Epic April snow, with strong winds; blizzard warning includes Twin Cities

Wow, this snow is something else!

Twin Cities weather records show that the highest single day snowfall total in April was 13.6 inches, on April 14, 1983.

Maybe it’s appropriate that we were already seeing 8 and 9 inch storm totals in the Twin Cities metro area as of 5 p.m. on April 14th this year!

Parts of the metro area had thundersnow, and the snow was really piling up:

Driving was already very difficult in the metro area Saturday afternoon, but some people had another option:

Heavy snow will taper off in some areas later Saturday evening, but this is a long duration snow event for Minnesota, and accumulating snow will continue into Sunday.

It’ll also be windy, with severely reduced visibilities and blowing and drifting snow.

Twin Cities metro area snowstorm totals for Saturday and Sunday combined could reach about 14 to 18 inches, possibly even higher in a few spots.

Blizzard warnings

Blizzard warnings continue Saturday evening and overnight in the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota, ending at 7 a.m. Sunday:

NWS Twin Cities

Details of the blizzard warning that includes the metro area:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
322 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…BLIZZARD WARNING EXPANDED THROUGH THE TWIN CITIES METRO… …
HISTORIC WINTER STORM ONGOING…
…SNOWFALL RATES AROUND UP TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR POSSIBLE THIS
AFTERNOON…

.This is shaping up to be a historic storm. Please stay off the
roads if possible, especially in southern Minnesota. Several
rounds of very heavy snow will continue through this afternoon
into this evening. Snowfall rates of around 1 to 2 inches per
hour can be expected through the early evening hours in central
Minnesota through west central Wisconsin. The snow will taper
down Saturday night, but light snow will continue into Sunday.

A Blizzard Warning remains in effect through late tonight for the
southern third of Minnesota and far western Wisconsin. A Winter
Storm Warning remains in effect to the north and east of the
Blizzard Warning, including a portion of central Minnesota and the
rest of west central Wisconsin. A Winter Weather Advisory remains
in effect for a few counties in Minnesota that will receive less
snow.

Total snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches are expected by the
time the storm ends Sunday from southwest Minnesota to east
central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Totals will taper off to
4 to 8 inches across west central Minnesota. There will likely be
a sharp gradient on the north side of the heavy snow band.

MNZ059>063-068>070-076>078-084-085-093-WIZ023-024-150430-
/O.CON.KMPX.BZ.W.0002.000000T0000Z-180415T1200Z/
Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-Carver-Scott-Dakota-
Le Sueur-Rice-Goodhue-Waseca-Steele-Freeborn-St. Croix-Pierce-
Including the cities of Monticello, Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul,
Stillwater, Chaska, Shakopee, Hastings, Le Sueur, Faribault,
Red Wing, Waseca, Owatonna, Albert Lea, Hudson, River Falls,
and Prescott
322 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM CDT SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph
will cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant
drifting of the snow is likely. Additional snow accumulations of
4 to 8 inches are expected.

* WHERE…Portions of west central Wisconsin and central, east
central, south central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN…Until 7 AM CDT Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very dangerous to
impossible.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for
Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at
511wi.gov, or by calling 5 1 1 in either state.

The blizzard warning in west-central Minnesota looks like this:

MNZ054-056>058-064>067-073>075-082-083-091-092-150430-
/O.EXT.KMPX.BZ.W.0002.000000T0000Z-180415T1200Z/
Lac Qui Parle-Chippewa-Kandiyohi-Meeker-Yellow Medicine-Renville-
McLeod-Sibley-Redwood-Brown-Nicollet-Watonwan-Blue Earth-Martin-
Faribault-
Including the cities of Madison, Montevideo, Willmar, Litchfield,
Granite Falls, Olivia, Hutchinson, Gaylord, Redwood Falls,
New Ulm, St Peter, St James, Mankato, Fairmont, and Blue Earth
322 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…BLIZZARD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM CDT SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph
will cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant
drifting of the snow is likely. Additional snow accumulations of
4 to 7 inches are expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, south central, southwest and west
central Minnesota.

* WHEN…Until 7 AM CDT Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very dangerous to
impossible. Tree branches could fall.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for
Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at
511wi.gov, or by calling 5 1 1 in either state.

Details of the southwestern Minnesota blizzard warning:

Lac Qui Parle-Chippewa-Kandiyohi-Meeker-Yellow Medicine-Renville-
McLeod-Sibley-Redwood-Brown-Nicollet-Watonwan-Blue Earth-Martin-
Faribault-
Including the cities of Madison, Montevideo, Willmar, Litchfield,
Granite Falls, Olivia, Hutchinson, Gaylord, Redwood Falls,
New Ulm, St Peter, St James, Mankato, Fairmont, and Blue Earth
322 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…BLIZZARD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM CDT SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph
will cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant
drifting of the snow is likely. Additional snow accumulations of
4 to 7 inches are expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, south central, southwest and west
central Minnesota.

* WHEN…Until 7 AM CDT Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very dangerous to
impossible. Tree branches could fall.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for
Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at
511wi.gov, or by calling 5 1 1 in either state.

Northeastern Minnesota has some winter storm warnings and advisories through Sunday night:

NWS Duluth

Details of the winter storm warning in the Duluth area:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Duluth MN
218 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS ACROSS NORTHWEST WISCONSIN AND
PORTIONS OF MINNESOTA TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT…

.An early spring storm system is anticipated to move through the
region tonight through tonight into Sunday night impacting all of
northwest Wisconsin and parts of northeast Minnesota. The
heaviest snow is expected Sunday when snowfall rates could exceed
one inch per hour for at least a few hours in northwest
Wisconsin. In addition, low visibility is expected because of
strong northeast winds that will accompany the falling snow. These
will combine to produce blizzard conditions in parts of northwest
Wisconsin resulting in near impossible travel conditions.

MNZ037-150730-
/O.UPG.KDLH.WW.Y.0018.180415T0000Z-180416T0000Z/
/O.EXA.KDLH.WS.W.0012.180415T0000Z-180416T1200Z/
Carlton/South St. Louis-
Including the city of Duluth
218 PM CDT Sat Apr 14 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM THIS EVENING TO 7 AM
CDT MONDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8
inches, with localized amounts up to 12 inches, are expected.

* WHERE…Carlton/South St. Louis County.

* WHEN…From 7 PM this evening to 7 AM CDT Monday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on difficult travel conditions
especially during the day Sunday. Expect significant reductions
in visibility at times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather
conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you
must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions for
Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org, and for Wisconsin at
511wi.gov, or by calling 511 in either state.

Slow mover

The low pressure system will keep spinning moisture over us through Sunday, due to its slow trek eastward.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential snow pattern Saturday evening through Sunday evening:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Saturday evening through Sunday evening, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of snow.

Updates

Updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you can also find updated weather information on the MPR news live weather blog.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will have road condition updates.

Snow totals

The NWS interactive snowfall map allows you to see the location and time of snow measurements. It’s zoomable for more detail.
Snow reports are also relayed in text form as they come in.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.