Snow is on the way, and it should be enough to shovel and plow. Have you heard the expression "plowable" before? I thought so. Unlike the last storm with temperatures in the 30s and a mix of snow, ice and rain, temperatures will be in the teens tomorrow, meaning all snow - a light, powdery snow that will be fairly quick to accumulate.
I've said this before but it bears repeating: cold storms are more dangerous on highways, driveways and sidewalks than relatively warm storms. Ice simply doesn't work as well when air temperatures are in the teens, and I expect even the freeways and interstates to become snow covered and slick during the afternoon hours on Saturday. I'm getting my errands done tomorrow morning - not risking it on the highways after lunchtime tomorrow.
The Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Minnesota counties just south and west of the metro area, where final snowfall totals may be in excess of 6". Because of the timing of the storm the Weather Service has not included the immediate metro area in the watch, but based on everything I'm seeing it was a very close call. Generally a watch is issued when there is a potential for 6" of snow. I think we're very (very) close to Winter Storm Watch criteria in the Twin Cities.
NOAA's high-resolution NAM model suggests as much as 6" of powder for the Twin Cities, with the heaviest snow band setting up along the Minnesota River Valley. Unlike previous storms I don't expect much wind tomorrow, so we won't have problems with blowing and drifting.
The European model (which is often better, but not infallible) also shows 6"+ amounts for the Twin Cities, with the heaviest snow coming Saturday evening and Saturday night. Snow should quickly taper to flurries Sunday morning with improving travel conditions Sunday afternoon.
NOAA's weather models suites show a predicted snowfall range (at MSP) of 2.5 to 6". Right now I'm thinking final totals at the upper end of that range, and I would not be surprised to see a band of 6-8" just south/west of MSP.
My humble advice to anyone who likes snow: get out and play in it soon, because weather models consistently bring a puff of milder, Pacific air into Minnesota by the end of January and first few days of February. It may get a little mushy out there within a week or so.
In spite of a winter that's trending milder than average, statewide, we are on track for normal snowfall across much of Minnesota. If anyone asks (doubtful) average winter snow at MSP is about 54". At the rate we're going, even with a steady parade of Pacific warm fronts, we may come very close to that by April.
Wait, snow - without the Polar Vortex this winter? We are not even close to being out of the woods (yet) but I don't see any rounds of bitter, prolonged cold through mid-February. Maybe we will enjoy a Goldilocks Winter this year.