Twin Cities rides dicey edge of heavier snows Thursday

The forecast models have come into better alignment on the placement of the heaviest snow band Thursday. It looks like the Twin Cities may just escape the heaviest snow band to our south and east.

Winter weather advisories are up Thursday for the Twin Cities and most of Minnesota. Winter storm warnings are up for the Red River Valley.

Here’s the advisory map and the latest thinking on snowfall totals from the Twin Cities National Weather Service:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
322 AM CST Wed Jan 10 2018

…NARROW BAND OF HEAVY SNOW APPEARS LIKELY TO SET UP FROM ALBERT
LEA TOWARD LADYSMITH AND EAU CLAIRE LATE TONIGHT…

.Mixed wintry precipitation is expected to push into western
Minnesota this evening while a second area develops late tonight
further east from south central Minnesota to northwest Wisconsin.
The precipitation is expected to change to all snow by Thursday
morning. A narrow swath of heavy snow with up to 8 inches is
possible roughly from around Albert Lea to Ladysmith and Eau
Claire. Outside of this area, 1 to 3 inches can be expected.

Strong northwest winds will develop late tonight and continue
through Thursday. The strongest winds will be found from west
central to south central Minnesota where winds could gust to 40
mph. This will result in areas of blowing snow with some brief
instances of whiteout conditions.

Temperatures will plummet into the single digits and teens late
tonight which may cause a flash freeze on area roadways.

Models: narrow heavy snow band southeast of Twin Cities

The models have finally reached a higher level of consensus on the core of the narrow heavy snow band I wrote about Tuesday. There’s also a dry slot just west of the Twin Cities. That puts the Twin Cities in a zone with a wide snowfall gradient.

I’m still thinking 1 to 3 inches is a likely overall snowfall range for most of the Twin Cities. The best chance for 4 inches or more is in Dakota and Washington Counties. The western metro may wonder what all the fuss is about.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System captures the essence of the snowfall pattern. A quick hitting burst of snow Thursday morning with a narrow band of heavy snow that could dump a quick 4 to 9 inches just southeast of the Twin Cities.

Note the zone west of the Twin Cities with relatively little snowfall.

NOAA GFS snowfall output Thursday, via tropical tidbits

Deep freeze returns

Arctic air pours south again behind the system. Temperatures plunge Thursday, and stay in the freezer through next weekend.

NOAA, via Weather Bell

Milder again late next week

The upper-air pattern suggests a Pacific flow and milder air again late next week.

NOAA

Highs in the 30s appear more common in the last two weeks of January.

NOAA, via IPS Meteostar

It’s still awfully early to say the worst of winter’s cold is behind us after next week. But it might be.

Stay tuned.

  • Ldlou

    I know most of your MPR listeners are in the Twin Cities, but please remember that many of us live outside the Cities, have friends and family in other parts in Minnesota, or are traveling to other parts of Minnesota, and we want to hear what the storm predictions are for areas outside of the Twin Cities. Otherwise let’s just call it TCPR and those of us outside the Cities don’t have to listen to membership week.