Snowy Commute Home (In Parts Of The Metro) Wednesday
For those in parts of the south and east metro, it was a very slow commute home due to snow falling Wednesday evening across the area. Meanwhile, many in the north and west metro had a nice commute home with barely any snow falling. It's amazing to see where the cutoff of the snow occurs with storm systems like these. It's also very hard to forecast!
Want to thank my colleague Todd Nelson for these photos along I-94 in western Wisconsin from during the afternoon hours Wednesday as snow was starting to make travel rough in spots.
Snow Totals Through 6:30 PM
While we still have a bit of snow to go through, here were the snow totals across the metro as of 6:30 PM Wednesday evening. 10" of snow had already reported in Burnsville and Prior Lake, with 9" in Cottage Grove and 8" in Inver Grove Heights. However, go toward the west or north part of the metro and not much had fallen - only 0.9" in North St. Paul and 0.3" in Minnetonka.


It Could Be Worse: Denver Edition

Just be glad you weren't in Denver today, which saw blizzard conditions throughout the day.  You can't even see the city in this webcam timelapse loop from about 11 AM to 2 PM local time today as the webcam was coated with snow.

This webcam timelapse view from Lakewood, CO (just to the southwest of Denver) showed the very gusty winds and new snow they received Wednesday. This is part of the same system that brought us snow Wednesday into early Thursday across the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota.

The combination of heavy snow and blizzard conditions led to road conditions quickly deteriorating in the Denver metro during the day today - lots of red on the traffic map.

Here were the conditions that people in Denver had to deal with throughout the morning and into the afternoon Tuesday in Denver - visibility dropped to a quarter mile with sustained winds of at least 35 mph and wind gusts over 50 mph at times. Blizzard criteria is met when you have sustained winds of 35 mph or greater with visibility down to at least a quarter mile for at least three hours - and they certainly exceeded it.

The conditions were so bad in Denver, the International Airport was shut down. Due to the blizzard conditions, the visibility was unsafe for planes to arrive or depart from the airport. Pena Boulevard, which takes you to DIA, was also impassable.

While the Denver International Airport only saw 7.6" of snow, it was measured in feet in parts of the metro area. There was a 25.5" amount reported just east of Boulder, and 18" reported a few miles southeast of Denver.

No Worries: Forecast Calls for Rapid Melting
By Paul Douglas
"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade" wrote Charles Dickens in "Great Expectations". The arrival of spring is always a sordid affair - flailing spasms of cold and snow amidst emboldened warm fronts. Winter never goes quietly.
Tell that to residents of southeastern Minnesota, clawing out from a cool foot of slush. The MSP metro area was on the northern fringe of accumulating snow. A sun angle as high in the sky as it was back on September 18 will melt most of the slush on your lawn today, as blue sky lures the mercury to 40F. That's the beauty of a March snow: a quick photo-op, then it's gone.
A weak frontal passage whips up a few showers late Friday into Saturday; the atmosphere mild enough for a light rain-snow mix. No additional accumulation is expected. Temperatures mellow into the 50s next week with a few cracks of thunder by Wednesday.
NOAA models show another chilly slap the weekend after next, but in general heavy jackets will be increasingly rare in the weeks to come.
Extended Forecast for Minneapolis
THURSDAY: Partly sunny, brisk. High 40. Low 28. Precipitation Chance: 10%. Wind: N 10-15 mph.
FRIDAY: Clouds increase, late shower possible. High 44. Low 34. Precipitation Chance: 40%. Wind S 10-20 mph.
SATURDAY: Light mix, no accumulation expected. High 42. Low 29. Precipitation Chance: 50%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
SUNDAY: More clouds than sun, drier day. High 45. Low 30. Precipitation Chance: 20%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.
MONDAY: Partly sunny and milder. High 48. Low 34. Precipitation Chance: 10%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.
Breezy, late day showers. High 54. Low 42. Precipitation Chance: 50%. Wind SE 10-20 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Showers, chance of thunder. High 56. Low 38. Precipitation Chance: 70%. Wind S 15-25 mph.


This Day in Weather History
March 24th

1851: Minnesota experiences an early spring 'heat wave' with 60s and 70s common.


Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
March 24th

Average High: 45F (Record: 76F set in 1939)
Average Low: 27F (Record: -8F set in 1965)
Average Precipitation: 0.07" (Record: 1.06" set in 1949)
Average Snowfall: 0.2" (Record: 6.8" in 1996)

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
March 24th

Sunrise: 7:08 AM
Sunset: 7:31 PM

*Length Of Day: 12 hours, 23 minutes and 40 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3mins & 9secs

*Next Sunrise That Is Before 7 AM: March 29th (6:58 am)
*Next Sunset That Is After 8 PM: April 16th (8:01 pm)

Thursday Minnesota Weather Outlook
We'll see temperatures stay cool across the region, only getting into the upper 30s to maybe low 40s even with sunshine returning throughout the day. Reason? The new snow pack. That's certainly evident in southern Minnesota, where Fairmont is only expected to reach a high of 34. Where there isn't snow on the ground, up toward Brainerd and Fargo, highs will warm into the low to mid 40s.
Forecast satellite and radar every three hours from 7 AM Thursday through 1 AM Friday. Graphic: AerisWeather
The system responsible for our snow will be on the way out in the morning hours, and clearing skies will work into the Twin Cities as we head toward the lunch hour (sooner if you are off to the north and west). Skies should remain fairly clear through the afternoon hours into the overnight.

National Outlook

While we watch the system that brought us snow depart off to the east, snow will continue to be possible across parts of the Great Lakes and New England Thursday, along with severe weather in the warm sector (more on that in a moment). The frontal boundary associated with this system moving across the country is expected to stall out over the southeast late this week, bringing them unsettled weather into the weekend. The next prominent system on our map is a clipper diving out of Canada as we end the week, bringing some rain and snow to parts of the Rockies and upper Midwest.

Severe threat Thursday. Graphic: AerisWeather

In the warm sector of our departing storm Thursday, severe weather will once again be likely from the Ohio Valley southward toward the Gulf Coast. Large hail, damaging winds and a few tornadoes are possible.



Thanks for checking in and have a great Thursday! Don't forget you can follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) or on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!


- D.J. Kayser


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Midday Update: Snow Will Range From 1-6" Across The Metro

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Lawn-Greening Saturday Soaker; Slushy Potential Up North