Light snow & flurries today with accumulations favoring the I-90 corridor
Major Winter Storm heading for Iowa & Wisconsin Thursday – will clip SE Minnesota
6″ to 12″+ in heavy snow band
Near blizzard conditions with wind gusts to 50mph Thursday in Wisconsin
Twin Cities on the edge of snow with this week’s system
“Gulf Storm” next week? Longer range forecast hints at potential for more big snows in Upper Midwest by around December 26th-27th
Upper Midwest Storm Parade: 4 storms in 4 weeks?
We’re settling into what appears to be a more active winter storms pattern for the Upper Midwest this month. First the snowy wallop on December 8-9th. Then our rare December rain event last weekend. Now a major snowmaker this week for Iowa & Wisconsin. Next, a potentially major “Gulf Storm” winding up and shooting north from the Gulf of Mexcio the day after Christmas?
Big picture please?
After months of drought and a rain & snow free landscape, this pattern change is great news for the Upper Midwest. Yes, it would have been nice if it came as beneficial soaking rains a month ago, but we’ll have to take it at this point.
Next system: Major Winter Storm for Des Moines, La Crosse, Madison & Tomah
The next weather system is winding up and heading for the Upper Midwest with heavy snow by Thursday. This one should get your attention if you’re planning travel Thursday south along I-35 or I-94.
Models agree on a potent and rapidly deepening surface low will track from Oklahoma to near Chicago by Thursday. This system has all the earmarks of a big snowmaker.
The track favors laying out a band of heavy snow of 6″ to 12″+ from Omaha to Des Moines, La Crosse, Tomah, Madison & Green Bay.
Image: NAM snowfall via wxcaster.com
Chicago’s northern suburbs may start as rain…then change to a few inches of wet snow as the system races by Thursday.
Winds behind the system will gust to 30 to 40+ mph, and I could see near blizzard conditions in much of Wisconsin Thursday & Thursday night.
If you are planning travel south or east toward Omaha, Kansas City, La Crosse, Madison or Chicago or Green Bay Thursday will bring a near impassible road conditions.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…DECORAH…WAUKON…CHARLES CITY…
NEW HAMPTON…OELWEIN…BLACK RIVER FALLS…LA CROSSE…SPARTA…
TOMAH…MAUSTON…VIROQUA…PRAIRIE DU CHIEN…RICHLAND CENTER…
900 AM CST TUE DEC 18 2012
…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING
THROUGH THURSDAY AFTERNOON…
* PLAN ON HEAVY SNOW WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH THURSDAY.
* A TOTAL OF 6 TO 12 INCHES OF SNOW IS EXPECTED.
* SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH WILL
ACCOMPANY THE HEAVY SNOWFALL AND COULD CAUSE NEAR BLIZZARD
* THIS STORM WILL LIKELY HAVE A HIGH IMPACT ON TRAVEL. THOSE
TRAVELING OR COMMUTING COULD FACE DANGEROUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
Roads should gradually improve during the day Friday. Wednesday & Saturday will be the better travel days.
Looking Ahead: Potential Post-Christmas “Gulf Storm” on the way?
Those new sleds under the tree may get a work out after Christmas.
This is a long way out, and mostly good for speculation at this point.
But the overnight European and GFS runs now favor a possible “Gulf Storm” scenario next Wednesday & Thursday December 26th & 27th for the Upper Midwest.
Image: Norwegian Met Institute
The models suggest a developing low pressure system dropping down over the Gulf of Mexico near Houston, Texas Christmas Day. The system then shoots almost straight north to just west of Milwaukee by the 26th.
Image: NOAA GFS Model
If that track pans out, it could throw a wide blanket fo heavy snow into the Upper Midwest including eastern Minnesota and the metro.
Gulf Storms are among the wettest and heaviest snow in Minnesota during winter. These big systems suck up and draw in copious amounts of warm moisture laden air from the Gulf, and wring it out over Minnesota as heavy wet snow. The Halloween-Mega Storm was essentially a “Gulf Storm.”
Snow: liquid ratios with Gulf Storms can be on the order of 8:1 or even 7:1. If we get a Gulf Storm next week, it will likely lock in heavy wet snow pack for the bulk of winter….unless we can manage a prolonged, sustained warm up.