Winter storm update, heaviest snow band; coldest temps since 1996 on Wednesday?

We have some Sunday morning sunshine, but there’s still a winter storm headed toward Minnesota.

Snow will move into far western Minnesota later this Sunday morning, then spread across eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin during the afternoon and early evening hours. Snow continues tonight into early Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential snow pattern from noon Sunday through Monday afternoon:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon, 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.

Swath of heavy snow 

The greatest snow accumulations (generally 6 to 8 inches) are expected from west-central Minnesota through the Twin Cities metro area into southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Some locations to the southeast could see more than 8 inches of snow.

Here’s the National Weather Service snow forecast from Sunday through Monday:

NWS Twin Cities

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for parts of northwestern Minnesota, most of central and southern Minnesota, and parts of western Wisconsin from Sunday afternoon through the overnight hours of Sunday night into Monday morning. The warning is for heavy snow and blowing snow:

NWS Twin Cities

Here are warning and advisory areas in northeastern Minnesota:

NWS Duluth

And the winter storm warning for portions of northwestern Minnesota:

NWS Grand Forks

The winter storm warning for the Twin Cities metro area begins at 3 p.m. today and continues until noon on Monday:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
403 AM CST Sun Jan 27 2019

…HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH EARLY
MONDAY…

…DANGEROUS WIND CHILLS TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING…

Accumulating snow will occur across all of central and southern
Minnesota into western Wisconsin Sunday afternoon through early
Monday morning. The greatest snow accumulations will stretch from
west central Minnesota through the Twin Cities metro to around the
Eau Claire area, with lesser amounts towards northern Minnesota,
southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. This system is
expected to cause significant travel impacts, especially Sunday
night through the Monday morning commute.

Winter Storm Warnings continue for all of central and southern
Minnesota and western Wisconsin, with the exception of a small
portion of southwestern Minnesota south of the Minnesota River.
In these areas, a Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect.

Snowfall amounts in the warning area can be expected to range
from 6 to 8 inches. Snowfall amounts in the advisory area can be
expected to range from 3 to 6 inches.

Dangerous wind chills of 60 below zero to 35 below zero are
expected Tuesday morning through Thursday morning in western and
central Minnesota. Wind chills of 35 below zero and lower are
expected Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning in east
central MN and west central Minnesota.

MNZ053-059>063-068>070-271815-
/O.NEW.KMPX.WC.A.0001.190129T2100Z-190131T1500Z/
/O.EXT.KMPX.WS.W.0002.190127T2100Z-190128T1800Z/
Chisago-Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-Carver-Scott-
Dakota-
Including the cities of Center City, Monticello, Minneapolis,
Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Chaska, Shakopee, and Hastings
403 AM CST Sun Jan 27 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 3 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO
NOON CST MONDAY…
…WIND CHILL WATCH IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH
THURSDAY MORNING…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Dangerously cold wind chills
possible. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 8 inches expected.
Wind chills as low as 55 below zero to 35 below zero likely.

* WHERE…Portions of central and east central Minnesota.

* WHEN…For the Winter Storm Warning, from 3 PM this afternoon
to noon CST Monday. For the Wind Chill Watch, from Tuesday
afternoon through Thursday morning.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy
blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening
commute. The dangerously cold wind chills could cause
frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 5 minutes.

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.

A Wind Chill Watch means there is the potential for a combination
of very cold air and the wind to create dangerously low wind
chill values. Monitor the latest forecasts and warnings for
updates on this situation.

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.

I should mention that the latest NAM forecast model info shows that accumulating snow may hold off until late afternoon in portions of the metro area.

You can check the latest forecasts, warnings and advisories from the NWS offices in the Twin Cities, Grand Forks, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., La Crosse, Wis and Duluth.

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

Extremely cold this coming week

Sunday highs will be below zero in about the northern third of Minnesota. Temps reach the single digits above zero across most of central and southern Minnesota, but some teens to lower 20s are expected in the southwest.

Monday highs reach the lower teens in the southeast, but remain below zero in the far north:

Tuesday highs will be below zero statewide:

Low temps late Tuesday night and early Wednesday are expected to be in the 20s below zero in southern Minnesota, with 30s below and possibly some 40s below zero in the north.

Wednesday highs will be incredibly cold:

Our Twin Cities metro area highs on Wednesday are expected to be around -12, after a Wednesday morning low of about -24. The low Thursday morning could also be about -24, followed by an afternoon high around -4. Metro temps rebound to a high of 10 above on Friday, and we could reach the upper 20s next Saturday. That’ll feel nice after several days of arctic cold!

Wind chills will be extremely cold Tuesday morning through Thursday morning:

NWS Twin Cities

The dark blue line on the chart shows the potential wind chill readings in the Twin Cities metro area.

Coldest since 1996?

If the temperature at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport hits -24 on Wednesday, it will tie with Jan. 30, 2004 as the coldest Twin Cities low temp since Dec. 26, 1996, when we dipped to -27.  If we hit -25, which seems possible, it will stand alone as our coldest low temperature in the Twin Cities since 1996.

I checked weather data for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and found low temps of -20 or colder on six consecutive days in 1996:

NOAA weather data for MSP airport

On Feb. 2, 1996 the MSP airport temperature hit -32. High temps are to the left of the low temps, and the highs were below zero on four of those six days!

Here’s a message from the Twin Cities office of the NWS:

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.

  • Christian Soltermann

    Hi Ron, I greatly appreciate your blog and the sharing of knowledgeable information. However when glancing quickly through the chart on the weather forecast I noticed a high on Friday of 23. In your Blog you mentioned a high of about 10. Wunderground matches you. Why the great discrepancy?

    • Ron Trenda

      Which chart are you referring to?

      • Christian Soltermann

        The 7 day outlook graph.