Snow returns by Friday AM rush; 2″ to 5″ metro totals likely by Friday evening

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Snow Globe: Just Shake

It feels like we’re living inside a snow globe this month in Minnesota. Any little shake and the flakes start flying overhead.

Friday snow system is the 8th to sail overhead this month.

This one comes from the Desert Southwest, where snow delighted people in Tucson, Arizona Wednesday and blizzard warnings blanket nearby mountain ranges.

Forecast model trends have been easing on the intensity of snowfall in the metro Friday. The latest runs favor a little less snow, but still a “plowable” event by Friday, and definitely enough to gum up rush hour Friday AM and maybe again Friday PM.

In this edition of Updraft we’ll track Friday’s incoming system, highlight some excellent snow conditions for Saturday’s annual American Birkebeiner Ski Race and keep one eye on another potential snowmaker for Monday & Tuesday.

Is it March yet?

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1″ to 3″ of snow in Tucson, Arizona Wednesday

9 states under Winter Storm Warnings (From Arizona to Iowa)

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Winter Weather Advisories starting Thursday evening for southern Minnesota include the metro

After midnight snow likely to arrive in metro after midnight in southern MN to around 3am in metro tonight

30s for highs most of next week…it will get milder!

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Up Next: More snow by Friday AM rush hour

Today will be blissfully quiet in Minnesota. The calm before our next February snowmaker.

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Heavy snow with 1/4 mile visibility is falling in Kansas and Nebraska today.

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Here’s a look at snowy conditions I-35 in Overland Park in the southwest suburbs of Kansas City.

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Heavy snow closed the campus at University of Kansas in Lawrence today.

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Up to a foot of (welcome?) snow…and more will blanket drought areas in Kansas and Nebraska.

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The latest tracks & trends favor a slower system, with snow staring in southern Minnesota tonight, and arriving in the metro by around 3 am give or take.

It should snow most of the day Friday.

The GFS & Euro have been backing off slightly on snowfall with Friday’s system.

The GFS & Euro print out 3.7″ snowfall at MSP.

The NAM continues to be the most aggressive, cranking out 4.9″ with the system.

The best forecast fit looks like between 2″ and 5″ will fall in the metro by Friday evening.

With temps in the 20s, expect snowy and slick conditions for both AM & PM rush hours Friday.

The heaviest snowfall along the I-90 corridor where a good 6″+ will likely fall. Travel will be tough in southern Minnesota Friday.

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Image: NOAA via

Regardless of eventual totals, the impacts of this system are likely to stay the same.

-A “plowable” snowfall

-Starting after midnight Thursday night in the metro

-Rush hour issues Friday AM & possibly PM

-Snow tapers Friday evening.


More snow? All about perspective

I know some of you are beginning to tire from our February snow blitz.

14 of 20 days with gnarled commutes is enough to make any of us pull what little hair we have left out.

But I’ve also head form one group of “winter enthusiasts” who are delighted with our regular doses of fresh powder.

Cross country & downhill skiers are ecstatic about snow conditions.

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In fact, trail conditions for Saturday’s American Birkebeiner may be some of the best in years.

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If you’re heading up to Cable & Hayward, here’s the info on “The Birkie” this weekend.

If not, you can check out the live webcast Saturday.

Yet another snow system? Keeping an eye on next week

The GFS & Euro still swing another “southwest low” into the Midwest next week. The GFS is further north & faster…the Euro has a more southerly slower system.

I’m not totally convinced on the track of 2nd system yet…the Euro shows signs of taking it further south and keeping the metro on the northern edge of the system.

Still plenty of details to be ironed out, but odds favor another shot of snow somwhere in the Upper Midwest next Monday & Tuesday.

The Euro is giving us a grand total of .62″ liquid between the two systems.

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If close to accurate, that should equate to between 5″ and 10″ of new snowfall between the 2 systems for southern Minnesota…and maybe the metro. It’s possible next week’s system will be warm enough that some of that fall as rain or mixed precip.

I’ve talked many times with Cathy Wurzer, Kerri Miller & Tom Crann about why the Euro is often a better product than NOAA’s GFS. Better “model resolution” and 10 times more supercomputing power make the “Euro” a more refined product.

I also spoke with Cliff Mass from the University of Washington at AMS in Austin, TX in January after his excellent presentation on why NOAA needs a serious upgrade in computing power to match or exceed the capabilities of the European Model. The latest northeast Mega-Blizzard was the latest storm that the “Euro” outperformed NOAA’s GFS model days in advance.

Here’s a great post from Cliff that shows why the USA is lagging in forecast model computing power.

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Image: Clif Mass University of Washington

Let’s see how the GFS handles the next 2 snow systems for Minnesota.

Stay tuned!


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