By Todd Nelson
In recent years, I've come to find that Fall is really my favorite time of year. Not only does comfort food taste better, but the weather tends to move a little faster and is quite a bit more interesting.
Finally, after several weeks of thumb twiddling and wish-casting, the summer doldrums have come to an end. It is apparent that there is an end now as the shooting gallery of clipper-like systems have stumbled into our neck of the woods.
Chunks of Pacific moisture have been steadily lashing the West Coast, we have been getting the left-overs. A more substantial Pacific storm will wobble inland and head our way by the weekend. This classic Fall storm will generate hefty snow tallies from Montana to North Dakota, while the warm, more unsettled side of the storm sets up near us. There is a growing thunder potential from the Twin Cities to Dodge City, KS on Saturday afternoon.
Those in the coastal communities of the Northeast will, once again, be bracing for another strong storm today. This storm, the son of Sandy, will be nowhere as strong, but the impacts will still be that of a 'typical' Nor'Easter. Hoping they can catch their breath soon! -Todd Nelson
Todd's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota (and western Wisconsin too):
WEDNESDAY: Increasing sun through the day. High 45.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Cool and quiet. Low: 32
THURSDAY: Quiet with few clouds and mild. High 52. Low 35.
FRIDAY: Turning breezy. Clouds thicken, drizzle possible late? High 50. Low 43.
SATURDAY: Growing risk of afternoon thunder. High 62. Low 38.
SUNDAY: Breezy and much cooler. A few AM flurries? High 40. Low 24.
MONDAY: Jacket worthy, more afternoon sun. High: 35. Low: 24.
TUESDAY: Felling like late November. High: 36. Low: 26
Thanks to @TheJohnNolan for the somewhat comical picture below. The birds out of Fort Walton Beach, FL must have known that it was Election Day as they too were at the polls… LOL!
I’ve always enjoyed early season snowfall. Even if they are light events, it always seems to be surprise when you actually see it. A weak clipper system rolling through the Western Great Lakes Region kicked up some snow earlier today. The image below is from the National Weather Service office in La Crosse, WI. There isn’t much there, but it was enough to coat the ground with a little white!
Other Snowy Webcams
This was the scene from Neillsville, WI earlier Tuesday.
This was the scene from the BWCAW in northeast MN earlier Tuesday.
Much Needed Moisture
Nice to see this precipitation move in… it is much welcomed! It wasn’t much for folks around the Minneapolis/St. Paul region picked up around 0.25″ or more.
More Snow on the Way?
A fairly large storm looks to develop later this week and spread a wintry blast across the High Plains into the weekend. For now, parts of Montana and North Dakota look to get the worst of the snow and wind.
…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING… A WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING.
* TIMING AND MAIN IMPACT: SNOW IS EXPECTED DEVELOP OVER SOUTHWEST MONTANA WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND EXPAND NORTHWARD THROUGH THE DAY ON THURSDAY AND CONTINUE THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. THE SNOW COULD BECOME HEAVY AT TIMES ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: ONE TO TWO FEET IS POSSIBLE IN THE MOUNTAINS WITH 6 TO 12 INCHES ON THE PLAINS. 3 TO 6 INCHES IS POSSIBLE IN THE VALLEYS OF SOUTHWEST MONTANA.
* WINDS: NORTH WINDS 15 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH ARE POSSIBLE ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL MONTANA. THESE WINDS COULD RESULT IN BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL MONTANA THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING.
* VISIBILITY: LOCAL VISIBILITIES OF LESS THAN ONE HALF MILE IN HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW COULD OCCUR.
* OTHER IMPACTS: MOUNTAIN PASSES WILL QUICKLY BECOME SNOW COVERED AND SLIPPERY AT THE ONSET OF THE SNOWFALL. WARMER GROUND TEMPERATURES AT THE LOWER ELEVATIONS COULD LEAD TO MELTING OF THE SNOW ON ROADWAYS THURSDAY AFTERNOON… THESE ROADS COULD BECOME ICY AND SNOW COVERED AFTER SUNSET THURSDAY. THOSE WORKING OR RECREATING OUTDOORS NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR RAPIDLY CHANGING CONDITIONS.
Some of the latest forecast models suggest a decent dumping, up to 10″ or more for a number of locations from Montana to North Dakota. This snow would lingering into Saturday, so folks in the path of this heavy snow or who have travel plans from Thursday-Saturday should keep up to date with latest forecasts!
Classic Fall Storm
This is one of those classic fall storms, where heavy snow/blizzard like conditions will be found on the northwest side of the storm and strong to severe storms will be possible on the warmer, more unstable southeast side. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a thunderstorm outlook for Saturday along the cool front. Thunderstorms may be a little more vigorous by the afternoon/evening hours on Saturday… it’ll be something to watch.
The Other Developing Storm
Take a look at the 5oomb vorticity map below. Note the stronger (developing) storm in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday, but also note the tightly wound storm in the Northeast. That is the storm that we’ve been fussing about over the last several days and for good reason. Unlike the Superstorm last week, this system won’t be as strong and won’t cause as much widespread damage. However, this storm will be significant, especially since we are still cleaning up from last week’s major blast!
Surface Low Pressure
According to the latest GFS (American Model), the center of low pressure is forecast to be a little less intense than it was yesterday. This is good news, but with such a tightly wound system this close to the coast, there will still be some significant wind buffeting the coastal communities Wednesday-Thursday.
Northeast Weather Headlines
These are some of the latest headlines from the National Weather Service. These will likely be upgraded by Wednesday-Thursday as the storm intensifies and gets closer.
…A DEVELOPING COASTAL STORM MAY BRING WINTRY PRECIPITATION TO THE I-95 CORRIDOR…ANOTHER WARM DAY ON TAP ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN U.S. AS AN UPPER RIDGE CONTINUES TO DOMINATE… A DISTURBANCE WITHIN THE SOUTHERN BRANCH OF THE JET STREAM SHOULD LIFT NORTHWARD THIS AFTERNOON ALONG THE SOUTHEASTERN U.S. COAST. AS A BLOCKING RIDGE ANCHORS THE OPEN ATLANTIC…THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO GAIN LATITUDE WITH LITTLE SHIFT TO THE EAST. THE COASTAL SYSTEM FORECAST TO DEVELOP WILL DEFINITELY BE A HEAVY RAIN AND GUSTY WIND PRODUCER WHILE CHURNING UP THE SEAS. HOWEVER…RECENT MODEL GUIDANCE SUGGESTS THIS AREA OF DISTURBED WEATHER MAY BE NUDGED OFFSHORE A BIT FURTHER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT WHICH WOULD LESSEN THE IMPACTS OVER THE NORTHEASTERN CONUS. THE CURRENT TRACK OF THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO KEEP THE HEAVIEST RAINFALL JUST OFFSHORE OF THE NEW JERSEY COAST. WITH A SURFACE RIDGE SETTING UP TO THE NORTH OF THIS DISTURBANCE…ENOUGH LOW-LEVEL COLD AIR WILL WEDGE ITSELF ALONG THE I-95 CORRIDOR TO BRING SOME ACCUMULATING SNOWS FROM DELAWARE UP TO MAINE. THIS CURRENTLY INCLUDES SOME MAJOR METROPOLITAN CITIES INCLUDING PHILADELPHIA…NEW YORK CITY…AND BOSTON WHERE A FEW INCHES ARE POSSIBLE. KEEP IN MIND THAT THE TRACK OF THIS SYSTEM HAS BEEN CHANGING WHICH WOULD ULTIMATELY ALTER THE IMPACTS TO THE NORTHEAST. FOR THE LATEST THOUGHTS ON MODEL GUIDANCE…PLEASE VISIT THE HPC MODEL DIAGNOSTICS DISCUSSION ON THE HPC WEBSITE UNDER THE DISCUSSIONS HEADER. AN UPPER TROUGH DIVING DOWN FROM SOUTHERN SASKATCHEWAN WILL RACE SOUTHEASTWARD TOWARD THE UPPER GREAT LAKES. THIS SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO CARVE OUT A FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT TROUGH ACROSS THE EASTERN U.S. WHILE FOLLOWING A SIMILAR TRACK TO THE AFOREMENTIONED SYSTEM OVER THE COASTAL ATLANTIC. UNLIKE THE PRECEDING DISTURBANCE…THIS BATCH OF ENERGY WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO AS MUCH LOW-LEVEL MOISTURE. AS A RESULT…PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ALONG THE ASSOCIATED BOUNDARY SHOULD BE LIGHTER IN NATURE ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST/GREAT LAKES AND DOWN THROUGH THE OHIO/TENNESSEE VALLEYS. ENOUGH COLD AIR WILL BE IN PLACE TO SUPPORT A WINTRY MIX OVER SECTIONS OF NORTHEASTERN MINNESOTA AND NORTHERN WISCONSIN. AN EXPANSIVE UPPER RIDGE CURRENTLY SITUATED OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN U.S. WILL BRING ANOTHER WARM DAY TO THE REGION ON TUESDAY. ABUNDANT SUNSHINE SHOULD SUPPORT HIGHS IN THE 80S ACROSS THE GOLDEN STATE WITH LOWER 90S INTO THE DESERT LOCALES. ADDITIONALLY…THE OFFSHORE FLOW REGIME SHOULD ULTIMATELY HOLD THE MARINE LAYER AT BAY ALLOWING THE COAST TO EVEN WARM INTO THE LOW/MID 70S. BY MID-WEEK…THE RIDGE WILL SHIFT EASTWARD IN RESPONSE TO AN AMPLIFIED TROUGH DIVING DOWN INTO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. THIS IS EXPECTED TO ENHANCE THE THREAT FOR SHOWERS OVER THE NORTHWESTERN U.S. BY MIDDAY TUESDAY AND CONTINUING INTO THE FOLLOWING DAY.
Surge Prediction. Keep in mind the (NOAA) values above are superimposed over normal high tide, which will result in higher numbers for coastal communities. So a 2-4 foot surge will in addition to astronomical forcing, which will result in considerably higher water levels. Even so, the resulting storm surge will be roughly ½ as high as we experienced during Sandy’s rampage.
The one thing that I’ve noticed over the last couple of days is that the heavy precipitation corridor has shifted east just a bit. Yes, there will be heavy rain along those coastal communities, but not as much as what the Superstorm brought last week.
Some Northeast Snow?
This storm may also be capable of producing some wet snow. The latest GFS is still suggesting a wet, slushy accumulation across parts of New Jersey.
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week!
Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV