Round One: Icy mix

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Twin Cities NWS weather story hints at multiple rounds of wintry precip as we move toward the weekend.

Here we go.

Round one of our 3 part weather drama opens today in southern Minnesota. The first wave of icy precip will feature a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow as it moves north out of Iowa into Minnesota.

-Sioux Falls radar loop

-Latest Minnesota and Iowa hourly surface reports

Conditions are just perfect for an icy coating south of a line from Ortonville to Mankato to Owatonna today. A mixed bag of light freezing rain, sleet and snow may reach as far north as the metro by this evening. Ice storm warnings and freezing rain advisories are in effect today.

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There could be a coating if ice and light snow in the metro into Thursday morning.

Intermission Friday:

It appears we will get a break between the first wave and the main act. Friday looks quiet, and then we’ll turn our attention to the main low pressure storm moving north for the weekend. This one looks quite interesting and a bit out of character for late January.

Round 2: Saturday rain?

It still appears there may be enough warm air surging north with this system to change precip over to all rain from the Twin Cities south on Saturday. Temperatures in the lowest 5,000 feet of the atmosphere will favor rain, and surface temperatures are forecast to be in the mid 30s Saturday afternoon.

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Climatologically we are just emerging from the coldest week of the year. This system has the look of an early March storm given the amount of warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air surging north.

As a (mostly former) hockey player, I feel for the folks running the pond hockey tournament in Excelsior this weekend. Playing on “wet ice” when the puck sticks in puddles is no fun.

It may be cold enough at ground level for freezing rain in an arc from Sioux Falls, to St. Cloud and Duluth Saturday. The Red River Valley could be cold enough for mostly snow. The heaviest snow totals could fall in Fargo to Grand Forks.

Heavy rainfall possible

There could be enough moisture to produce precip totals over an inch with this system. Much of that may fall as rain from the Twin Cities south. It could be a soupy mess where significant rain falls over deep snow pack Saturday.

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Iowa thunder?

There may be enough upper level energy and lift to produce a few thunderstorms in Iowa Saturday.

Dry slot slides in

Some of the forecast models are hinting at a “dry slot” into southern Minnesota late Saturday and early Sunday. If this happens there could be a several hour break in precipitation before the wrap around moisture moves back in Sunday.

Round 3:

Round 3 could feature a transition to all snow for most areas as colder air wraps in behind the system later Sunday into Monday. There could be enough residual moisture for a few inches of snow in the metro and much of southern Minnesota by Monday evening.

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Expect icy travel if you are headed south today, and stay tuned for changing forecasts and conditions as we head into the weekend.


  • Craig

    Oh Yes, the ever popular dry-slot conundrum. Tends to favor eastern MN. Nice to reveal what is going on behind the curtain.