onto something.

1) The overall pattern shift looks reasonable

2) The models have hinted at this shift more than once in the past few days

3) We’re due!

4) There are still a good 6 more weeks in the realistic “snow season” in Minnesota.

If the storm evolves late next week the GFS is advertising a “bomb” over the Upper Midwest. It’s way too early to be talking inches, or even if it will happen, but if the GFS is right, somebody could see a huge pile of snow next Friday.

As we say in the weather biz….

Stay tuned!


  • Chris

    I know you don’t write the models but I just about fell on the floor laughing when I read this. I am coping with this awful winter by finally getting to the acceptance stage. I’m going with 9/19/12 for the next time to start looking for winter/snow (historical trace or better). Yes, I know 9/15 had a trace once but 16,17 and 18 didn’t.

  • Christian

    What kind of rain to snow conversion could we see? I know the “average” is 1 to 6.25 but a lot of factors come into play when it’s actually falling.