By Paul Douglas
Keep your expectations low, that way you'll never be disappointed. Especially when it comes to snow. Wait, we muddle thru 3 weeks of numb, a streak of subzero nights and a parade of piddly clippers. When a big, moisture-laden storm finally approaches it's too warm for all snow? Old Man Winter is toying with us.
No major travel problems today; a little freezing drizzle may arrive by tonight. Temperatures aloft will be just warm enough for a rain-snow mix much of Sunday, possibly 1-3 inches of sloppy snow Sunday night. Just enough to amuse you on your Monday morning commute. No big deal. A surge of dry air (the "dreaded dry tongue") may cut off precipitation Sunday night. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect, but the best chance of significant snow will be over the Red River Valley and Dakotas.
Meanwhile New England is seeing a real blizzard; coastal winds gusting to 60. Like Sandy, this was a mash-up of two separate storms, mutating into a potent Nor'easter. Warmer Atlantic water may be fueling the storm.
According to climate scientist Kevin Trenberth sea surface temperatures off New England are running 1.5 to 2. 5 F. warmer than the 1981-2010 averages. Weather on steroids.
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
**WINTER STORM WATCH AM SUNDAY - PM MONDAY**
Saturday: Clouds thicken through the day. Wintry mix overnight. Winds: S 15mph. High: 35
Saturday Night: Wintry mix. Light ice glaze with very little sleet/snow accumulation expected. Low: 31.
Sunday: Rain/sleet/snow mix, turning to all snow later. 1" to 3" sleet/snow accumulation. (higher end of that scale NW side of town). High: 34.
Sunday Night: All snow, an additional 1" to 3" possible (higher end of that scale NW side of town). Low: 26
MONDAY: Scattered snow showers, additional light snow accumulations possible early. High: 29.
TUESDAY: Better travel day. Intervals of sun. Low: 12. High: 25.
WEDNESDAY: Sun and cloud mix. Low: 14. High: 30.
THURSDAY: Next clipper arrives. Light snow. Low: 19. High: 29.
FRIDAY: Some sun, turning colder. Low: 15. High: 22
**WINTER STORM WATCH**
A large chunk of the Upper Midwest has been put under WINTER WEATHER HEADLINES including BLIZZARD WATCHES. A fairly intense area of low pressure will blow into the Upper Mississippi Valley region by the weekend with strong winds and wintry precipitation. At this point, the heaviest snowfall looks to fall from portions of northwestern Nebraska to central/eastern South Dakota, eastern North Dakota and into central and northern Minnesota, where 6" to 10"+ of snow will be possible. Strong winds on the backside of the low will gust to near 45mph and create whiteout conditions across the Dakotas and far western Minnesota.
Probability of at Least 4" of Snow on SUNDAY
Again, at this point, it still appears that the heaviest will just miss the Twin Cities. The NWS probability of at least 4" of snow on SUNDAY are at 70% across central and northwestern MN.
Probability of at Least 8" of Snow on SUNDAY
Here's the NWS probability of at least 8" of snow on SUNDAY. Note there is still a small 70% near the SD/ND/MN border. The 10% does not fall in the Twin Cities.
Probability of at Least 12" of Snow on SUNDAY
The percent chance of at least 12" of snow on SUNDAY drops down to just 10% across northwestern MN.
Slop Storm for MSP
It still looks like a messy situation for MSP. warmer air will wrap into the system and give way to a wintry mix Saturday night - Sunday before turning to all snow later Sunday into Monday. This will cut down of snow totals for the metro. The heaviest snow will be across the Dakotas into central and northern MN. Here's a look at a few different weather models for the Twin Cities. I've circled the "MODEL AVERAGE" which suggests some shoveling potential, especially on the northwestern side of town, while the southern metro may be lucky to get a couple of inches.. Again, that sleet/rain/freezing rain will cut down on our totals. Total precipitation (liquid) from the storm could be near 1" for some! Stay tuned!
Here's the latest HPC 3 day precipitation forecst. Note several maximums there exceeding 1" - again from central Minnesota and southeast, snowfall amount could be cut down quite a bit due to warmer air wrapping into the system. That would change precipitation over to Rain/Freezing Rain and Sleet!
Historic Nor'Easter Continues...
Wild wind and snow surrounding the historic Nor'Easter of 2013 will begin to wind down through PM Saturday and Sunday. Post storm, there will be lots of cleanup, which will likely take days/weeks to remove nearly 2ft. to 3ft in places. Near hurricane force wind gusts and the shear quantity of snow will make for a number of power restorations that will likely be still ongoing through next week.
** STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2 FEET...WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS MUCH OF THE NORTHEAST. THE HEAVIEST SNOW IS FORECAST TO FALL ACROSS PARTS OF EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS...CONNECTICUT AND RHODE ISLAND WHERE SNOWFALL AMOUNTS HIGHER THAN 2 FEET ARE POSSIBLE. IN ADDITION TO THE HEAVY SNOWFALL... WIND GUSTS AS HIGH AS 70 MPH ARE POSSIBLE...ESPECIALLY NEAR THE COAST. THIS WILL RESULT IN BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WITH DRIFTING AND BLOWING SNOW ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND INTO SATURDAY. TRAVEL CONDITIONS WILL BE EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE. **
Infancy of Storm in NYC
New England Closed Until Further Notice
A number of cities in the Northeast basically 'shut down' in advance of this storm. Ground and air travel halted Friday. The images below from Flightaware.com showed over 3,000 flight cancellations across the nation on Friday, most of those in the Northeast due to the massive storm!
A Storm of Historic Proportions... 2013?
This storm definitely has the potential to dump record snow amounts in quite a few areas. Here are the top 5 storm totals for Providence, RI and Boston, MA. Interestingly, the February 5th-7th, 1978 storm ranks as the all-time greatest snow storm in Providence, RI at 28.6". Boston, MA had it's 2nd largest snow storm during that storm at 27.1". This storm certainly has the potential to meet OR exceed some of the top 5 tallies listed below!
As of 7AM CST - the BOSTON LOGAN airport was reporting 21.8" which is good enough for the 6th largest snow event in recorded history. Snow is expected to gradually taper through the day Satuday, so those top 3 snows certainly are within striking distance! More to come.
Big snow has eluded the Boston, MA region over the last couple of winters. In fact, the last time we've seen a 12" snow storm was back in 2011. January 11th that had 14.6" !! By the way, the biggest snow event last winter was a whopping 4.4"
Boston Snow Stats Continued...
Here are some other Boston snow stats. Note the measly 9.3" seasonal snow total last winter!
This is the storm progged by Sunday. This storm will have the capability of heavy snow across the Upper Midwest and strong/severe storms across the Lower Mississippi Valley.
This storm system will also have the capability of producing strong to severe thunderstorms across the south Saturday and possibly Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for parts of Texas on Sunday. Stay tuned for more.
Thanks for checking in, have a great weekend ahead!
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