Winter Storm Update...
by Cody Matz
March 03, 2013 6:15 PM
Another Upper Midwest winter storm… more anticipation…. And more disappointment for those looking for drought relief or more snow. This continues to be a close call, as they always seem to be, but it looks like the majority of the precipitation will stay just to our north and east. With this eastward shift in the storm track, warmer air is getting pulled in from our south, which could lead to longer periods of rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet… especially for areas west of I-29. Snow is still expected across the north and east with several inches still possible in western Minnesota and extreme northeastern South Dakota. But it looks like we have been spared (or gypped, depending on your perspective) by another storm. Below is a look at what we expect through Tuesday afternoon.
The snow band continues to shift further east and now puts Fargo, Minneapolis, and Chicago in its bullseye. Here is a peak at one of the computer forecasting models… it shows the heavy band of snow to our mostly to our east with the western edge of that band across northeast South Dakota and western Minnesota.
Here is what our futurecast is showing for snow… not only for across our area, but for the region. Just like the picture above, our futurecast is a computer model. I bet you didn’t know that one.
Our futurecast model agrees and sticks the heavy snow just north and east of our area. But doesn’t have a sharp of a cutoff to the snow as the model above, which is why there is a good deal of uncertainty still on how much snow will fall, especially in western Minnesota.
Snow isn’t the only concern though. With slightly warmer temperatures at all levels of the atmosphere, much of the precipitation will start out as rain, or even freezing rain/drizzle. This could cause some light icing to develop in the overnight hours across much of our area. Here is what our futurecast model shows for ice accumulation.
Doesn’t look like much does it?? Well, its not in the grand scheme of things. But with ice, all it takes is a glaze… not even a hundredth of an inch to make roads treacherous, especially for unsuspecting travelers. So just imagine what a few hundredths can do. The best chances for actual ice accumulation appears to be along the southern end of I-29, but computer models do a really poor job with calculating potential icing. Even worse than calculating potential snowfall, so icing will be possible across our entire area.
Wanted to save the best snowfall forecast images for last. If you want more info on how much snow to expect where you live then check out the last three images. I have shown these many times before but I think its one of the best ways to show potential snowfall. These are from the HPC (Hydrometeorological Prediction Center) and show the probability of receiving at least 2, 4, and 8 inches of snow in a 48-hour period from Sunday evening through Tuesday evening. The HPC agrees with the further east assessment and has parts of North Dakota and Minnesota with a 80 percent chance of receiving 8 or more inches of snow.
After the precipitation has stopped, the winds will really begin to pick up. Monday night and Tuesday could bring 45mph wind gusts to much of the south and west. Just take a peak at sustained wind speeds expected Tuesday morning. The red shaded areas indicate sustained winds of the 30mph.