Rain-sleet-snow picks up today & tonight; 3″ to 6″ Metro range likely by AM

Main Event this afternoon & tonight

It’s here!

All weather eyes are pointed southwest today as the “main body” of our latest “Wintril” storm moves in.

Precip coverage…and intensity is increasing again this afternoon and tonight. It’s mostly snow in western Minnesota, and a mixed bag of sleet…changing to all snow from west to east today in the metro.

Snow is spreading from west to east across the metro this afternoon. “Sleet Storm” conditions will produce accumulations of sleet in some areas today.

Sleet has changed to snow as of 11:15am at the weather lab in the west metro.

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Fresh sleet and snow accumulations on the “Weather Deck” in the west metro at 11:30am.

How much?

Solutions still center around a range of 3″ to 6″ of heavy wet wind whipped snow tonight for the metro, with heavier totals favoring the NW metro.

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The heaviest snow band appears lined up just west of the Twin Cities. Look for the potential for 6″ to 10″ along a Redwood Falls-Hutch-Annandale-St. Cloud-Mille Lacs-Duluth line.

Here is the latest NWS wording for areas northwest of the metro.

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…LITTLE FALLS…PRINCETON…MORA…

GLENWOOD…ST. CLOUD…FOLEY…ELK RIVER…CAMBRIDGE…

CENTER CITY…MADISON…BENSON…MONTEVIDEO…WILLMAR…

LITCHFIELD…MONTICELLO…MINNEAPOLIS…BLAINE…GRANITE FALLS…

OLIVIA…HUTCHINSON…GAYLORD…CHASKA…REDWOOD FALLS…

NEW ULM…ST. PETER

457 AM CDT THU APR 18 2013

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CDT

FRIDAY…

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CDT FRIDAY.

* TIMING: A MIXTURE OF RAIN…SLEET AND SNOW WILL TRANSITION TO

ALL SNOW TODAY…WITH PERIODS OF HEAVY SNOW THIS AFTERNOON INTO

TONIGHT.

* SNOW ACCUMULATION: 5 TO 8 INCHES.

* OTHER IMPACTS: STRONG NORTH WINDS ARE EXPECTED TODAY AND

TONIGHT. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 35 MPH

ARE EXPECTED. THIS WILL LEAD TO SOME BLOWING SNOW IN OPEN AREAS BY T0NIGHT.

Only in Minnesota: Statewide Tornado Drill today… in a snow storm

Did I mention this is severe Weather Awareness Week in MInnesota?

I didn’t think so. Hard to focus with all the snow talk…but severe weather is coming this year. By all indications it’s going to be a much more active season than last year…when 37 tornadoes skipped across Minnesota.

Here’s the schedule for today’s statewide tornado drill.

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I covered the story this week about the new use of smart billboards in the metro to broadcast tornado warnings to metro drivers.

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Here’s more in an email I received from Maria Baca with Hennepin County Emergency Management.


Billboards to give drivers larger-than-life tornado warnings

Motorists driving into a tornado warning in Hennepin and Ramsey counties’ will receive roadside alerts, thanks to a new collaboration between county emergency management divisions, ClearChannel Outdoor and the National Weather Service.

A new system, tested in downtown Minneapolis today, will make use of ClearChannel Outdoor commercial digital billboards to warn drivers of a tornado warning in their vicinity.

The goal of the partnership is to offer early warning and new training to drivers, who may be unable to hear tornado sirens inside their cars, or who may not be listening to radio stations that would warn them of a safety threat. The concept takes advantage of drivers’ natural conditioning to absorb the content on roadside signs.

Motorists and their passengers have proven to be a difficult audience to reach when severe weather strikes. According to the National Weather Service, 9 percent of the people who were killed by tornadoes in the United State between 1985 and 2008 were in their cars.

From now on, a National Weather Service-issued tornado warning will trip a targeted system to override commercial programming, starting in 15-minute increments, which can be extended if necessary. The company owns 22 of the billboards in Hennepin County and nine in Ramsey County.

Eventually, the hope is to expand the alerts to all 47 of the billboards around the metro area.

Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat saluted the partnership, and predicted that the signs will be a powerful tool to reach motorists.

“I’ve been struck by how many of these signs I see on my commute up and down I-94,” he said. “I certainly notice them, and I think other drivers do too.”

Noting the traditional difficulty alerting drivers to severe weather, Hennepin County Emergency Management Director Eric Waage called the billboards another tool to reach them.

“They’ll be able to become aware of what’s happening around them, and take actions that could save their lives,” he said.

Especially in areas that have a lot of foot traffic, such as the Eighth Street and Hennepin Avenue intersection downtown, where they were tested, the billboards also could prove important in the effort to channel pedestrians to safety.

ClearChannel Outdoor is providing the service at no cost to the county.

The Company’s president, Susan Adams Loyd, said the partnership is a logical step after previous collaborations with the city of Minneapolis to spread the word of Snow Emergency declarations, and with the State Patrol to encourage seat belt use.

Yet Another Wintery April Attack

Looking at the weather maps these days is like being an air traffic controller at MSP. Just guide the next storm in.

This tweet into the Weather Lab may best sum up our high level of “seasonal denial.”

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teandoranges, I too feel your pain. I’m getting tired of hearing myself talk about our unbearable weather these days.

Our latest Winter Storm Warning includes the northwest half of the Twin Cities metro.

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Look for a mixed bag Thursday in the metro…gradually changing to snow from west to east as the day progresses.

Right now I expect the best chance for 6″ in the northwest metro and beyond….with lesser totals in the southeast metro by Friday morning.

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All Aboard: Minnesota’s Storm Train

The next in our series of April “winter” storms arrives Thursday.

The NAM model below depicts one of the facets of this system as it moves through in pulses…or waves as the center of low pressure works in.

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Moisture Rich:

The Gulf of Mexico is wide open over the Midwest for a change the past two months. That means copious rainfall totals on the warm side of this system. Drought is definitely dwindling east of the Mississippi.

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Outbreak: Moderate severe risk into Illinois

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Your friends in St. Louis or Chicago will need to keep a wary eye on the sky in the next 24-36 hours. SPC highlights the risk, which may include some dreaded “long-tracked” tornadoes.

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Minnesnowta:

The system will gradually cool Thursday as the heavier precip moves on.

That means the rain snow line will move slowly east Thursday.

I expect mostly snow Thursday west of the metro along a Worthington- Redwood Falls-Willmar-St. Cloud-Duluth line.

A mixed bag of sleet and rain in the metro will trend toward all snow by Thursday evening. We could see some sleet accumulations Thursday. A million tiny “ball bearings” underfoot? Watch it driving and waking around.

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Main snow event Thursday night into Friday morning:

For the metro, it looks like the main event for heavy, wet, wind whipped snow will be Thursday night and Friday morning.

Right now my best estimate is for a general 2″ to 6″ across the metro from SE to NW. The best chance for 6″ appears to be in the northwest metro including Maple Grove, Buffalo, Rogers, Elk River and toward Annandale.

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We’re still in forecast mode with this system…so changes are likely depending on tonight’s…and even Thursday AM model runs.

70″ in St. Cloud this winter?

Here’s an interesting (and somewhat disturbing) tidbit. If St, Cloud picks up another 8″ with this system (not out of the question) it will be one of the top 5 snowiest winters on record.

Twin Cities NWS elaborates.

INTERESTING CLIMATE SIDE NOTE…IF CURRENT SNOWFALL FORECAST AT STC OF AROUND 8 INCHES COMES TO FRUITION…THIS WOULD PUSH ST. CLOUD OVER THE 70 INCH MARK FOR SNOWFALL THIS WINTER AND INTO THE TOP 5 FOR SNOWIEST WINTERS OF ALL TIME!

Folks in Duluth must be wondering if it will ever… ever stop?

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Ramblings of a weather mad newsman & radio host:

You know my good friend Tom Crann as the host of All Things Considered on MPR each weekday between 3pm & 6:30pm. Simply put, Tom is the best. But did you know Tom likes to “doodle” to prepare for our weather hits each day?

He tweeted his latest version today.

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Whatever gets you through our extended winter Tom.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

Things are still looking better for some long overdue 50s in the metro by late next week.

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The GFS runs are still insisting on 60s by the weekend of April 27th.

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Hang in there!

Stay tuned as we tweak the new numbers Thursday.

PH

  • Mark Countryman

    Just about fell off my chair laughing at that tweet post! Ditto, teandoranges, ditto! Yesterday I saw our resident chipmunk, Otis (so named by our son Phillip) running around on our patio. And no, he was not in a state of frozen suspension. Surely as a hammer will hit the ground when released from one’s grip, spring will eventually arrive.

  • Joanna Jones

    I told my son not to bother bringing his boots and snowpants to school today…we’re in Chaska… obviously I should have paid attention to the forecast. On another note….very excited to see the info about the billboards – I was driving through Minneapolis when the tornado came through and it was only because someone from home called me that I knew about the threat. Getting off the highway to shelter….that’s another story :-(