We are watching another potentially significant snowfall scenario for Friday night into Saturday. It's still too early for specifics (the National Weather Service has yet to issue a Winter Storm Watch) but morning weather models print out (very) plowable amounts of snow across much of central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro. Final totals will depend on the exact track of the storm, how quickly the system moves, and how much moisture is swept into the low pressure system from the Gulf of Mexico, but here are the major points we want to make at this time:
1). No travel problems into the daylight hours Friday. The atmosphere should be mild enough for rain tonight, and part of Friday.
2). A changeover to ice, then snow is expected Friday evening and Friday night, with all snow on Saturday. If you're planning extensive travel on Saturday you may want to have a Plan B, just in case the worst-case snow scenario materializes. Confidence levels for snowfall totals are still low, but it's fairly safe to say that a band of 6-12" snows may very well set up over much of central Minnesota, and the Twin Cities could easily pick up plowable amounts as well.
3). Snow lingers over western Wisconsin Sunday, but travel conditions should slowly improve across Minnesota Sunday as flurries taper; a high sun angle should mean mainly wet roads by Sunday afternoon. By Tuesday much of the snow will have melted with daytime highs in the 40s.
4). Stay tuned for continuous updates on what may be an historic, mid-April snowfall. So far the Twin Cities have picked up 10.3" so far in April. The all-time April snowfall record for MSP is 21.8" set in 1983. At the rate we're going we may come close.
ECMWF Model. Weekend temperatures may be close to freezing, but 40s return next week, meaning rapid melting of whatever snow does fall.
GFS Model Solution. NOAA's 12z GFS model prints out well over a foot of snow for much of central Minnesota with the Twin Cities seeing extreme amounts as well. Confidence levels are low, but right now both GFS and NAM solutions are fairly similar.
NAM Model. NOAA's 12z NAM weather model prints out over 20" west of the Twin Cities, which seems extreme, but the relatively slow movement of this storm will prolong moderate snow, especially over central Minnesota, which stands the greatest chance of picking up a foot or more.
Stay tuned for more updates. My apologies. I'm as ready for spring as you are.
- Paul Douglas