“Rocky” pounds Midwest; Chilly March? Southern sky show dazzles

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The Weather Channel is at it again.

Another major winter storm pounds the Midwest, and we have another name. Last week it was “Q.” Why not just “Bond?” This week it’s “Rocky.”

Does “named” snow shovel any differently than regular snow?

No matter what you call the latest version of “Weathertainment” on TWC, it’s a major winter storm. This time ground zero is Kansas City, where a solid foot of snow will blanket parts of the city by Tuesday night.

We dodge the bullet on “Rocky” as it takes the southerly route and sweeps toward Chicago Tuesday. But the snow from Rocky may have an impact on Minnesota weather in the weeks to come.

In this edition of Updraft we look at Rocky’s punch and how it may help lead to what is looking like a potentially chilly March in Minnesota.

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-2.9F vs. average temps at MSP so far in February

8″ snow depth at MSP Airport Monday AM

35.5″ season snowfall to date at MSP Airport

40.5″ average season snowfall to date

18.1″ snowfall last winter by this date

70.3″ season snowfall so far at International Falls

Twin Cities quick look forecast: Quiet & mild this week

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Major winter storm “Rocky” takes aim:

The second major winter storm to pound the Central Plains is dumping heavy snow in from Oklahoma & Kansas through Missouri on the way to Chicago.

The Weather Channel has a nice depiction of the system below, and an overview here.

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The southerly storm track means the storm will miss Minnesota. A swath of winter weather warnings runs from the Texas panhandle to Chicago.

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Once again, Kansas City is near ground zero, and more than a foot of snow will fall with this wrapped up system. The Topeka NWS lays out the expected snowfall totals, which could go as high as 15″ just south of Kansas City.

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Our neighbor’s down I-94 in Chicago are battening down the hatches for some snow Tuesday.

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Deep Midwest snowpack may delay Minnesota spring warm up:

It’s called a “feedback loop.”

Snow cover to the south and over Minnesota is one reason we may see a more reluctant warm up this March.

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A deep snowpack to the south of Minnesota cools potentially milder air masses that could blow in from the south. It takes energy to melt snow, and that means any air masses that do come north the next couple of weeks will have to blow over snow covered ground….or cooler wetter soils once the snow melts.

The upper air pattern also looks very different from our incredible record March of 2012.

Right now I just don’t see a huge warm up in sight. There are some indications we could see snow the weekend of March 9th & 10th…followed by a mid-March cold snap.

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My confidence level is not high on that yet however…need to see a few more days of model runs.

Sky Show: “Southern Lights” and comets dazzle

Check out this great animation of two comets and the Aurora Australias or “Southern Lights” from Alex Cherney via spaceweather.com.


Two comets are now visible in the skies of the southern hemisphere: “Comet Lemmon and Comet PanSTARRS got close enough together on the morning of Feb. 17th to fit into single image with a 35mm lens,” reports Alex Cherney of Flinders, Victoria, Australia. “A brief but reasonably strong aurora was a welcome bonus.” Click to set the scene in motion:

Comets Lemmon and PanSTARRS sweeping through the Southern Skies from Alex Cherney on Vimeo.


  • img aka smb

    Thank you, for your continued detailed analysis and explanations. And your dedication to advancing knowledge. it’s unfortunate that TWC and its newly acquired entity the wunderground have become the self appointed “Weathertainment” franchises. They have become marketed entities sucking whatever value wherever they can, not to mention their piggybacking off of federal scientific endeavors.