Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First big winter storm likely late this weekend

This weekend may bring the arrival of the first major winter snowstorm of the season as a strong area of low pressure lifts from the Plains states into Minnesota by early Monday morning.  Strong winds are expected with this system with the tightly packed isobars on the surface map below to create blizzard-like conditions.  Winds in excess of 30 MPH will be possible at times.  The GFS model has been advertising this system since last weekend and there has been consistency from run to run of a significant storm impacting the area.  As my confidence grows with this system as each day passes, it’s more of a question of when, in terms of timing rather than if.


Moist air will be in place as this system will be able to tap into the Gulf of Mexico.  I do have some concerns about potential dry slotting across the southeastern quadrant of the system, but I do not think Minnesota will be affected by dry air attempting to work itself in to limit snow totals.


It appears the whole state of Minnesota will be impacted by this system with perceptible liquid in excess of a half inch.  This will lead to significant snowfall.  Based on the current models, amounts greater than a half foot are not out of the question.


I will continue to monitor this system towards the weekend and provide additional updates.  If you have any travel late in the weekend, or attempting to get to work Monday, it may be a very slow commute.


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