Storm Risk Increases This Afternoon - Flash Flood Risk Central Minnesota
May 31, 2014 — 3:21pm
Growing Shower and Thunderstorm Risk. The line of showers and storms that has hovered over southwest, central and northeastern Minnesoeta much of the day continues to creep east, pushing a ripe environment for pop-up showers and heavier T-stoms into the metro area. The risk of hit-or-miss storms increases as the afternoon goes on, the best chance of a few downpours western and northern suburbs. After peaking in the mid-80s today I suspect Sunday will be cloudier with more numerous showers/storms as the front passes overhead. NWS Doppler radar at 12:26 PM.
* the area outlined in green from Olivia and St. Cloud to Mora and Duluth is under a mesoscale precipitation discussion - conditions are ripe for thunderstorms with rain falling at the rate of 1-2"/hour, capable of street and small stream flooding.
A Troubled Front. 1 km visible imagery at 12:30 PM shows cells mushrooming in the warm sector (with dew points in the mid and upper 60s providing plenty of fresh fuel). Winds aloft are light - the risk of severe storms is small, but there's a greater threat of repeated ("training") thunderstorms dropping some 2-5" rainfall amounts, especially over central Minnesota.
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Shocking: meteorologists actually have something to do, which may be an anomaly in this El Nino-warmed winter that's setting up. A surge of southern moisture will spark steady, slushy snow - resembling something we might experience in March vs. December. By the time the flakes stop flying late Tuesday much of the area will have 5-8", a few towns may boast up to 10" of heavy, wet snow. Hey, it's winter in Minnesota. It's supposed to snow!
Well this is unusual: a risk of an actual "storm"? I'm sorry, an inch of snow in late November doesn't qualify. But a slow-moving surge of moisture approaching from the south may drop enough snow to shovel and plow late Monday into midday Tuesday. It's still premature to lob around inch-amounts, but on our (patented) scale from nuisance to plowable to crippling this could definitely wind up in the plowable category. Stay tuned...
Well, we had our Thanksgiving excitement: 1.3" of slush at MSP International Airport; more south and east, less north and west. Just enough to remind us that the start of meteorological winter is a few days away. On paper. There still isn't much in the way of bitter air showing up within a few thousand miles of Minnesota; I see a mild bias continuing into mid-December, possibly longer. We'll see snow and cold fronts, just not the volume we're accustomed to.
Somewhere along the way an inch of snow became a "storm". BREAKING NEWS! When temperatures are near 32F as they will be today an inch of snow is a nuisance, most major roads stay wet with accumulation on lawns, fields, and slow-moving relatives. There probably will be some slippery roads by late afternoon and evening, especially south/east of MSP, where a couple inches may pile up. Since we've all forgotten how to drive on snow please be careful out there! Better yet, stay home, have an extra plate of food and ponder the many things we all have to be thankful for.
While many are planning on traveling over the next couple of days, a storm system will wrap up over the Central U.S., making for a few trouble spots. The good news is that significant snowfall tallies look unlikely close to home as the storm passes to our south, but rain changing to light snow Wednesday into Thursday may make for a slower commute. Check the blog for more details. -Todd Nelson