Old Man Winter will finish strong

We may be able to see the finish line for the meteorological winter that ends on Feb. 28, but we are likely to experience some of the strongest punches of the winter of 2012-2013 in the next ten days.

Blizzard conditions raged in portions of the eastern Dakotas and western Minnesota Monday afternoon as a strong cold front whipped winds up to 45 mph resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow. Visibility at times was down to a quarter-mile. Meanwhile, wind chill readings plummeted below zero.

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Orange shaded area is under a Blizzard warning until midnight. Other highlighted areas are for hazardous winter weather of blowing snow and dangerous wind chill readings.

From the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minn:

340 PM CST MON FEB 18 2013

…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST

TONIGHT…

…WIND CHILL ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO NOON

CST TUESDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT

TO NOON CST TUESDAY. A BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL

MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT.

* MAIN IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS…BLOWING SNOW…

AND FALLING TEMPERATURES WILL LEAD TO DANGEROUS TRAVEL

CONDITIONS. WHITEOUT CONDITIONS ARE BEING REPORTED AND WILL

CONTINUE INTO THE EVENING. ROADWAYS SHOULD REMAIN SLICK AND SNOW

COVERED IN STRETCHES FOR MUCH OF THE NIGHT.

* OTHER IMPACTS: DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS OF 25 TO 35 BELOW ZERO ARE

EXPECTED TONIGHT AS THE TEMPERATURE CONTINUES TO FALL AND THE

WIND REMAINS STRONG.

Snowfall accumulation overnight will be minimal, but you’ll notice the much colder temperatures, accompanied by biting northwest winds.

Tuesday is expected to feel every bit like mid-winter. February sunshine is not expected to offset single-digit temperatures.

The NAM paints this forecast of bitter temperatures on Wednesday morning.

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NAM forecast temperatures and wind near surface level at 6 a.m. CST Wednesday. Note the minimum of 20 below zero or greater in south central Minnesota.

Source:NOAA/College of Dupage

In the stillness of Saturday morning, hoarfrost formed as a deposit of ice crystal attached to tree limbs. A beautiful portrait of the solitude of a winter morning was captured by photographer Fr. Paul Kammen.

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Image:Fr. Paul Kammen

More hoarfrost near Delano, Minn. shortly after daybreak on Saturday.

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Image:Fr. Paul Kammen

Eyes are turned to a potential snowfall of several inches in southern Minnesota Thursday into Friday morning.

Computer models have been advising of a developing low pressure to track in a favorable path that could dump several inches of snow in northern Iowa into southern Minnesota beginning Thursday morning.

While the system may not get wound up into a deep low pressure center, the track and the duration of the precipitation could result in plowable snow by Thursday evening.

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NAM output of six-hourly liquid precipitation ending at 6 p.m. CST Thursday with surface pressure pattern. Note that the snow-to-water ratio may be on the order of 15 to 1 which could result upwards of six inches of snow in northern Iowa and southwest Minnesota during the day on Thursday.Source:NAM/College of Dupage

The snow area is forecast to expand north on Thursday night. Stay tuned for details on snow accumulation in your neck of the woods.

One of the things I have observed in the past couple of days is the formation of roof top icicles and possible ice dams. This could become a more serious problem if additional snow accumulation takes place on Thursday and Friday.

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Image:YAHOO/goldenvalleymn.gov

Read more on formation and dealing with ice jams by clicking here.

On a side note, the wind chill readings were in the 30s this morning in Ft. Myers, Fla. They recovered nicely to a high in the lower 70s this afternoon.

  • MSP_pilot

    Can you please explain how can Bemidji and Brainerd are reporting -SN now around 00Z, but radar is showing zero return?

  • Craig

    automated sensors are detecting the blowing snow with overcast skies. The automation of the equipment translates that to falling snow. Early today Grand Forks, ND had an inch of snow. With winds over 40 mph the blowing snow was also being reported as falling snow this afternoon.

    Blizzard conditions are defined as falling or blowing snow being whipped by winds of 35 mph or more and visibilities are frequently at or below a quarter mile.

    Snow on radar increased in coverage between 430pm and 530pm in northeast Minnesota.

    Bundle up.

  • MSP_pilot

    Thank you!

  • Zelch

    Interesting, there always seems to be a vast difference between the forecasts I read here and the one the NOAA puts out. Initially, the NOAA was talking about a major storm affecting the entire region with 8-12 inches of snow, this was a couple days ago. Now, as usual, they have backed off with their bullish predictions but they are still predicting heavy snow as far north as St. Cloud Thursday night. The latest forecast discussion says 4-7 inches north of I-94 and 5-9 inches south. I’d be willing to bet that we do see some snow, but it will probably be in the 2-4 inch range. The NOAA is wrong more times than they’re right about winter storms. We haven’t really seen a bad snow storm since 2010. The December 2012 storm was strong, but certainly not bad by our standards. I doubt we get another major storm this winter (8+ inches) We need the moisture and we definitely needed snow this winter.