Here we go again? Winter storm watch includes Twin Cities

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is about to turn into the Land of 10 Billion Flakes. Again.

I’m just the messenger. At this point in the season that boring weather job in Tampa, Fla., or Phoenix looks pretty inviting to a Minnesota meteorologist. No, I won’t be winning any popularity contests any time soon.

The next powerful late winter early spring storm is winding up and heading for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest Thursday into Friday. The only questions at this point seem to be exact track and precipitation types, but the model guidance on this one is leaning mostly toward snow at this point for the metro.

A winter storm watch has been posted for much of Minnesota including the Twin Cities metro for Thursday into Friday.

Twin Cities  National Weather Service

404 PM CDT TUE APR 1 2014

…WINTER STORM WATCH IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY AFTERNOON.

* TIMING…THURSDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MID FRIDAY AFTERNOON. PRECIPITATION WILL BEGIN AS A LIGHT WINTRY MIX WEDNESDAY NIGHT…AND TRANSITION TO ALL SNOW THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING. THE SNOW WILL BE HEAVY AT TIMES THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY MORNING BEFORE TAPERING OFF FRIDAY AFTERNOON.

* SNOW ACCUMULATION…6 TO 12 INCHES…WITH THE HEAVIEST AMOUNTS LIKELY ACROSS EASTERN MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN.

* WIND…NORTHEAST 10 TO 15 MPH BECOMING NORTHWEST AND INCREASING TO 15 TO 25 MPH WITH SOME GUSTS TO 35 MPH.

* IMPACTS…TRAVEL WILL BECOME HAZARDOUS THURSDAY NIGHT AND FRIDAY. THIS WILL ALSO BE A WET SNOW WHICH WILL BE DIFFICULT TO SHOVEL.

Here’s the early read on the incoming system, but first we enjoy a relatively quiet Wednesday.

Weatherspark

No escape?

I know Minnesotans are snow weary at this point in the season. I keep looking for an escape hatch on heavy snow potential Thursday evening into Friday for the metro.

So far everything suggest the storm runs smack dab into the Twin Cities.

Here’s the take on surface low track and precip types through late Thursday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s  National Digital Forecast Database.

NOAA

Here’s the Twin Cities National Weather Service take on track and potential for more than 4 inches.

4111 msp

The bulk of the forecast models suggest the rain snow line will hover near the metro early on Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Then, dynamical cooling from heavier snowfall rates may overcome any above freezing air, and that means a big dump of heavy wet snow is looking more likely Thursday afternoon and evening into Friday morning.

Most of the model guidance lays out the heavy snow bands right through the Twin Cities at this point in a zone from southwest Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin.

NOAA’s Global Forecast System  has come more in line with the aggressive European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts solution of the potential for 6 to 12 inches in or near the metro.

Projected snowfall from NOAA’s GFS model. wxcaster.com

Here are a few of the models of snowfall output for the Twin Cities. It’s still early, but most suggest a good dumping Thursday night into Friday.

Iowa State University

Bottom line: I’ll keep an eye out for possible track changes Wednesday. A small shift to the south in storm track, or more warm air mixing precipitation to rain could spare parts of the metro from the heaviest snow bands.

But at this point it looks more likely that the metro and much of Minnesota and western Wisconsin is on line for a heavy dump of snow, and major winter storm conditions Thursday into Friday.

Remember, I’m just the messenger!

Stay tuned!

  • Matt Goodman

    Do the NOAA weather service stations often give conflicting predictions (usually leaning toward whatever is more dramatic for their region)?

    For the same approaching weather system the Duluth and Twin Cities NWS watches give very different impressions of the storm track and snow band.

    The Duluth NWS says “…THE MAIN THREAT AREA FOR SNOWFALL IN EXCESS OF 8 INCHES WILL BE ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHEAST MINNESOTA THROUGH ALL OF NORTHWESTERN WISCONSIN.”

    While the Twin Cities NWS states “TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 6 TO 12 INCHES ARE EXPECTED…WITH THE HEAVIEST AMOUNTS FROM SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA ACROSS THE TWIN CITIES TO NORTHERN WISCONSIN.”

    So is it southwest-Minnesota-and-through-to-the-Twin-Cities? Or is it northeast-Minnesota-and-through-to-northwestern-Wisconsin?