Record lows today, April slop storm tomorrow, much warmer next week

Two steps forward and one giant step back.

That’s how the weather works in Minnesota in springtime most years. You’d think spring would be a nice easy gentle process.

Yeah, right.

As contrasting air masses sweep across Minnesota in springtime, temps swing wildly between the new found warmth of spring to the south, and the remnants of wintry air to the north.

The battle rages through April, and sometimes results in violent clashes we lovingly call “April slop storms.”

1414 msp

Next April low rides in

Call it what you want. Winter storm, spring storm, dirty names — I really don’t care anymore. I am stabbing the Weather Lab Voodoo Doll as hard as I can, and running out of of pins and needles to stick into Old Man Winter this year.

The rain/snow line Wednesday?

Right over the Twin Cities, of course. Here’s the track of the next low pressure system riding into Minnesota Wednesday courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Digital Forecast Database.

NOAA

Ground Zero Duluth, again

It’s been another insanely snowy winter in Duluth which already stands at the seventh snowiest on record. Why not make a run at the top 5?

Duluth National Weather Service

The best chance for 6 to 10 inches-plus of April slop runs from near Mille Lacs Lake to Hinckley, Minn., through Duluth and northwest Wisconsin.

1414 dlh

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
330 AM CDT TUE APR 15 2014

…INCREASING LIKELIHOOD THAT THE NORTHLAND WILL GET HEAVY SNOW LATE TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT…

A STORM SYSTEM WILL MOVE INTO THE NORTHERN HIGH PLAINS THIS AFTERNOON…AND IS PROJECTED TO MOVE ACROSS THE DAKOTAS TONIGHT AND INTO THE UPPER MIDWEST WEDNESDAY. THERE IS INCREASING CONFIDENCE THAT THIS STORM WILL BRING A SWATH OF HEAVY SNOW TO PARTS OF THE NORTHLAND LATE TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT.

THERE IS STILL SOME UNCERTAINTY WITH THIS SYSTEM…SUCH AS WHERE THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL FALL. HOWEVER…IT IS APPEARING MORE AND MORE LIKELY THAT NORTHWEST WISCONSIN AND PARTS OF EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA…INCLUDING THE TWIN PORTS AREA…COULD GET 6 TO 12 INCHES OF SNOW.

THE HEAVIEST AMOUNTS…ABOUT 9 TO 12 INCHES…WILL MOSTLY LIKELY AFFECT THE NORTHERN MOST TIER OF COUNTIES IN NORTHWEST WISCONSIN…THE TWIN PORTS AREA…AND THE INTERSTATE 35 CORRIDOR BETWEEN DULUTH AND HINCKLEY.

Twin Cities rides the snowy edge

Once again the metro rides the snowy edge of this one.

If current track and temperature profiles trends hold, a few hours of slushy snow is possible early Wednesday morning, then precipitation may trend toward a rainy mix as the day wears on and end with another shot of snow late.

As always, track changes of even 60 miles could mean the difference between a couple inches of slush, and shoveling. This may be especially true for the north metro with this one.

Here’s the current thinking from the Twin Cities National Weather Service early morning forecast discussion. And yes, they send it in ALL CAPS as usual. Come to think of it, many of us are tempted to shout about the prospect of more snow at this point in the season.

PRECIPITATION TYPE WILL OBVIOUSLY PLAY A LARGE ROLE ON SNOW ACCUMULATIONS AND IMPACT.
LITTLE CHANGE WAS NEEDED TO THE PRECIPITATION TYPE FORECAST AS THE TIMING DIFFERENCES AMONGST THE MODELS STILL LENDS UNCERTAINTY TO THE RAIN/SNOW LINE. BUT OVERALL…NORTH OF ST. CLOUD STILL LOOKS TO BE PRIMARILY SNOW…WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF A LITTLE RAIN
MIXING IN WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON…WHILE THE TWIN CITIES METRO WILL SEE PRIMARILY RAIN DURING THE DAY BEFORE SWITCHING OVER TO SOME LIGHT SNOW AT THE TAIL END OF THE EVENT.

THE PRECIPITATION WILL COME TO AN END WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING FROM WEST TO EAST. CONFIDENCE TO ISSUE A WINTER STORM WARNING WAS NOT ACHIEVED WITH THE LATEST MODEL RUNS…SO DECIDED TO CONTINUE THE WINTER STORM WATCH FOR THE SAME COUNTIES FOR NOW.

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…LONG PRAIRIE…LITTLE FALLS…
PRINCETON…MORA…FOLEY…CAMBRIDGE…CENTER CITY…AMERY…
BALSAM LAKE…RICE LAKE…BARRON…LADYSMITH
511 AM CDT TUE APR 15 2014

…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING…

* TIMING…SNOW WILL DEVELOP LATE TUESDAY NIGHT…CONTINUING THROUGH MUCH OF THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY AND WEDNESDAY NIGHT. SOME OF THE SNOW WILL MIX WITH RAIN DURING THE DAY WEDNESDAY BEFORE CHANGING BACK TO ALL SNOW LATE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. THE SNOW
WILL TAPER OFF EARLY THURSDAY MORNING.

* SNOW ACCUMULATION…4 TO 8 INCHES.

* OTHER IMPACTS…TRAVEL MAY BE HAZARDOUS LATE TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH EARLY THURSDAY MORNING. THIS WILL BE A WET SNOW WHICH WILL BE DIFFICULT TO SHOVEL.

Models behaving…so far

If today’s model runs continue to behave, the heaviest snow should fall (just) north of the Twin Cities. But nay shift or jog south of even 50 miles in track and the (heavier) snow zone may shift south into parts of the metro.

NOAA’s overnight (06z) Global Forecast System run gives you an idea of just how close the razor’s edge of heavier wet snow is to the metro.  If this scenario pans out, the north metro could indeed be shoveling by Wednesday night while the south metro looks at  little melting slush on the roads.

wxcaster.com

This hour-by-hour breakdown for the metro hints at the possible snow to rain, back to snow scenario Wednesday. With daytime temps above freezing and powerful April daylight, accumulations could be fighting the tide during the midday and evening hours.

Weatherspark

Bottom line: Winter storm watches are flying north of the metro Wednesday. They will likely be upgraded to warnings today. Several inches of heavy wet snow are likely with difficult travel north of the metro to Brainerd, Minn., and Duluth. The Twin Cities will be on the edge of the rain/snow line.

Stay tuned for possible track and forecast changes today and tonight.

Warmer days ahead

This week looks cool but much kinder after Wednesday’s incoming slop storm. Temperatures hover in the 40s this week, but there are signs of a more sustained southerly flow, and much warmer temps next week.

Here’s the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts‘ model take on the next week.

Weatherspark

Another shot of 60s and even 70s next week looks likely to my eye at this point. The latest GFS 16 day output hints at a much warmer and wetter next week.

IPS Meteostar

The notion of a slow moving low out west could act as a pump for warmer air in sustained southerly flow from the Gulf of Mexico next week. It could also introduce the prospect of some soaking rains and potentially severe weather.

NOAA GFS model via IPS Meteostar

Eclipse fest next 18 months

If you missed the total lunar eclipse this morning no worries. You’ll have several more chances in the next 18 months as three more total lunar eclipses will be visible across the U.S.

1414 eclipse

In the meantime, here’s a fun look at how today’s eclipse worked from NPR. Bonnie Tyler’s  epic power ballad lives on.