Sunnier Thursday; Winter storm watch Friday night

A winter storm watch is up across a swath of central Minnesota Friday night. The watch includes the southwest half of the Twin Cities.

Several inches of snow is increasingly likely along and east of of the Minnesota River Valley. It looks like the Twin Cities will ride the snowy edge once again.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
350 PM CDT Wed Mar 21 2018

…HEAVY SNOW BUILDING EAST ALONG AND SOUTH OF I-94 FRIDAY
AFTERNOON AND CONTINUING INTO SATURDAY MORNING…
…VERY SHARP SNOWFALL GRADIENT LIKELY SETTING UP NEAR SAINT
CLOUD…THE TWIN CITIES…AND RED WING…

.A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for areas south of I-94 in
Minnesota Friday afternoon into Saturday morning. Snow will
develop across the Dakotas and build eastward into west central
Minnesota late Friday morning, reaching east central Minnesota
Friday evening. There may be a brief period of rain before turning
to heavy snow as temperatures cool quickly.

Snowfall amounts of 5 to 9 inches are expected across western and
southern Minnesota. There will be a sharp gradient in amounts
near I-94, with little or no snow possible over northwest and
portions of west central Wisconsin. Any shift would lead to
significant forecast changes near this gradient, which includes
the Twin Cities metro.

Twin Cities on the edge again

Forecast model confidence is growing that the heavy snow axis will parallel the Minnesota River Valley Friday night. Several hours of moderate to heavy snow is most likely to run that path Friday night into early Saturday. That puts the Twin Cities on the edge of the heavier snow zone once again.

NOAA’s NAM 12 km resolution model illustrates the forecast challenge. A sharp cutoff on the eastern edge of the snow zone close to  the Twin Cities Friday night. A track shift 30 miles east would produce more snow for the Twin Cities. A shift 30 miles west could mean a lot less.

NOAA NAM model via tropical tidbits.

Heavy snow potential

The atmosphere looks cold enough Friday night to produce several hours of moderate to heavy snow. The heavy snow axis has the potential for 5″ to 10″ by Saturday. The Twin Cities likely enjoys another wide snowfall gradient; expect less snow in the northeast metro and more in the southwest.

Again, NOAA’s NAM 12 km resolution model is fairly close spatially to many other model solutions today. This solution may be overdoing the heaviest snowfall potential in southwest Minnesota.

NOAA NAM 12 km model snowfall output via tropical tidbits.

Bottom line: Stay tuned as model solutions over the next 48 hours pinpoint the heaviest snow zone and the edge of the sharp cutoff on the system’s eastern side.

50s next week?

Several models are hinting at 50 degrees next week.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

NOAA’s GFS hints at 60s the first week of April.

Hang in there Minnesota.