My former WCCO-TV colleague (and Minnesota TV legend) Dave Moore said it best.
“Make no big decisions in March in Minnesota.”
I miss Dave, and his gift to turn a phrase.
He nailed it. March can be a cruel month in Minnesota.
One day teases spring with sunny skies and temps pushing 40F. The next? Everything is coated with ice, rain and melting snow creates 10,000 news lakes in the streets, and slushy snow is piling up.
Welcome to a Minnesota March weekend.
In this Updraft we lay out the most likely sequence of events for this weekend’s slop storm.
Is it April yet?
Round 1: Overnight ice?
Low pressure is streaming north toward Minnesota this weekend.
As it does, the first wave of moisture will roll into southern Minnesota later this evening, and hit the Twin Cities between midnight and 3am.
Temps aloft will be warm enough for rain and sleet. Here on the ground, we’ll hover near the freezing mark. That means any liquid that falls will freeze on contact, and glaze ice is a possibility. The best chance of that appreas to be northwest of the metro…as metro temps try and hover just above freezing.
With temps near freezing some areas will get lucky and residual road salt may mean mostly wet streets. But everything else that is untreated may be covered with a coating of ice at least .10″ thick…and maybe up to .25″ in some areas.
Further west and deeper into the cold air, ice will be a more significant probelm.
Ice Storm Warnings have been issued for far weatern Minnesota and the eastern Dakoats.
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…WHEATON…ORTONVILLE…SISSETON…
1051 AM CST FRI MAR 8 2013
…ICE STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT CST SATURDAY NIGHT…
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ABERDEEN HAS ISSUED AN ICE STORM WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT CST SATURDAY NIGHT. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.
* TIMING…FREEZING RAIN WILL SPREAD INTO THE REGION THIS EVENING.
THE FREEZING RAIN WILL LINGER THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON BEFORE TURNING OVER TO SNOW.
* WINDS/VISIBILITY…NORTH TO NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE SATURDAY EVENING. THESE WINDS COULD CAUSE PROBLEMS ON POWER LINES AND TREES IF SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATIONS OCCUR.
* SNOW/ICE ACCUMULATIONS…ICE ACCUMULATIONS OF OVER ONE QUARTER INCH OR MORE ARE POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORM…WITH ISOLATED AMOUNTS CLOSE TO 0.40 INCH POSSIBLE. ONCE SNOW BEGINS TO FALL..1 TO 3 INCHES OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH SUNDAY MORNING.
* OTHER IMPACTS…DRIVING WILL BECOME DIFFICULT…IF NOT DANGEROUS WITH THE ICE ACCUMULATIONS ALONG WITH ANY SNOWFALL AND WIND BEHIND IT SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING.
Bottom line? Expect some icing in the metro and much of central Minnesota overnight into early Saturday A. A full blown ice storm is likely in far western Minnesota.
Round #2: Metro Rain & snow up north
Saturday will be warm enough for just plain rain in the metro.
With temps rising to between 37F and 40F, and as much as .50″ rain coming down…there will be water in the streets. Liquid totals may approach 1″ in some areas this weekend.
Melting snowfall and clogged icy gutters will mean some giant puddles capable of offering a free car wash as you drive through.
Up north & west, it should remain cold enough for wet sloppy snow from Morris through Brainerd, The Iron Range and along the North Shore ridges. 3″ to 6″ may accumulate in this band.
Round #3: Wet slushy snow
By Saturday night as the low swings by, enough cold air will be drawn south into the metro to change rain to wet slushy snowflakes.
Most models are indicating about .20″ moisture after the changeover…which may have a hard time accumulating more than a coating of metro slush by Sunday morning, with heavier snows south/east of the Twin Cities.
The exception is the NAM…which is going hog wild and brining a band of 3″ top 5″ into the SE half of the metro.
The Twin Cities NWS Friday PM forecast discussion comments on the potential for a narrow heavier snow band (possibly 3″ to 6″) to set up just SE…or very close to the metro Saturday night into Sunday AM.
THE SYSTEM BECOMES FURTHER COMPLEX SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY
MORNING WITH MODELS GENERATING ANOTHER POST-FRONTAL BAND OF MDT-
HVY SNOW FROM SC MN NEWD INTO WC WI. THE EC IS THE ONLY MODEL TO
NOT HAVE THIS AT ALL AND SEEMS MUCH TOO PROGRESSIVE COMPARED TO
THE REMAINING GUIDANCE. AMONG THE REMAINING GUIDANCE…THIS NARROW
BAND OF SNOW IS DISPLACED DOZENS OF MILES IN EITHER DIRECTION.
COULD SEE SEVERAL INCHES IN A NARROW CORRIDOR. HOWEVER…GIVEN
THAT THERE IS A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY WITH THIS FINAL BAND…AND THAT
UPSTREAM OFFICES HAVE HELD OFF…DECIDED TO ALSO FORGO A WINTER
STORM WATCH FOR NOW.
Stay tuned..but right now I am leaning toward the northern/southern solution which would keep the heavier band of snows north of the metro Saturday…and south of the metro (Mankato, Red Wing, Owatonna, Winona) Saturday night into Sunday.
Craig Edwards will be dogging any changes this weekend, but the bottom line is… it’s going to be wet!