Snow Likely Monday Despite Uncertain Path
by Cody Matz
March 01, 2013 8:30 PM
Our next storm will begin to trek across the northern Plains on Sunday, which will give us our next shot at precipitation. Temperatures are going to be awfully close to freezing in many areas, and with the exact trajectory of this storm still very much uncertain, it leads to one tough forecast. The moisture is needed in just about every part of the Upper Midwest so I don’t think there will be a lot of complaints wherever the moisture happens to land.
The track of this storm, just like all the rest, will have a large impact on total precipitation across the area. Right now, forecasting models are all over the place with this storm. They all agree that it will develop in Alberta Canada just like the “Alberta Clippers” typically do, but that’s where the similarities in track end. Here is where they currently take this upcoming storm.
This basically means that this storm has a possibility of ending up anywhere from North Dakota and Minnesota southward all the way to Louisiana and Texas. Doesn’t give us a whole lot of confidence that any of the forecast models know what they are talking about. But here is where a meteorologist comes into play. Past events can tell us a lot about future ones. Storms developing in certain parts of the country have a much higher tendency to trek over one area versus another. In this case, a more “typical” Alberta Clipper of this strength would follow the green or yellow lines more often than not. But here’s the problem…. Will this be one of those times…. Or will it go rogue and end up following the light blue line into central Minnesota. This is when meteorologists can get it wrong… when storms don’t follow their more typical track. These “rogue” storms can be produced by a number of things, which I wont go into here.
So of course the next question is, how much snow are we going to get? That’s always complicated… but here are a few things to follow, and then maybe you can make a forecast of your own.
If the clipper were to follow one of the paths we are leaning towards (the green or yellow lines) then the likely snowfall would look something like this.
The most snow would be located in a northwest to southeast arcing band with 4 to 8 inches likely from Aberdeen through the Worthington area. But it also may end up looking something like this…
This is the outlier of that cluster of paths (the one that goes through North Dakota), giving the area next to zero snowfall. But I am not expected that solution to pan out. However, here is one solution that has a better chance of occurring.
The heaviest band of snow would sit right across central South Dakota with as much as a foot of the white stuff. Lesser amounts elsewhere but still a significant snow for much of the area.
Here is a probability of at least 2, 4, and 8 inches of snow issued by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC).
This pretty much says it all. In the first image, the north and east have a 70 to 90 percent chance of receiving at least 2 inches of snow. Lesser amounts with 4 and 8 inches, but even then, there are reasonable chances for many areas to receive a half-foot of snow through 7PM Monday. But this doesn’t even cover the entire potential storm with more snow possible Monday night in the southeast. Snow season isn’t over yet, but this storm could be the last if we hit a warmer and dryer period soon.