Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter storm to impact the area Thursday

A winter storm will impact the region late Thursday into Friday as an area of low pressure will move in from the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma – known as a “Panhandle Hooker”.  Snow will wrap around the northern and eastern sides as the low travels into southern Wisconsin Friday.


Snow will begin to fall Thursday evening across southern Minnesota, and taper by mid-day Friday.  The limiting factor with this system will be available moisture.  Severe thunderstorms across the Deep South will steal a bit of the energy to prevent our snows from being 12 inches or more, but I think we will still see somewhere in the four to six inch range for snow totals.  The area where I believe the heaviest concentrated snow will occur in Minnesota is highlighted below.


A Winter Storm Watch has been posted from Thursday into Friday afternoon for the counties below.


Travel will be difficult late Thursday into Friday, so prepare for slow commutes, and allow extra time.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Icy conditions

Good morning.  Today is a day you will want to plan activities indoors as a mixed bag of precipitation is falling over the Twin Cities metro.  Heavy snow and blizzard conditions are expected today across far west central Minnesota.  An area of low pressure will track northeastward, across the southeastern portions of the state.


As of 8:30 am, it is freezing rain across the majority of the Twin Cities, with snow falling into Anoka County.  Already an inch of snow reported in Andover this morning.


Why are we seeing freezing rain?  Although temperatures at the surface are below freezing, there is a temperature inversion between 1000 and 2500 feet, where the air is warming with height.  it is above this inversion where temperatures are hovering just greater than freezing (indicated by 0 [°C] line below).  Snow is falling from the upper levels of the atmosphere, melting at 0°C, and then re-freezing as water droplets at the surface.


The rain will transition to snow later on Sunday into Monday, but the rain will certainly cut into snow totals across the Twin Cities.  For the last few days, I thought the southern Twin Cities would see one to three inches of snow, and the north side would receive three to six inches.  I am still sticking to this forecast.  We will not see nearly as much snow as some of the models are hinting at.  Six to nine inches of snow is possible for west central Minnesota.

Road conditions will deteriorate as the day goes on.  An icy layer will likely be found on roads underneath the snow cover, so exercise caution if you have to drive today.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Besting last season’s snow total

Hello.  Long time, no post.  With the lack of significant weather events this winter season, there has not been much to discuss in the weather department.  The majority of our snow this winter has been produced from weather systems not considered major storms.  However, these smaller snow amounts this season have tallied to best last season’s snow total at MSP of 22.3 inches, with 23.1 inches as of February 2, 2013.  The graph below details the snow by month for 2012-13 (click to enlarge).


We are still trending well below average.  In a typical season, we receive 50+ inches of snow.  With February and March still to get through, I believe we will add to this total quite a bit.  I think seeing 40 to 45 inches of snow when it is all said and done is realistic.  All it takes is one major storm to increase this total by 75 to 100 percent.  Early in the season, I rolled a die as a spoof of snow prediction accuracy, and predicted 40 to 60 inches of snow.

A few clipper systems will move through the area between now and Tuesday, each having the potential to dump up to four inches of snow.  Will be interesting to see how it all pans out in the upcoming months.  While the first half of winter proved to be more of less like last year, lately, we have been given a wake-up call on what winter is supposed to be like in the Twin Cities, and the rest of Minnesota!