Sunday snow now favors northern MN; Evening sky show!

Heavy snow band from Sioux Falls through Iowa to Chicago

Sky show in the southwest evening sky through this weekend (if clouds break)

Sunday storm sill looks potent – for northern Minnesota

Twin Cities on the edge of snow (again!) Sunday?

Poor model performance with track of latest clipper

Productive Clipper:

Now that’s a nice little clipper!

A potent Alberta Clipper type storm system is dumping a fairly narrow but heavy band of snow Thursday through Friday.

The system tracked from near Sioux Falls South Dakota (where 5″ fell) through central Iowa and is making a beeline for Chicago Friday.

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The clipper is producing some 4″ to 8″ snowfall totals, and that should hold as it tracks through Chicagoland Friday.

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Bad Models!!

I have to say we saw some poor model performance with the track of Thursday’s clipper. Initially the GFS had heavy snow right up to the southern metro with the system, and the NAM painted snow in the metro for a couple of runs.

Good thing I never bought into that solution, because subsequent runs shifted the storm track even further southwest. The shifting advisories from Twin Cities NWS no doubt left them also feeling a bit confounded by the system’s ever changing track.

The models did seem to handle the intensity and eventual snowfall output from the system well, but it’s had to make an accurate forecast when the geographical distribution of snowfall is off by 100 miles.

Welcome to the big leagues of weather.

Sunday’s Storm: Northern Minnesota’s savior?

Now we get to look at Sunday’s incoming system with weather finger and toes crossed.

One good thing, there seems to be more agreement with the major models on the track of Sunday’s storm. For example, both the GFS and NAM bring the surface low from near Wheaton to Willmar to the Northern Metro to Spooner.

That track favors heavy snow in central and northern Minnesota, but not the metro.

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NAM model snowfall output favors heavy snow up north.

The storm is still in the North Pacific and won’t enter the Northern American surface and weather balloon “data grid” until Friday evening. By then, the amount of data on the incoming system should increase, and hopefully the eventual track will become more accurate.

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There’s still 36-48 hours and several more model runs ahead before we need to pull the final trigger on snowfall totals for Sunday. But at this point I’m leaning toward lighter snow in the metro and heavier snow north of a Fargo-Brainerd-Duluth line.

The models are suggesting 6″ to 12″ snowfall potential for much of northern Minnesota and especially along the ridge running along the North Shore. If that much snow falls, it will be a blessing for North Shore communities, rivers and streams which are painfully low. Extra snowpack could mean a nice flow in North Shore Rivers this spring and early summer!

Stay tuned!

Snow this week boosted season snowfall for Minnesota communities:

My MPR colleague Mark Seeley has details from his excellent weekly “Weather Talk” blog. Our snow this week helped some seasonal snowfall totals around the state.

Topic: Increase in seasonal snowfall totals

“Monday through Wednesday this week brought several inches of new snow to areas of the state. In fact, it was the snowiest 3-day period of the winter for some observers. In the north International Falls reported 8 inches; Crookston, Orr, Hibbing, Cook, and Two Harbors reported 6 inches; Isabella reported 6.2 inches; and Kabetogama reported 7.4 inches. In central Minnesota Mora reported 5.2 inches and Plymouth 5.0 inches, while MSP reported 2.7 inches. In the south Theilman, and Cannon Falls reported over 2 inches.

The new seasonal snowfall totals for some observers: Gunflint Lake 36.6 inches; Isabella 49.4 inches; Kabetogama 48.3 inches; Orr 40 inches, and International Falls 41.2 inches. Despite the recent snowfall, many locations are still significant seasonal deficiencies: at Duluth the season has delivered just 22.9 inches (normal through the end of February is 65.6 inches); at MSP the seasonal snowfall total is 18 inches (normal through the end of February is 39.7 inches); and at Rochester the seasonal snowfall total is just 20.1 inches (normal through the end of February is 39.9 inches).”

Evening sky show next few nights!?

It looks like you’ll have to pick your spots for some breaks in the clouds, but the skies may briefly open up the next few evenings so if they do take a moment to check out the southwestern evening sky.

A rare conjunction of the 3 brightest objects in the sky will glow through this weekend. The moon, Jupiter and bright Venus will snuggle up together in the southwest evening sky for the next few nights.

The details from NASA.

“By the end of the month, the angle narrows to only 10 degrees–so close that you can hide them together behind your outstretched palm. Their combined beauty grows each night as the distance between them shrinks.

A special night to look is Saturday, Feb. 25th, when the crescent Moon moves in to form a slender heavenly triangle with Venus, Jupiter and the Moon as vertices (sky map). One night later, on Sunday, Feb. 26th, it happens again (sky map). This arrangement will be visible all around the world, from city and countryside alike. The Moon, Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky; together they can shine through urban lights, fog, and even some clouds.”

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The best chance for a few breaks in the clouds appears to be Friday & Saturday evening.