Winter Storm Forecast

Here comes the next winter storm! Rain will change over to snow during the morning hours across central and southern Minnesota, including here in the Twin Cities. The main question is when does the changeover happen? That will help determine how much snow actually does fall across the metro. While the morning commute Monday could have the potential to be impacted, there is without a doubt that any travel during the afternoon hours will be tough as that is when some of the heaviest snow is expected to fall.

These are the current forecast snow totals across the state. Again, the one thing that complicates everything is knowing when the rain will change over to snow. If it occurs sooner than expected, snow totals could end up higher. If it's later than expected, snow totals will be less. Right now the forecast has a good 6-10" swath from Longville to Duluth southward through St. Cloud, the Twin Cities, Mankato and Rochester. The heaviest totals are expected in the Hinckley/Mora/Cambridge area, where 10" (or more) could fall.

While most areas will see minimal ice accumulation, the highest could occur in areas from Alexandria to Park Rapids, where over a tenth of an inch is possible.

Winter Storm Warnings have now been issued from northwest Minnesota down I-94 toward the Twin Cities and into southeastern Minnesota for the upcoming snowstorm. These areas have the best chance of receiving 5"+ of snow at the moment, with the highest totals expected north of the Twin Cities along and near I-35 including Mora and Hinckley where 8-10"+ could fall. Some light icing will also be possible in these areas. The Winter Storm Warning is surrounded by Winter Weather Advisories, where lower snow totals are expected.

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Lightning Early Sunday Morning

Did you wake up to some thunder and lightning outside your window this morning? Rain off to the west of the Twin Cities did have some recorded lightning strikes with them - so no, your eyes (or ears) were not deceiving you! I have boxed the storms that had lightning with them (marked by the white or gray circles) in the radar image above, courtesy of AerisWeather AMP.

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Winter Storm Watch - Should Be Very Plowable
By Paul Douglas

Surprised by today's heavy, wet snowfall? If you've lived in Minnesota longer than 15 minutes you probably shouldn't be. March is one of our snowiest months of the year, with average snowfall over 10 inches.

Ironically, some towns will pick up a cool 10 inches of snow by Tuesday morning, as a long-lasting snow event unfolds. A storm is forecast to stall, temporarily, over southwest Minnesota, prolonging a band of heavy, wet snow. As much as 5-10 inches may set up over the metro, with a foot north of MSP! Bold North indeed.

This will be "heart attack snow" - heavy and wet with over an inch of liquid water trapped in the snow pack. Take it easy shoveling out there. This will be a warmer storm, helping MnDOT keep freeways wet and slushy by midday Tuesday.

Whatever snow does fall on your yard will stick around most of the week with temperatures below 32F much of the time. I see a run of 40s, even 50F by mid-March, but spring is in no great hurry this year.

During an average winter 54 inches of snow falls on MSP. Some towns may have that much by tomorrow. Imagine that!

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Extended Twin Cities Forecast

MONDAY: Snow becomes heavy. High 36. Low 28. Chance of precipitation 100%. Wind E 20-40 mph.
TUESDAY: Snow tapers, totals from 5-10". High 33. Low 21. Chance of precipitation 80%. Wind NE 10-20 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Peeks of sun, better travel. High 31. Low 18. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 8-13 mph.
THURSDAY: Bright sunshine, no sign of spring. High 32. Low 19. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY: Some sun, a bit milder. High 35. Low 25. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind W 5-10 mph.
SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy and sloppy. High 38. Low 26. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind E 5-10 mph.
SUNDAY: Partly sunny, looks quiet. High 40. Low 21. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NE 5-10 mph.

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This Day in Weather History
March 5th

1966: A powerful blizzard finally ends in the Upper Midwest. Some wind gusts from the storm topped 100 mph.

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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
March 5th

Average High: 36F (Record: 72F set in 2000)
Average Low: 20F (Record: -14F set in 1960)
Average Precipitation: 0.05" (Record: 0.70" set in 1961)
Average Snow: 0.4" (Record: 11.0" set in 1915)

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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
March 5th

Sunrise: 6:43 AM
Sunset: 6:06 PM

*Length Of Day: 11 hours, 22 minutes and 19 seconds
*Daylight Gained Since Yesterday: ~3 minutes and 9 seconds

*Sunrises After 7 AM Begin Again March 11th (7:32 AM) Due To Daylight Saving Time
*Sunsets After 7 PM Begin March 11th (7:13 PM) Due To Daylight Saving Time

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Minnesota Weather Outlook

Snow, snow and more snow will be the story across the state Monday, with highs climbing into the 30s for most locations.

Highs will be around average across most of the state Monday, with slightly warmer than average weather found across northwest Minnesota.

Highs will be below average for most of the week in the Twin Cities, with the coldest day of the next seven expected to be Wednesday when highs might not make it to 30. We do see a warm up as we head into next weekend, with highs once again approaching 40.

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National Weather Forecast

A low pushing off the Rockies will bring blizzard conditions and a winter storm to parts of the upper Midwest Monday. The frontal boundaries associated with that low will also bring showers and storms from the Ohio Valley to the Deep South. Across parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, light precipitation (in the form of rain or snow) is possible.

Highs across the central United States Monday will once again be above average, however not quite to the level that they have been the past couple days. Cooler than average weather is once again expected across the western and eastern United States.

Through Friday morning, a few areas of heavier precipitation is expected across the lower 48. The first will be over the upper Midwest, where that snowstorm and blizzard impacts the region Monday into Tuesday. That could bring up to 1.5" of liquid in the heavy snow. The second is across the Northeast, where a coastal low is expected to form and move through the region during the middle of the week. A third exists in the western United States, where an approaching low and frontal system during the second half of the week will bring precipitation to the region.

The heaviest snow over the next couple days will be across the upper Midwest, where 6-12"+ of snow is expected for the beginning of the work week.

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Praedictix Corporate Weather Briefing On The Upper Midwest Winter Storm Issued Sunday Morning

Heavy Snow Expected Across The Upper Midwest. As a storm system moves out from the Rockies into the Plains, snow is expected to spread across the upper Midwest later today into Monday. While most of the precipitation across the upper Midwest will be in the form of rain today, it will start to mix with snow (and even some freezing rain) tonight before most areas see snow – heavy at times – on Monday. This snow will impact both the morning and evening commutes across the region Monday. Snow is expected to start falling in:

  • Bismarck, ND: During the evening hours later today
  • Pierre, SD: Around midnight tonight
  • Fargo, ND: During the early morning hours Monday
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: During the morning commute Monday

Lighter snow will continue to linger into Tuesday as this system will take its time to depart the region. The heaviest snow will fall across the upper Midwest tonight into Monday, with 1-2” per hour snowfall rates expected.

Winter Weather Concerns. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories continue today from Utah to Montana for additional heavy snow associated with this system that will be making its way into the upper Midwest over the next 24-36 hours. Winter Storm Warnings go into effect later today/tonight across the Dakotas for the potential of 7-13” of snow. Blizzard Warnings go into effect tonight from southwest North Dakota into far northern Nebraska (including in Pierre, SD). Across the Blizzard Warning area, snow of up to a foot in some areas is expected along with wind gusts of 40-65 mph which will cause whiteout conditions and very difficult travel, including the potential of road closures. Winter Storm Watches are in effect Monday into Tuesday across parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota into Wisconsin and far northeastern Iowa for the potential of 6-12”+ of heavy snow.

Forecast Upper Midwest Snow Totals. The heaviest snow is expected to fall across two separate areas – one across the Dakotas with a second area in central and eastern Minnesota extending into western Wisconsin. These are the areas that have the best potential of at least 6” of snow, with a foot or more possible depending on how heavy snow bands set up across the region.

Closer Look At Heavy Snow Areas. Across the Dakotas, some of the heaviest snow (6-12”) will fall across portions of U.S. 52 and U.S. 83 including Minot, Bismarck and Pierre. In Minnesota, some of the heaviest snow (6”+) will fall along and just north of the I-94 corridor, with the greatest totals (potentially exceeding 10-12”) currently expected near and along I-35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth, near Hinckley, Mora and Cambridge.

Freezing Rain Potential. Along with the heavy snow, a period of freezing rain is possible across the upper Midwest. In most cases, freezing rain amounts should be less than a tenth of an inch.

Blizzard Conditions Expected. Strong gusty winds are expected with the snow, especially across the Dakotas where Blizzard Warnings are in effect. Winds across the Blizzard Warning area are expected to gust between 40-65 mph on Monday. These strong winds will be capable of creating whiteout conditions across the region due to blowing snow. Significant drifting snow may also be possible. Winds will remain strong into Monday Night and Tuesday, with winds gradually decreasing as the system moves off to the east.

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Hawaii Is Drought Free

This is the first time the state has been drought free since December of 2015. More from the Honolulu Star Advertiser: "Thanks to recent plentiful rainfall, Hawaii is completely drought-free for the first time in more than two years.  The latest U.S. Drought Monitor update, issued Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center, shows not one single place in the islands suffering from drought or even unusually dry conditions — a situation not seen in the Aloha State since December 2015.  The west side of Hawaii island was the last stronghold for persistent drought before significant rainstorms over the past few weeks caused drought and abnormally dry conditions to back off."

Climate Change And California Crops

Climate change could have a major impact on California crops in the future. More from KPBS: "Climate change could decrease the yield of some crops in California by up to 40 percent by 2050. That's a big deal for farmers in the state, which provides about two-thirds of the nation's produce.  California farmers grow more than 400 commodity crops. Tapan Pathak, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist based in California's Central Valley, and his research team analyzed 89 studies on climate change and discovered that warming temperatures may alter where crops grow across the state. Their findings were published in the journal Agronomy."

Best - And Worst - Resilient Counties In America

This EPA study - which factored in climate change and other factors like health and poverty - found that areas of the Southeast and western Texas are some of the areas least resilient. More from Pacific Standard Magazine: "Kodiak Island Borough is a remote community of around 14,000 people that spreads down the coast of the Alaska Peninsula and across 16 islands. It sits downwind from a cluster of active volcanoes, and its six villages are accessible only by boat or plane. It is home to 3,500 oversized bears.  It is also one of the safest places to live in the United States—at least when it comes to climate change. A recent survey of America's 3,135 counties concluded that this inhospitable stretch of land is the most climate-resilient place in the entire nation." (Image: Resilience across the U.S., broken down by county. Darker colors show a higher CRSI score, and therefore greater resilience to climate change. The index excludes eight boroughs in Alaska, owing to a lack of data.  (Chart: Environmental Protection Agency))

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Thanks for checking in and have a great Monday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!

 - D.J. Kayser

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