Alberta Clipper brings snow to northwest counties

Early this Monday morning an Alberta Clipper spinning over northwestern Minnesota is spreading snow across the north. Several inches of snow is expected today with the highest amounts likely in the far northern counties.

The heaviest part of this storm will be in the northwest corner where conditions already are nasty. Winds from the north-northwest are gusting to nearly 50 mph in the Rosseau-Hallock-Grand Forks area and are causing enough blowing and drifting snow to reduce visibilities to a quarter of a mile or less. A Blizzard Warning is in effect for the Red River Valley area north of Fargo. Travel is not advised for that area including on I-29 in the Grand Forks and Grafton, North Dakota, areas.

Here is a summary of the situation from the National Weather Service Office in Grand Forks:

GFK February 18.png

An Arctic cold front sweeping eastward across Minnesota today will affect all of us.

Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for much of Minnesota mainly west, northwest and southwest of the Twin Cities including Chaska, Mankato, Hutchinson, Litchfield, Monticello, St. Cloud and Morris. While little snow will fall in these areas, the wind will blow harder as the day goes on. Gusts of 30 to 40 mph are likely in open areas from the Twin Cities to points west this afternoon, and stronger gusts over 40 mph are likely up toward Alexandria. Blowing snow and limited visibilities will cause travel difficulties this afternoon and tonight, mainly in open areas.

MNDOT has a great website with current travel conditions statewide. Go to the site and select which version is best for you. And you can zoom in to specific parts of the state.

For the metro area, the Arctic front will blast through by lunchtime. Temperatures will peak in the low 30s this morning and then fall into the teens by early evening. Some occasional light snow is possible around the metro but any accumulation that occurs should be less than an inch.

Winds will continue tonight and metro temperatures will drop to around zero in the Twin Cities and sub-zero in the suburbs.

Temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday will run about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. Highs on Tuesday will range from 5 below way up north to 10 above in the south.

The normal low and high temperatures for the Twin Cities for today are 14 and 30 degrees.

The next storm will head our way from the Central Plains and sneak into Minnesota from the southwest beginning early on Thursday. At this point, it looks as though the biggest snowfalls will be in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa as it is forecast to weaken as it crosses Minnesota. This slow-moving storm will affect mainly southern Minnesota and then Wisconsin.

Here is the GFS model’s forecast of the precipitation for the six hours ending at 6 p.m. on Thursday:

gfs feb 18.gif

credit:NOAA/College of DuPage

The long-range GFS model also is indicating the likelihood of yet another snowmaker. This one could come in from the southwest late Sunday and linger into Monday.

But let’s take it one storm at a time.

Bill Endersen

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