A sneaky band of snow is expected to move across Minnesota overnight Saturday, but it's leaving forecasters uncertain of its exact path.
"As of the latest updates this morning, we're pretty confident on the amounts of snowfall," meteorologist Eric Ahasic of the National Weather Service's Chanhassen office said Saturday. "But where those amounts will fall is not as clear."
Normally, as snowfall makes its way toward Minnesota, different weather models show different paths a day or two in advance but tend to reach a rough consensus at least 24 hours or so before it arrives. Not this time, Ahasic said.
The snow will start falling in western Minnesota after midnight, crossing eastward and falling until sometime Sunday morning. It seems most likely that the band of snow will head south of the Twin Cities, mostly affecting an area from the south metro to the Iowa border, but it could veer as far north as St. Cloud.
A narrow swath within that band, maybe 10 to 20 miles wide, could get 6 inches of snow, Ahasic said, with areas farther out receiving just 2 to 4 inches.
Monday's temperatures will be in the chilly 20s everywhere, but areas that were spared heavier snow could warm up to the 40s as early as Tuesday, possibly hitting the 50s by the end of the week.
The areas of heavier snow, to add insult to injury, will endure one or two more cold days until the snow melts, because fresh snow cools the air much like ice cubes cool a glass of water.
After that, mild temperatures are expected everywhere through at least mid-March, Ahasic said.
The winter's total snowfall so far is 1.5 inches above normal — otherwise known as pretty average, he said. And temperatures have been mostly mild if you don't count a brutally long stretch from Feb. 6 through 17, when the average temperature at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was 20 to 30 degrees below normal. Not a long enough period to set a record, he said, but possibly in the top five or 10.
That stretch pushed February's temperatures about 10 degrees below normal. October averaged 5 degrees below normal. But average temps in January, December and November were 5 to 6 degrees above normal, including about 10 days of November that were far above normal.
"Day-by-day temperature swings seem to be a little more frequent, Ahasic said. "The trend in general is that it's getting warmer and getting a little bit less snowy."
But if you're expecting the warming trend to eventually turn Minnesota into a tropical paradise, don't bust out the umbrella drinks anytime soon.
"The trends are it will be more like Iowa," he said.
Katy Read • 612-673-4583