Evening Nowcast Update: Rain to all snow tonight

Here’s a quick update on our first real shot of wintry weather as we head through the evening hours into tonight.

Big flakes and a snowy coating on the Weather Lab deck in west metro. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News

Curve ball?

The rain and snow is mostly coming in on schedule. But each storm is unique, and this one shows one significant deviation from earlier model forecasts. The first waves of snow focused on the northwest metro, in spite of what most forecast models suggested.  That’s why we update…and nowcast. No model, and nobody is good enough to be that precise with snowfall totals on most winter storms. The state of our science just isn’t quite there yet. But we’re working on it.

The ‘ground truth’ through early evening shows moderately heavy snow has been falling favoring areas west of and into the northwest metro. Moderate snow has fallen at Litchfield, Hutchinson, Buffalo, Rogers, into Maple Grove and the northwest metro.

Already 3″+ has fallen in Meeker County west of the Twin Cities.

Image: Twin Cities NWS

Here’s a look at early evening radar…showing rain over the southeast metro and moderate snow falling in the northwest half of the metro.

Image: Weather Underground

-You can track the changeover from rain to snow here on the latest Twin Cities radar loop.

The heaviest snow burst will occur this evening through about 1 am, about a 6 hour window. Snow should taper off from northwest to southeast after midnight, and be mostly ending by AM rush.

I am still expecting a general range for 1″ to 4″ in the metro by morning…with some heavier 5″ to 6″ totals possible.

Here’s the Twin Cities NWS take on snowfall tonight.

Image: Twin Cities NWS

This system has already cranked out some impressive 7 to 8″+ snowfall totals in southwest Minnesota.

Image: Sioux Falls NWS

Enjoy the snow!