Tracking weekend snow; Winter Storm Watch posted; Euro holds firm on metro snow

I posted a detailed analysis of the weekend system and some inside baseball on the forecast model we look at here, so here’s a quick update on the Thursday PM model runs.

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“Euro Bomb?”

Things are slowly coming together on our weekend winter storm system for Minnesota.

There are forecast models, and there are forecast models. The European (ECMWF) model is often the best model with approaching storms. This time it picked up on our approaching winter system 1st. Thursday afternoon’s “Euro” run continues to insist on a southern storm track that could mean slightly colder temps and more snow in and close to the Twin Cities than NOAA’s models currently suggest.

At this point I am leaning more toward the Euro solution.

At this point there are some things I can say with a high degree of confidence, and some things the forecast models have yet to resolve.

What we can say with confidence:

-There will be heavy snow (6″+) in parts of Minnesota this weekend.

-A Winter Storm Watch is now posted for central MN including Morris, Willmar & St. Cloud. These will likely be expanded in the next 24hours, possibly including the Twin Cities.

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-Timing on the system will generally fall between Saturday night and Monday morning, with the heaviest snowfall rates coming Sunday.

-The most likely areas for heavy snow (6″+) is from eastern South Dakota through western & central Minnesota to near Duluth, including Morris Alex, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Iron Range, Duluth & the North Shore. Travel will be affected in these areas from Saturday into Monday morning.

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-The Twin Cities is still on the edge of the rain snow line with this system for part of the event on Sunday. (What’s new?) That said…the Euro model runs are insistent on a southerly track and mostly snow for the Twin Cities…and there are some signs the GFS and other models will trend closer to the Euro solution tomorrow. At this point I am leaning more toward the Euro, which would keep precip in the metro more snow than a mix.

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-We will likely have a big “snow gradient” in the Twin Cities with this system, with less snow in the southeast metro and more in the northwest metro…and a range in between.

-Friday’s model runs should be more definitive as the system comes ashore on the West Coast.

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What we still can’t say with confidence:

-Which model storm track solution will ultimately carry the day with this event?

-Exactly how much “mixed precip” will creep into the Twin Cities area Sunday…potentially reducing snowfall totals?

Bottom line at this point:

-A major winter storm is likely for much of Minnesota from Saturday night through Monday AM.

-Winter Storm Watches have been posted for much of western & central MN & will likely expand.

-The best chance for heavy snowfall of 6″+ includes a swath of western & central MN from Morris through St. Cloud, Brainerd the Iron Range & Duluth & North Shore.

-The Twin Cities will be on the edge of heavy snow, and forecasts for snow totals could change dramatically with slight shifts in the storm track Friday & Saturday.

-The best chance for heavy snow appears to be in the northwest metro, but “plowable”…and possibly “heavy” snowfall in parts of the Twin Cities is looking more likely by the hour.

As usual I will post a more specific metro snowfall “inches” forecast late Friday afternoon as we approach 24 hours before the snow flies.

Stay tuned!


  • Matt

    Ohh I hope we get a lot of snow and especially how you said in the north/northwest metro I’m in rogers!

  • Becky

    Bring on the snow! We need it for the drought! Plus it’s Minnesota. Those who don’t like the snow, there’s always moving…

  • Randy in Champliln

    Paul, I don’t if you will see this tonight or tomorrow morning, but the 08/0z run of the GFS misses the phasing of the NE CONUS major storm. In my opinion that should allow our storm to drop further south and east say on a ARX to Green Bay path, yet the GFS doesn’t really show that. I will be watching the models come in tonight to see what they show, including the higher resolution FIM model. I normally don’t do this, but the consistency of the GGEM and the UKMET on a more southeasterly track has intrigued me the last 2 days, they are the two models that seemed to lock on a track early and have not wavered much on it, if at all.