With the official start of spring a little over two weeks away, Twin Cities residents happily puddle-jumped on Saturday, basking in mild sunshine and a high near 50.
But don’t don the flip-flops just yet.
On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Chanhassen revised its forecast for the next few days to plop the metro area squarely in a winter storm watch area that could see up to 9 inches of snow late Sunday through Tuesday, especially in the northeast metro.
The winter storm watch will run from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday. While the Weather Service emphasized that the rain-snow forecast line may shift in the next day or two, at the very least, some sloppy weather lies ahead.
Areas just to the west and south of the Twin Cities may get no snow at all — just a little sleet and a lot of rain.
Drizzle is expected to develop Saturday night, when the low temperature will hover just above freezing, the Weather Service said.
Sunday will bring a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a high near 45 — still in the balmy range. But overnight Sunday, temperatures will drop below freezing and rain will give way to sleet or snow. Overnight accumulation will be light — less than a half an inch.
By the time the Monday morning commute rolls around, steady rain and snow are likely, with new-snow amounts by the end of Monday of 5 to 9 inches in the metro area, the Weather Service said.
And if the snow is light enough, it’s likely to blow around Monday, when winds gust up to 35 miles per hour.
Tuesday, too, will bring clouds and a 50 percent chance of another inch or so of snow in the metro area.
By Wednesday and Thursday, sunshine will return, along with cooler weather — highs just in the 20s. That means the snow and slush will stick around for at least a few days.
The Weather Service is drawing a sharp (but possibly changeable) line between the storm watch area, which generally spreads northeastward from St. Cloud, the Twin Cities and Red Wing into western Wisconsin. Most areas south and east of the Twin Cities will get far less snow.
Next Sunday will bring the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, when we’ll lose an hour overnight but gain sunnier evenings. Spring officially arrives on Tuesday, March 20.
No word on what the weather might be that week. But if the last few weekends offer any clue, it’s not time to put away the snow shovels quite yet.