Thaw arrives, Sunday snow still lurking

Warmer air gushed into Minnesota as expected Wednesday. Minnesota now rides the leading edge of a notably milder air mass. Note the absence of sub-zero readings on the map.

Oklahoma Mesonet

Thaw kicks into high gear 

The biggest weather change you’ll notice over the next 48 hours? You won’t be hunched over rushing to the next doorway. Our second (and maybe not our last) January thaw kicks in. Highs in the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota soar into the 40s by Friday afternoon.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

Riding the Chinook

Chinook winds turbocharge warming of Friday’s inbound air mass. Temperatures push 70 degrees in Denver Friday afternoon. The hangover from that downslope warming will spill into Minnesota Friday.


Bank thermometers may flash 50 degrees Friday afternoon in some southwest Minnesota towns.

Forecast high temperatures Friday via NOAA.

Snow drought

Most of southern Minnesota is way behind on season snowfall so far this winter. The Twin Cities is running a 15-inch snowfall deficit so far.

Want snow? Go north

There’s still plenty of snow on the ground up north. Here’s the latest snow cover map. I’ve added some specific snow depth amounts. Patches of bare ground are visible in southwest Minnesota.


Sunday snow potential continues

Today’s model runs continue to advertise heavy snow potential Sunday. The question reamins one of storm track.

Again, snowfall forecasts are not reliable this far out. The only reason I’m showing this is to give you the idea of potential here. I do think somebody in Minnesota will see heavy snow by Monday. Precisely where is still very much an open question. We will get to specific “inches” in the forecast around 24 hours before the snow flies.

With that caveat, NOAA’s GFS now lays out a heavy snow band from the Twin Cities northward.

NOAA GFS snowfall forecast via tropical tidbits.

Euro: Snowmageddon?

The latest European model (ECMWF) puts the Twin Cities back in the heavy snow zone. Again, this could very well change as storm tracks shift. But if this were to verify, the Twin Cities would see a pile of snow Monday.

ECMWF forecast for Minneapolis via Norwegian Met Institute.

Much can and likely will change by this weekend.

Stay tuned.


  • Erik Sather

    Do the storm tracks tend to shift in the same way? I live in Duluth. We often see tracks that predict a band of heavy snow from a southwest to northeast direction and include Duluth a few days out, and it tends to shift east or south as the storm draws nearer. Is it just as likely to shift west/north too?

    • MPR Weather

      Some models like NOAA’s NAM model suite often have a “northward bias” on storm track and thus snowfall. That’s why you may see then shift south as the system gets closer. Tonight’s GFS run is actually shifting a little north. That could bring a rainy mix into the metro, but keeps Duluth firmly in the heavier snow zone. Still, it;s too far out to paint with that fine a brush so expect more changes.