Snow rolls in; 4″ to 8″ metro by Sunday AM, blizzard warnings

Here comes the snow again.

Our latest snowmaker plays out differently than Wednesday’s system. Instead of steady persistent snow, this one comes in at least two pieces. Snow wave #1 spreads across Minnesota overnight through Saturday morning. And Saturday brings a twist. A shallow layer of above freezing air mixes in aloft that could produce some light glaze ice at times.

Fresh snow and a little glaze ice for the Birkiebeiner ski race between Hayward and Cable?

Two-phase system

The weather models have been consistent this week in showing a two-phase weather system this weekend. Watch how NOAA’s NAM 3 km resolution model paints the first wave of light snow across most of Minnesota overnight.

Then the wrapped-up low pressure-storm drives a band of intense snowfall rates with heavy snow totals on the system’s northwest side Saturday night into early Sunday morning. The powerful dynamics with this system have the capability to produce convective snowbursts with thundersnow and snowfall rates of 1″ to 3″ per hour in the heavy snow bands.

NOAA NAM 3 km resolution model from Friday night into Sunday morning via tropical tidbits.

Green flash lightning and thunderclaps are possible Saturday night from the Twin Cities south and east. Intense snowbursts with driving winds will produce dangerous travel conditions Saturday night. Blizzard and winter storm warnings are up, including the southern and eastern Twin Cities.

Add it all up and you have a minor to moderate snowfall overnight into early Saturday. Then you have a major snow, ice, and wind event Saturday night into Sunday morning. Here’s my take on snowfall totals for the weekend.

  • Western Minnesota, Red River Valley through central Minnesota: 2″ to 5″
  • North Shore, Twin Cities and Mankato: 4″ to 8″
  • Southeast Minnesota including Albert Lea, Rochester, Winona, Red Wing, Menomonie, Eau Claire, Wisconsin: 6″ to 12″ with ice mixed in.

Overall I can’t quibble too much with this model forecast map from NOAA’s GFS. The one exception is to add snowfall to the North Shore, which could pile up 4″ to 8″ this weekend.

Total weekend NOAA GFS model snowfall output via pivotal weather.

Cold next week

I keep looking for the eventual shift in the upper air pattern that will allow springlike temperatures to blow into Minnesota. Right now that search is coming up empty through at least next week. Cold air lingers for now.

NOAA via Weather Bell.

Southwest snow

A rare snowfall (and what looks like graupel) occurred in Los Angeles yesterday. It was just a dusting. Oh my do we feel their pain!

Actually, snow in the mountains of the southwest is common. Flagstaff, Ariz. is at about 7,500 feet elevation. They typically get 100 inches of snow in winter. Here’s their latest snow blitz on time-lapse.

And yes Minnesota, we have chances for more snowfall next Tuesday and Friday.

Hang in there!