Another snowy Monday AM commute; Blizzard warnings west of metro

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Monday Storm Arrives: Snow burst then wind

Our next weathermaker is lashing Minnesota with another blast of wintery weather on this Monday. The late Sunday night model runs and radar trends continue to support the notion of a heavy snowburst Monday morning, followed by increasing winds Monday afternoon and evening.

If any trends are emerging early this Monday AM, it may be to favor the lower end of my snowfall forecast range below.

Here are some quick headlines for our latest storm.

-A deepening low pressure system is coming together over Minnesota overnight. The system will bring a blast of snow, followed by high winds and blowing snow in open areas Monday.

-Blizzard Warnings are in effect today and include far west metro counties.

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-Winter Weather Advisories include the Twin Cities metro.

-Monday morning’s commute will feature falling snow – another challenging AM commute in the metro.

-Between 2″ and 4″ of snow is likely in the metro with this system

-Between 5″ and 10″ of snow is likely in northern Minnesota including Red River Valey, Bemidji, Brainerd, Iron Range, International Falls, Ely, North Shore & Duluth.

-Wind may be the biggest point of emphasis with this storm. Look for gusts of 40 to 50+ mph to cause blowing snow with blizzard conditions in open areas in western and central Minnesota by Monday afternoon.

-Could this be the last significant winter storm of the season in the metro?

In this Updraft update we’ll check the storm track, the snow totals and the wind which will give us an old fashioned January blizzard…in March.

And a year ago today it was 80F in the metro.

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Here’s the latest “multimedia briefing” on the storm from the Twin Cities NWS.

Storm Track: Model “consensus?”

It looks like the forecast models may have finally reached consensus on the track of Monday’s storm. The NAM, GFS, Euro and (finally) the Canadian GEM model all track a deepening surface low from near Aberdeen, SD to near Duluth Monday.

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The northerly track falvors laying down the heaviest snows across the northern half of Minnesota.

Timing:

The main “frontal band” of moderate to heavy snow should is moving through Minnesota early this Monday morning.

Look for the heaviest burst of snow with the frontal band between about 3 am and 9 am in the metro. Snow should taper off suddenly from west to east this morning on the systems back side. We may see some additonal wrap around snow later Monday PM, mainly north of the metro.

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Unfortunately, the timing and intensity of the snow burst right before AM rush means yet another messy Monday AM commute.

Snowfall Totals:

Our initial impressions Friday suggested the heaviest snows would favor the northern half of Minnesota, and that still looks very likely.

All weather is local as they say, so how much snow is likely in your backyard with this system?

Northwest Minnesota should see the heaviest totals where 6″ to 10″ will fall.

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Lake and terrain induced (orographic) snow bursts will enhance snow on the ridge above Lake Superior. That could produce some hefty snowfall totals on the ridge above the North Shore communities.

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In southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities, most of the accumulating snow will come with the “frontal band” as it moves through early Monday AM. That will limit the duration of moderate to heavy to snowfall 3-6 hours, but snowfall should be intense enough (.50″ to 1″ per hour) during that time frame to produce 2″ to 4″ snow totals in the metro.

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Because the storm is deepening as it moves east, the best chance for 4″+ should be in the northeast metro.

Wind Whipped:

The main feature with the storm later Monday will be high winds. It only takes a few inches of fresh snow…and winds over 40 mph to generate a blizzard.

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…ALEXANDRIA…LONG PRAIRIE…MORRIS…

GLENWOOD…ST. CLOUD…MADISON…BENSON…MONTEVIDEO…WILLMAR…

LITCHFIELD…MONTICELLO…GRANITE FALLS…OLIVIA…HUTCHINSON…

GAYLORD…CHASKA…SHAKOPEE…REDWOOD FALLS…NEW ULM…

ST. PETER…LE SUEUR…FARIBAULT…ST. JAMES…MANKATO…WASECA…

OWATONNA…FAIRMONT…BLUE EARTH…ALBERT LEA

827 PM CDT SUN MAR 17 2013

…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 1 AM

CDT TUESDAY…

A BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM MONDAY TO 1 AM CDT

TUESDAY.

* WINDS/VISIBILITY: SUSTAINED 25 TO 35 MPH…WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH. VISIBILITY ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS…INCLUDING NEAR ZERO IN OPEN AREAS.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: 2 TO 4 INCHES.

* TIMING: SNOW WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE REGION TONIGHT AND TAPER OFF

LATE MONDAY MORNING. STRONG WINDS WILL THEN DEVELOP MONDAY

MORNING BEHIND A COLD FRONT AND LAST THROUGH MONDAY EVENING.

Look for northwest wind gusts to 40 mph + in open areas west of the metro Monday, and Blizzard Warnings are in effect for that reason.

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Blowing snow, reduced visibilities and drifting over roadways will make for dicey travel by Monday afternoon.

The Good News: Last big winter storm of the season?

After Monday, the rest of the week looks quiet. Other than a few flurries, I don’t see any more significant snowfall in sight this week…and maybe for the rest of the spring. I’m not making that a declarative statement yet…I think it will snow again, and we can still see snow in April. But the maps do look encouraging, and I’d say there’s a better than 50% chance that this is our last significant snow storm ( combination of snow, wind & arctic cold) of the winter season.

Somewhat milder temps should arrive next week.

Bold Prediction: Spring will eventually arrive, the sun will shine and the snow will melt. It will get warmer in Minnesota in the next few weeks. And there will be sunny days, and baseball.

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In the mean time, the early long range look out to April 1st and the Twins opening day at Target Field looks seasonably cool (40s?)…and potentially wet. Of course that forecast can… and probably will change.

Let’s hope it changes for the better!

PH

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