Game On: Major winter storm now includes metro, 3 to 7+ inches likely by Thursday

It’s “game on” for heavy snow in much of the Upper Midwest as a major winter storm winds up later today through Wednesday.

The overnight model runs continue trends I highlighted last night. The storm is tracking farther south and that brings the metro into the heavier snowfall zone. The latest trends still favor heavier snowfall in the north metro, with the potential for mixing some rain in and reducing snowfall totals in the south metro.

Here are the latest brief headlines on what you need to know right now.

  • Snowfall totals are already heavy near Duluth, where 10 to 15 inches have fallen around Duluth and Two Harbors.
  • Dense fog advisories are up for most of southern Minnesota with visibility under a quarter mile at times.
  • Winter Storm Warnings are flying from the metro north to the Canadian border, and from Wisconsin to Montana and Idaho.
  • The next and main wave of rain and snow will increase across southern and central Minnesota this afternoon and tonight.
  • The peak of the storm’s falling snow in the metro will be from 6 p.m. tonight through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
  • A sliver of warm air means rain may mix in the metro early Wednesday morning at times.
  • The worst metro rush hours should be Wednesday morning and evening.
  • Wind and sub-zero cold will increase dramatically as arctic air surges in behind the storm Wednesday night and Thursday.
(Image: Twin Cities NWS)

Huge footprint

This system is laying down snow over a huge area. Warnings and advisories cover more than 20 states if you include dense fog advisories along the Mississippi Valley.

(Image: NOAA)

Storm track trending south

The overnight models continue to push the main low pressure wave farther south. That increases confidence that the heavy snow bands of 6-plus inches may sneak down into especially the northern metro.

(Image: NOAA)

Boosting snowfall totals

Based on the southerly track trends, I’m setting initial snowfall totals higher for the metro. The National Weather Service is highlighting 6 inch to 9 inch totals as of Tuesday morning for the Twin Cities.

(Image: Twin Cities NWS)

As of now, I feel a little like the guys on American Pickers.

Looking at the data, I’m at 3 inches to 7-plus inches for the metro, with some 8 inch totals possible in the northern Twin Cities.

I’d like to see another model run this morning before fully buying into the heavier National Weather Service totals, but it’s going to snow. I still think rain this afternoon and evening, and early Wednesday morning, may trim some snowfall totals, especially in the southeast metro.

Here’s the overnight model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale Forecast System. Notice the huge gradient in snow totals from south to north over the Twin Cities.

(Image: NAM model via

Bottom line: It’s looking much more likely this will be a plowable event in the Twin Cities that will snarl both the morning and evening rush hours Wednesday.

Expect mostly fog and drizzle today, with rain changing to snow this evening in the metro and most of southern Minnesota. Expect a full blown major winter storm later tonight and Wednesday, followed by some serious arctic air with sub-zero lows and wind chills Thursday and into the weekend.

Olk Aid Benefit this Saturday

Looking for a warm place to be on a cold Minnesota December weekend? You may want to check out the Olk Aid benefit this Saturday from 2pm to 6pm.


There will be a lot of great local music there, including Adam Levy of the Honeydogs and local Eagles tribute band Motel California among others. I’ll be jamming with my good buddies from the WCCO Blues Band. Hope to see you there to benefit a good guy and great cause!

  • Paul Weimer

    Winter is indeed coming. shovels at the ready!