All weather is local.
That’s especially true today as morning rush commuters escaped problems in the Twin Cities, while travelers along Interstate 35 and Interstate 94 north and west of the metro cope with heavy snow bursts.
It’s as if our post-eclipse, tax week storm filed for a bit of an “extension” in the metro. The slower system is good news for morning commuters, but still holds the promise of an afternoon and evening slop storm.
Here are the latest headlines on our still incoming system.
- Moderate to heavy snow is falling along the I-94 corridor from Fargo through Alexandria, Minn., to near St. Cloud, then east to Mille Lacs Lake, Cambridge, Minn., to Rice Lake Wis.
- Winter storm warnings remain in effect for much of central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.
- The Twin Cities area rides the edge of the rain-snow line today with a mix of rainy precip today changing to all snow tonight.
- Metro roads will be mostly dry this morning, then wet this afternoon with rain before some evening snow.
- Heaviest snow totals are still aiming north of the metro where 6 to 12 inches likely for St. Cloud to Hinckley, Minn., and into northwest Wisconsin.
- The Twin Cities is still likely to get a burst of 1 to 3 inches tonight, with heaviest totals favoring the north metro communities.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center gets in on the action
What do you do when you work in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center and there’s not much severe weather action? Issue discussions on snowfall rates of course.
Feed your inner Weather Geek with the latest “mesoscale convective discussion” from NOAA regarding heavy snowfall rates of 1 inch per hour in central Minnesota today.
MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 0362
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
0647 AM CDT WED APR 16 2014
AREAS AFFECTED…CENTRAL MN AND NWRN WI
VALID 161147Z – 161745Z
SUMMARY…A WSW-ENE ORIENTED BAND OF SNOW…WITH RATES AROUND 1 INCH PER HOUR…IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP DURING THE MID TO LATE MORNING ACROSS PORTIONS OF CENTRAL MN INTO NWRN WI…GENERALLY 20-30 MILES EITHER SIDE OF A LINE FROM 25 MI SE OF ALEXANDRIA MN TO 15 MI S OF ASHLAND WI.
DISCUSSION…A SHORTWAVE TROUGH…CURRENTLY MOVING INTO CENTRAL SD/NRN NEB PER WATER VAPOR IMAGERY…WILL PROGRESS EWD THIS MORNING REACHING ERN SD BY 18Z. AT 11Z…AN ATTENDANT SURFACE LOW WAS LOCATED IN SRN SD BETWEEN 9V9 AND MHE…WITH A WARM FRONT EXTENDING EWD INTO FAR SWRN MN AND THEN SEWD INTO EAST CENTRAL IA. THIS BOUNDARY WILL CONTINUE TO ADVANCE NWD INTO SRN MN THIS MORNING AS THE SURFACE LOW TRACKS INTO FAR NWRN IA BY EARLY AFTERNOON.
SOME AMPLIFICATION OF THE SHORTWAVE TROUGH IS EXPECTED AS THIS SYSTEM BECOMES MORE NEUTRALLY ORIENTED AND SUBSEQUENTLY SUSTAINS A 50-65 KT SSWLY LLJ THAT CURRENTLY EXTENDS INTO CENTRAL IA. THE NOSE OF THIS LLJ WILL SHIFT INTO SRN/CENTRAL MN AND FAR NWRN WI BETWEEN 15-18Z WITH STRONG LOW-LEVEL WAA DEVELOPING ACROSS THE DISCUSSION AREA. UPWARD VERTICAL MOTION WILL BE FURTHER ENHANCED DURING THIS TIME PERIOD WITH THE APPROACH OF THE MIDLEVEL TROUGH AND AS THE EXIT REGION OF AN ACCOMPANYING 50-60 KT SWLY JET STREAK REACHES CENTRAL MN/NWRN WI. FORECAST SOUNDINGS SUGGEST THE INCREASING UVVS SHOULD OCCUR WITHIN THE DENDRITIC GROWTH ZONE OF A MOIST PROFILE… ESPECIALLY BY LATE MORNING…WHILE THE THERMODYNAMIC PROFILE FROM THE SURFACE TO 3 KM WILL AT TIMES BE ISOTHERMAL SUPPORTING AN AGGREGATION PROCESS.
Translation? It’s going to snow hard at the rate of 1 inch per hour plus for much of the day in central Minnesota north of the metro as the system gains strength and gets its act together.
Here’s the system overview from the Duluth National Weather Service.
Travel conditions across the Northland will deteriorate very quickly as the day wears on. Snow will spread northward into the region as the morning continues, with snow becoming heavy at times.
Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories are in effect for much of the region. The heaviest amounts, in excess of a foot, are expected across southern and eastern portions of the Northland.
The Twin Ports can expect to see amounts in the proximity of a foot, with locally higher amounts in the higher terrain possible. More than a foot is expected in northern Wisconsin and East Central Minnesota. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches an hour will be possible at times, with visibilities less than a quarter mile in the heavier snow bands.
Gusty east to northeast winds will also cause blowing and drifting snow. If you will be traveling across the region today into Thursday, please monitor the latest forecasts as this will be a rapidly developing storm system.
The slower storm motion means the metro caught a break from a snowy morning rush. Here’s the latest estimate on precip timing from the Twin Cities National Weather Service.
The latest radar trends and model output still suggest the rain snow line across the metro today, with a shot of snow in the metro tonight.
It still looks like a radically sharp snowfall gradient from south to north across the metro by morning. Lakeville may be searching for snowflakes, while Lino Lakes digs out from a few inches.
Here’s the view from NOAA’s North American Mesoscale Forecast System.
Here today, gone tomorrow
The system rapidly ejects eastward Thursday as sunshine returns, and snow begins to melt away again as high pressure builds back in.
Last wintry gasp?
Minnesota forecaster rule number one: Never predict the last snowfall of the season with complete certainty in mid-April.
That caveat aside, things look much warmer as we move into the weekend and next week. The next wave of (rain) showers rolls in Saturday into early Easter morning. Sunshine Easter Sunday afternoon could boost temps into the upper 50s in the metro.
Spring comeback next week!
This looks promising folks! All major models show a major warm up next week. NOAA’s Global Forecast System and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts are cranking out several days in the 60s and even 70s next week for southern Minnesota and the metro.
The GFS is cranking out multiple days above 70 degrees and more frequent (and much needed) April showers. The rain would be good news, and may come with a more active shot at severe storms across Minnesota in the next one to two weeks.
Bottom line? It looks like temps could be as much as 30 degrees warmer next week, and some welcome April showers are on the way.
Hang in there Minnesota!