Christmas travel update; winter storm will impact Minnesota Wed. night into Friday

Travel conditions should be good over Minnesota and western Wisconsin on Monday.

Christmas Day travel conditions look pretty good too, but we could see occasional light snow showers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential snow pattern Monday night through Christmas Day:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Monday evening through Tuesday 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.

Temperature trends

Monday highs are expected to range from the upper teens in far northwestern Minnesota to around 30 in the south:

A similar high temperature pattern is expected on Christmas Day, although a few spots in the south could reach the lower 30s:

Our average high this time of year is 25 degrees in the Twin Cities metro area.

Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach the mid 30s Wednesday, with mid to upper 30s on Thursday, followed by upper 20s on Friday.

Ice safety reminder

Recent mild temps prompted the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to send us this reminder about ice conditions:

Snowstorm update

Forecast models continue to show a strong low pressure system spinning snow over much of the upper Midwest from Wednesday evening into early Friday. Some areas, including the Twin Cities metro area, could see rain or a rain/snow mix at times during the storm event, followed by a return to all snow.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern from Wednesday afternoon through Friday afternoon:

NOAA GFS precipitation rate (mm/hour) Wednesday afternoon through Friday afternoon, via tropicaltidbits

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the precipitation rate (mm per hour), not to the total amount of rain or snow.

The impulse that will generate the winter storm hasn’t even reached the west coast of the U.S. yet, so there is limited weather data available for the forecast models, compared to weather systems that are over land.

Storm tracks still vary a bit among the various computer models, but a swath of heavy snow is expected over parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Some spots could even see double-digit snow totals by the time the snow tapers off on Friday.

Here’s the NWS summary of the snowstorm:

NWS Twin Cities

Check forecast updates….especially if you have travel plans in Minnesota, Wisconsin or northern Iowa Wednesday night, Thursday or Friday.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you will also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.