* Latest model suite suggests the storm track may shift 100 miles farther south/east, pushing across Missouri into northern Illinois, which might be too far south/east for the heaviest snow bands to set up over MSP. We are by no means out of the woods - we'll have to see if this is a true trend - but there is a (growing) chance that the heaviest snow may detour 50-150 miles south/east of the Twin Cities the middle of next week.
* Latest 12z GFS prints out around .20" Monday (2-3" slushy snow) and another .7" liquid Wednesday, considerably less than previous runs - due to a southward shift to the storm track. That could still translate into 6+" of snow, maybe a lot more than that over far southeastern Minnesota (Rochester/Winona area). Too early to tell, but it still looks like a significant snowfall the middle of next week for roughly the southeastern half of Minnesota.
* The brunt of the storm (whatever falls) is still 5 days away! I expect more (frustrating) shifts in the weather models - still impossible to say how this storm will shake out. I'm trying to bring you the latest guidance (for every armchair meteorologist in the state), show you the complexities with this next storm. The forecast is never black or white - it's almost always some nebulous shade of gray. My semi-educated hunch? We'll get a couple inches by Monday, at least another 4-6" Wednesday, with some 10-12" amounts over far southeastern Minnesota. Insert disclaimer here: if the storm shifts north/west again, which could very well happen, we could be right back in that zone of heaviest snow. The sad, simple truth: it's too early to get ultra-specific about next week's snowfall. The threat of a foot or more has lessened, at least for now, but next Wednesday could still be a mess, even if "only" 4-6" falls in the metro.
* Thanks for tuning in - amused by some of the comments. (Some) people have unreal expectations about weather 5 days out. Try predicting where the Dow or Nasdaq will be 5 days from now. Good luck with that. My philosophy for storm coverage is a little different: rather than editing out the maps (throwing out the stuff I think is crap) I'd rather bring you as much raw data as possible - let you see what's going on in the kitchen and let you reach your own conclusions, for better or worse. The process is frustrating, yet fascinating, the shifts in the models, the zigs and zags in the projected storm track. Now you know why we have gray hair and pet ulcers. For the record - the storm is still up in the Gulf of Alaska, 4,500 miles away. It will be interesting to see how this evolves - I'll keep updating the blog with the latest, warts and all.
Latest Guidance. This is the ECWMF model, the "European model", which often does a better job than the USA's GFS computer model. It's predicting a storm track from the Texas Panhandle to near the Quad Cities (or possibly Rockford, IL) by 7 am Wednesday morning. If this verifies (another monstrous IF) we would still pick up accumulating snow, but the heaviest snow bands would probably set up just south/east of MSP, hovering over northern/western Iowa, far southeastern MN and southern/central Wisconsin, where some 10-12"+ amounts could still pile up. The models are trending the track farther south/east over time, so there's a growing chance MSP will miss out on the heaviest snow amounts - but again, this thing is still 5 days away. A lot can (and will) happen between now and then.
Two "Waves" Of Snow? The latest models are looking more impressive for a "plowable" snowfall Monday, a surge of moisture and energy spinning off ahead of the main storm on Wednesday - possibly as much as 2-4" Monday. A lull Tuesday gives way to the main storm Wednesday, but the latest GFS models drop amounts on Wednesday into the 5-7" range. Between both snow events it could still wind up being 5-10" from Monday through Wednesday, nothing to sneeze at, but (hopefully) not the 10-15"+ that earlier models were hinting at.
Say What? I know - I had to triple check and make sure this wasn't in metric. No - that's INCHES of snow between today and noon on March 19, factoring in next week's storm, and a predicted second major storm around March 18-19. A lot of factors to consider - this is a (very shaky) long-range outlook which is almost certainly going to change - but the trends are troubling for spring flooding. If we even pick up HALF this amount (15", instead of the predicted 31" for the Twin Cities, and only 26" across southwestern MN, instead of the 53" predicted for Windom) we will experience severe flooding, possibly the worst on many Minnesota tributaries since 1965. Thanks to Andy Revering over at F5Data.com for passing this along.
(Again - the latest 12z GFS is pulling back on snowfall amounts - the first time we've seen less than a foot. I want to see if this is a true trend, or an aberration. We'll update you on what the 18z and 00z GFS numbers look like). 8" would still be a pretty big deal, but obviously not as bad as 10-15". I'm hoping this map doesn't verify - latest runs shift the heaviest snow bands south/east - we'll see if that trend continues).
Updated Timeline. The latest GFS (12z) model is printing out about 2" of slushy snow Monday, another 6.6" by Wednesday, for a total from this system of close to 8". It's too early to know if this (lower amount) is a true trend, or a fluke. I want to see a few more model runs. The brunt of the storm - whatever does fall - is still 5 days away.
Predicted Snowfall By Midnight Tuesday Night. The GFS prints out a 12-16" bullseye over Nebraksa and southern South Dakota, with some 5-10" amounts into southwestern MN, roughly 2-4" in the Twin Cities by midnight Tuesday night.