Slushy Sunday underfoot; Arctic air ahead?

.38″ rain at the Weather Lab in the west metro Saturday

Dense fog favors metro & eastern MN through Sunday morning

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Coating slushy accumulation in the metro

Pond Hockey anyone? Local organizers in search of arctic air to freeze lakes solid

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Wet streets and new weekend puddles Saturday

Image: Paul Huttner-MPR News

Mid December “Slop Storm:”

Welcome to the Land of 10,000 Puddles.

Our sloppy weekend system is coming in as advertised. We should be adding up inches in the metro with mid December systems. Instead I’m watching my roof and driveway melt away, and water is everywhere in the streets.

Yes, “slop storm” is a technical term we learned in meteorology school.

Our slow moving weathermaker is finally tapping slightly colder air. Snow has been falling in western Minnesota and up north. 2″+ of wet slushy snow is already down at Motley and Canby, more is on the way before the snow winds down Sunday.

Rain is changing to snow in a gradual northwest to southeast progression overnight through Sunday.

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There is just enough cold air filtering in to produce some pretty decent snowfall totals in an arc from Canby & Redwood Falls, through Alex, Little Falls, Brainerd, Grand Rapids and the Iron Range…to along the North Shore & Ely.

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Image: Duluth NWS

A general 3″ to 6″ should fall by Sunday PM in these areas, and I won’t be shocked to see a few 6″+ totals.

Thick fog blankets parts of Minnesota today. MPR’s Tom Weber snapped this photo along I-35 south of Duluth.

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Image: Tom Weber MPR News

Metro: Rain to slush

In the Twin Cities metro, rain reluctantly changes to snow Saturday night. By midday Sunday, a slushy coating to as much as 2″ will redecorate the landscape. The best chance for 2″ will be in the northwest half of the metro.

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Image: NOAA NAM model via

The system finally pulls out Sunday as snow tapers from west to east.

Looking ahead: White cold Christmas?

The lack of arctic air behind this weekend’s weather system is the reason we’re not counting up inches in the metro. No major cold follows this system, and temps should stay warm for December most of next week….with highs in the lower 30s.

The models are battling it out again over the track of the next storm system, which charges out of the southwest next Wednesday.

So far the Euro likes the southern track and brings a whopper storm to Chicago, Madison & Milwaukee by next Thursday. The GFS slides the storm a little closer to Minnesota…with heavy snow into Rochester & La Crosse…..and grazes the metro.

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The air looks cold enough that we should be dealing with all snow for this one. If you’re planning pre-Christmas travel to Iowa, Madison or Chicago keep an eye on evolving forecasts next week.

Stay tuned as we watch the path of what looks like a productive snowmaker.

That system should begin to drag down some more “seasonable” cold south from Canada by late next week. Temps may hover in the teens or low 20s as we move toward Christmas, so any snow we have around will be here. I could see a White Christmas from Canada to Chicago this year.

The GFS “fantasyland” forecast is hinting at another potentially big snowmaker the weekend after Christmas. We’ll see.

In search of safe ice

The outlook for colder temps in late December is good news for ice lovers in Minnesota.

There is still open water on some southern Minnesota lakes…in mid-December!

Check out the high resolution (250meter) visible satellite shot from NASA’s MODIS Terra project from Thursday. You can clearly see the snow covered lakes on Mille Lacs and Gull, and open water on Lake Minnetonka in the west metro.


Image: SSEC at UW Madison

What ice has formed is not even close to safe in southern Minnesota.

If the GFS forecast of much colder air by late December pans out that will be great news for ice fisher folk, ice boaters and pond hockey organizers. The old saying is, you need a good solid week of temps near or below zero at night to make safe ice. It looks like that may happen as we move toward New Year’s Day.

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Pond Hockey anyone?

If you are looking to get out and enjoy winter, consider getting a team together for one of our famous Minnesota pond hockey tournaments in January. Even if you don’t play, there are plenty of great events to enjoy.

You can check out the North American Pond Hockey Championships in Excelsior January 25-27th.

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This community lost our big hearted friend Dave Bigham (Bigsy) this year, and proceeds from the event benefit the Bigham family and ALS.

The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships is the weekend of January 18-20 on Lake Nokomis. This is another great opportunity to get out and play…or watch some great hockey on our frozen Minnesota lakes.

Now if the cold air finally arrives, we’ll be good to go for full blown winter on “The Frozen Tundra” in Minnesota.



  • Joe

    I have noticed that the GFS has been more accurate lately than the Euro. That seems unusual to me. Also I have noticed that the last two storms have shifted farther North than they were projected to be 5 days out. That gives me hope that the next storm will shift North as well. Count me on the snow lover side of the coin, though I don’t much care for the cold anymore. Does anyone else find these trends true as well?

  • Paul Huttner

    Agree: The GFS has done better lately. Let’s see how it handles the next one.