Storm ramps up: winter storm warnings for Thursday AM rush

Winter storm intensifying

Our inbound snow system appears to have taken a shot of weather steroids.

Wednesday evening’s model runs have picked up on two trends that look to bring heavier snowfall to the Twin Cities Thursday morning.

  • The system is taking a more northward track that should bring the heaviest snowfall bands near the Twin Cities.
  • The system that’s gaining strength, and will likely produce more intense snowfall rates and dump higher overall system totals.

Based on the changes, I am upping the snowfall forecast for the Twin Cities area to a 3 to 6 inch overall range. I also expect the heaviest snowfall rates — up to 1 to 2 inches per hour — to come down during morning rush Thursday.

This will make for a very difficult morning commute, probably a hassle factor of an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.

Bottom line: Expect a very difficult commute with heavy snow falling, poor visibility and snow covered roads Thursday morning. If you must travel, plan on at least double commute times Thursday morning.

Twin Cities NWS

The Twin Cities National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning that includes the metro late Wednesday evening for Thursday morning.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
817 PM CST WED JAN 29 2014

…THURSDAY MORNING COMMUTE EXPECTED TO BE SEVERELY IMPACTED BY HEAVY SNOW…

A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS NORTHERN IOWA AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA EARLY THURSDAY MORNING AND QUICKLY EXIT THE REGION THURSDAY AFTERNOON. HEAVY SNOW ON THE NORTHERN SIDE OF THIS SYSTEM WILL BRING SEVERAL INCHES DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE. THIS WILL BE A HIGH IMPACT EVENT WITH SNOW RATES OF 1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR POSSIBLE.

DUE TO THE HIGH IMPACT NATURE OF THIS SYSTEM…A WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM THE TWIN CITIES METRO EASTWARD ACROSS MOST OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN WHERE THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL. A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY HAS BEEN POSTED ELSEWHERE.

817 PM CST WED JAN 29 2014

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM TO NOON CST THURSDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM TO NOON CST THURSDAY.

* TIMING…SNOW WILL BEGIN AROUND 4 OR 5 AM AND QUICKLY BECOME HEAVY BY 6 AM. THE HEAVY SNOW WILL PERSIST THROUGH THE ENTIRE MORNING RUSH HOUR BEFORE TAPERING OFF IN THE MID TO LATE
MORNING.

* SNOW ACCUMULATION…4 TO 6 INCHES…WITH LOCALLY HIGHER TOTALS POSSIBLE.

* MAIN IMPACT…SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL PROBLEMS ARE EXPECTED AS THE HEAVIEST SNOW ARRIVES DURING RUSH HOUR.

Image: Twin Cities NWS
Twin Cities NWS

A ‘Wyoming Winder’?

Call it a “Wyoming Winder” if you want, but this is not your typical Alberta Clipper. This one comes in straight from the west, and winds up and intensifies right over Minnesota.

Here’s the storm track from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale Forecast System. Click to animate.

NOAA

Increasing snowfall totals

Wednesday evening’s model runs grabbed onto a much stronger system, aimed right at the Twin Cities. Here’s the updated NAM model snowfall output, which lays an enhanced band of 3 to 6 inches right across the Twin Cities.

NOAA via wxcaster.com

Heavier snowfall rates, snowbursts could occur with his system during  morning rush hour. That may mean 1 to 2 inches per hour accumulation rates at times Thursday morning.

Again, bottom line is expect heavy snow and a very rough commute Thursday AM rush hour.

Be safe out there!

  • DA

    Was freezing rain forecast with this storm? I didn’t see anything about in the past couple days, but we definitely got some in Burnsville.