Blizzard rages south & east; Better travel this weekend; Light snow Christmas Eve?

Blizzard Warnings continue until midnight for southeast Minnesota, Iowa & Wisconsin

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Next phase wind: Gust to over 40mph in Iowa & Wisconsin today

Snow gradually fades in east metro today

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MNDOT Traffic Cam Hwy 52 @ Hwy 55 in east metro

Metro snowfall: Coating (N & W) to 2″(SE) snowfall totals so far

Southeast Minnesota: 4″ to 7″ snowfall totals so far

Iowa & Wisconsin: numerous snowfall reports between 7″ and 13″+

Twin Cities NWS multimedia briefing on storm

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Riding the edge of a blizzard:

The latest round of winter weather is still ongoing today in the Upper Midwest. Ground zero today? Southeast Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

13″ of snow has already fallen along I-35 near Des Moines and a fresh foot is on the ground along I-94 near Osseo, Wisconsin.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA

633 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012

0600 AM SNOW 3 S POLK CITY M13.1 INCH POLK IA OFFICIAL NWS OBS

STORM TOTAL AS OF 6AM. STRONG WINDS HAVE STRIPPED THE

OVERALL SNOW DEPTH DOWN TO 11 INCHES.

…TREMPEALEAU COUNTY…

OSSEO, WI 11.2

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT…CORRECTED

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN WI

658 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012

0614 AM HEAVY SNOW 5 SW MADISON, WI M8.9 INCH TRAINED SPOTTER

1.3 INCHES BETWEEN 3 AM AND 6 AM CST.

Southeast Minnesota has some 4″ to 7″ totals already, with snow still falling.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LA CROSSE WI

815 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012

…RECENT REPORTED SNOWFALL TOTALS…

…OLMSTED COUNTY…

ROCHESTER AIRPORT 6.0 0700 AM

…WINONA COUNTY…

WINONA 4SW 7.0 0730 AM

…MOWER COUNTY…

GRAND MEADOW 7.0 0515 AM

AUSTIN 6.2 0730 AM

The storm has even knocked out some communications at the Des Moines NWS.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA

ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL

830 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012

…WEATHER RADIO OUTAGE AT WEATHER OFFICE…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IS CURRENTLY

EXPERIENCING PHONE…INTERNET…AND WEATHER RADIO OUTAGES.

THERE IS NO ESTIMATE WHEN THESE COMMUNICATION ISSUES WILL

BE RESOLVED. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THIS INCONVENIENCE.

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First snow: Next wind

Snow will continue today in most of Wisconsin. The next phase of the storm features increasing winds, which will howl at over 40 mph in Iowa and southern Wisconsin as the storm deepens and moves east.

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PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DES MOINES IA

ISSUED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL

836 AM CST THU DEC 20 2012

0829 AM BLIZZARD OTTUMWA IA TRAINED SPOTTER

VISIBILITY 1/8 TO 1/4 DUE TO SNOW. WIND GUSTS TO 45 MPH

Blizzard conditions will make travel difficult to dangerous in much of Iowa, southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin through tonight.

Improvng roads this weekend:

Roads will gradually improve Friday, and be in much better shape this weekend. High pressure should make for a stress free pre holiday road trip in most areas this weekend.

Next snow chance: Christmas Eve?

The medium-range forecast models are panting a chance for some (light?) snow on Christmas Eve.

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Image: Norwegian Met Institute

White Christmas Tracker: In the bag for Upper Midwest

Today’s storm has just about guaranteed a White Christmas for most of the Upper Midwest. In fact, this year could be pretty close to “climatology” as far as the southern extent of snowfall. A coating of white is likely to remain south of an Omaha-Des Moines-Chicago line by Christmas Day.

Here’s a look at the climatological probability for a White Christmas from NOAA.

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Safe travels!

PH

  • Mark P.

    What happen to your “Gulf Storm”?,it went “poof” didn’t it……I was surprised you even mentioned/posted it being beyond 7 days,you always say that’s fanstayland.

  • Tom H

    I’m really bummed that the models arent showing that gulf storm in the long range forecast any longer. By the way, part of the reason I come to updraft on a daily basis in the winter is to not only see what is going on in the short term, but also because they give us glimpses of potential future snow. Even if they do not always pan out, its nice to have some hope, as well as follow along as they evolve, track differently, or just fizzle out.

  • Chris

    I’m no weather expert just an avid watcher. I have noticed sometimes the long range models will spit something out and the medium will drop and then the short it reappears. Or even the opposite. I’m assuming there are some gray areas between the effectiveness of each model and thus a day or so later things appear/disappear as the are in or out of the sweet spot of a particular model. Hopefully, when Paul recovers from being up at 3 am this morning he can confirm or explain the appearing/disappearing/reappearing things in forecasts.

    I’m still hoping its a model thing and the gulf storm is still coming with a few more model runs.