It’s a whopper: Biggest snow in nearly 2 years; Cold next

AM flurries give way to PM sun today

9″ to 16″ snowfall range in metro with Sunday’s snow blitz

10.5″ at MSP Airport Sunday set a new daily snowfall record for December 9th

Latest snowfall totals here – final totals will be published Monday by NWS

22 months since last snowfall this big at MSP Airport (13.8″ Feb 20-21, 2011)

17.3″ at Sacred Heart in Renville County along Highway 212 W of the metro

White Gold Snow blitz is a bonus for ski areas and other snow driven business

“Best (snow blower) sales day since December of 2010.” – anonymous quote on Sunday’s run on snow blowers from MN Forecaster website


10.5 in Golden Valley……..yeah Bill it has been a top notch sales day for snowblowers and shovels,at the end of the day we will be out of both,even though we got an emergency snowblower shipment yesterday morning when I made the call for more with the storm shifting south….this is awesome,this is what I’m talking about…………can never lock in on a solution too early storms always shift at the last moment,best sales day since December of 2010.

Detailed map and listing of snowfall totals here.

Blizzard Conditions verified with gusts to 51 mph and near zero visibility in SW MN Sunday evening

Near -20F in northwest MN as bitterly cold air pours in behind the system

Colder Monday with temps moderating into low 30s by midweek

White Christmas in the bag? Snow should stick around next 2 weeks at least…and maybe until March

Another snow chance next weekend?

1″+ liquid water content in snow pack won’t soak into soils much, but may help boost river & lake levels in spring

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Image: Paul Huttner MPR News

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

935 PM CST SUN DEC 09 2012

…PRELIMINARY SNOW FALL TOTALS…

…MORE REPORTS EXPECTED THROUGH THE NIGHT…

…FINAL TOTALS WILL BE PUBLISHED MONDAY…

SNOW REPORTS LISTED BY AMOUNT

INCHES LOCATION ST COUNTY TIME

—— ———————– — ————– ——-

16.00 3 N LINO LAKES MN ANOKA 0741 PM

REPORT FROM COLUMBUS… STILL SNOWING LIGHTLY

15.80 HUGO MN WASHINGTON 0900 PM

STILL SNOWING LIGHTLY

15.50 ISANTI MN ISANTI 0730 PM

LIGHT SNOW FALLING…THOUGH NOW STARTING TO

GET BLOWN BY WINDS.

15.20 HAM LAKE MN ANOKA 0643 PM

STILL SNOWING

14.90 1 ESE CAMBRIDGE MN ISANTI 0830 PM

STILL SNOWING LIGHTLY

14.00 FALCON HEIGHTS MN RAMSEY 0904 PM

STILL LIGHTLY SNOWING

14.00 3 E EAST FARMINGTON WI POLK 0638 PM

STILL FALLING

14.00 4 SSE SILVER CREEK MN WRIGHT 0523 PM

STILL SNOWING 1/4 MILE VISIBLITY.

13.50 OSCEOLA WI POLK 0625 PM

STILL SNOWING

13.50 FOREST LAKE MN WASHINGTON 0516 PM

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Image: Caltech

The “Perfect Storm”

In many ways, this turned out to be the “perfect storm” for Minnesota snow lovers.

The GFS model hinted at snow as early as last weekend for the metro. In fact the GFS was the best performing model in what turned out to be a very difficult snow forecast.

The usually more reliable NAM and European models were lost with this system most of last week. The GFS hinted that something was there all week long, but models waffled back and forth on a southern solution …then finally grabbed hold of the trend of a bigger snow storm on Thursday night. By Friday the models painted a northern storm track that would have laid the heaviest snow out from Brainerd to Duluth. Finally, the storm track shifted south less than 12 hours before the snow began to fly.

4 main factors made this storm a huge snow producer:

1) Late storm track shift south:

Friday’s models seemed to be in consensus that the storm track would lay the heaviest band of snow from about Brainerd to Duluth.

Suddenly Saturday afternoon the 18z model runs shifted the storm track south. That raised alarm bells in the Weather Lab and at NWS that metro snowfall would go higher.

The southerly track turned out to be ideal, and put the Twin Cities in the “sweet spot” for heavy snow.

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Image: Twin Cities NWS

2) Slower storm:

The storm slowed down over the Upper Midwest as it took the southerly route. This meant a longer duration of snowfall…and more accumulation overall.

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Image: Twin Cities NWS

3) Deeper storm:

The system actually deepened more than forecast. This produced more intense “banding” of snowfall and higher snowfall rates.

4) Cold air behind

Bitterly cold, sub-zero air sucked in behind the storm into northwest Minnesota helped deepen the system, and made it a more “efficient” snow producer. Temps hovered near or below zero in northwest Minnesota Sunday, and fed into the backside of the system on gusty northwest winds.

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This helped generate blizzard conditions in western Minnesota.

This was a beautiful storm and a great start (if a little late) to the snow season in the metro and most of southern Minnesota.

White Christmas in the bag? More snow too?

Looking ahead, it is likely that most of this snow will be here on Christmas Day.

Temps this week will stay mostly below freezing. A chilly Monday with temps in the teens will give way to moderating temps into the lower 30s by mid-week.

It’s early but the GFS and Euro are hinting at the chance for more snow next weekend.

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Image: GFS forecast for next Saturday via College of DuPage

The GFS also hints at another chance of snow late the following week.

With temps below freezing most of the next 2 weeks and additional snow chances, I’d say were looking at a near 100% chance of a White Christmas in the metro this year.

Enjoy the snow!

PH

  • Keith

    Paul, thanks for being the best in your field. We moved to NYC last spring and I still go to you for weather trends (leading into Sandy you were my preferred source). In fact, my wife and boys are visiting MN right now and we laughed about three weeks ago when you said that all this rain in California would eventually lead to the Twin Cities possibly getting a whopper around Dec 10. You nailed it again!!! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us.

  • Paul Huttner

    Thanks Keith:

    I needed that on an early Monday morning after a really long weekend!

    PH

  • Lars

    Thanks Paul!

    Instant Winter!!! Do you know the probability of a storm track like this one shifting–15, 25%?

  • Virginia

    I hope we all get our white christmas!