More Accumulating Snow is on the Way!
by KDLT Weather
December 01, 2010 8:39 PM
Our eyes are now focused on the next storm, which is expected to pull into South Dakota late tonight, and into early Saturday morning. This one will bring more snow to areas that have already seen a pretty snowy fall.
The snow will likely begin in the early morning hours across the west and slowly grow and move its way north and eastward. Pockets of heavy snow are even possible starting Friday afternoon across northeastern South Dakota and sections of western Minnesota. The snow looks like it will finally taper off late Friday night and early Saturday. So now the big question is, just how much?? Well, the answer is pretty simple for parts of central and southern South Dakota; none! You might see a few flakes or even a little light freezing drizzle, but it looks like for the most part, you will escape this upcoming storm. However, for those of you in the east and the north, the answer is a lot more complicated.
With this particular storm, it looks like there will be a pretty good band of snow. But the hard part with this system is there will likely be a pretty sharp cutoff between the areas that get some significant accumulation and the areas that receive next to nothing. Let me illustrate that for you. The pictures on your right are from 3 separate forecasting models all showing snowfall accumulation for this next storm. The first thing you probably notice is that all of them show different amounts. One of them has some of us getting 10”, while the other two have a bit less, with maximum amounts of 8” and 5”. So you can see right there that determining exactly how much snow will fall is going to be a tough one. But the other problem is that sharp cutoff I was mentioning earlier. Notice the distance between the heaviest snowfall totals and the areas that get nothing. In all three models, the total distance is maybe 100 miles give or take. So why does this create a dilemma? Well, this makes forecasting total snow accumulation for specific areas extremely difficult because let’s face it, weather is ultimately unpredictable and the forecasting models we look at can be wrong from time to time. So lets say for argument sake that these models are not correct and that band of snow you see ends up being about 50 miles further southwest then what you see. That means places like Sioux Falls, Huron, and Gettysburg would likely see several more inches of snow that what we would have forecasted and I’m sure that those of you living in those cities will be pretty unhappy, unless of course you like snow.
So you can see our big dilemma, but let me say just one more thing. ALL of the models we look at have put the heaviest snowfall in pretty much the same spot. When this occurs, confidence is pretty high that it will be correct. As of right now, it looks like the heaviest snowfall will be exactly where all of these images put it, across sections of northeastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. Forecasting models tend to get a little carried away with snowfall amounts, so at this point I would not expect 10", however, 6" is certainly not out of the question in western Minnesota. But the good news is that we have another 24 hours or so to fine tune our forecast and get it as accurate as possible, so stay tuned to see if things change before Friday's main event!
The computer models are continuing to indicate that that same area will see the heaviest snowfall, so here's a look at how much to expect based on the latest computer weather models:
Since the heaviest band has 4-6 inches with locally higher amounts, Winter Storm Watches have already been posted for Friday morning through 6am on Saturday for all the counties in the blue.
This includes Aberdeen, Watertown, Sisseton, Brookings, Marshall and Worthington in our viewing area. However this Winter Storm Watch also includes the Twin Cities, so if you plan on traveling to Minnesota on Friday or Saturday morning you're going to have a rough go of it. This is because as you could see in those earlier computer models, the maximum snow bulls-eye is in south central Minnesota, meaning that area will see the most snow. Try and re-arrange your travel plans to accommodate this winter weather if you can.