Monday, March 7, 2011

Are We There Yet? Are We There Yet?

The long-watched storm and we mean the LONG watched storm is finally on its preliminary approach into the region. As of Monday mid-evening, most forecasters still expected a glancing blow, and several continued to diminish the possibilities.

Thanks to one of our astute readers (see comment below) for noting a rather interesting graphic depiction on WCCO's 10 p.m. weathercast.

One hell of a tight snow gradient
We assume that Chris Shaffer, like the rest of us, is a little snow fatigued at this point and forget to add a 4-6" bucket. (And yes, we know that we make a ton of typos here at TMF so we show this in good fun.)

Here are the forecast details as of Monday evening. Full details here.

WCCO: 2-4 inches (down from 3 to 5 inches yesterday)
KSTP: 2-4 inches (down from 50/50 chance of 4-6 yesterday)
FOX: 2-4 inches (3 to 6 yesterday)
KARE: 2-4 inches
Strib: 3-5 inches
MPR: 1-4 inches
NWS: 3-4 inches


  1. interesting development with the Nam 8/0z run, instead of the surface low taking on neutral look it now shows a negative tilt with vorticity values skyrocketing to close to +40 near Clinton
    IA. What this means is a storm that has reached maturity, and it seems like the snow field has extended out further nw from the comma head. The result is that it brings .54" of liquid to the airport as opposed to.35 with it's 18z run. That means it would drop about 6" at the airport before compaction. I wonder what the GFS and the Euro will bring.

  2. I see that too, Randy. We'll have to see if other models follow, or there is a continuing trend into Tuesday AM. RIght now, I see 00z NAM as an outlier.

  3. This is nit-picky I know, but kind of the point of this blog, since the end result is grading forecasters. In the 10 pm WCCO forecast by Shaffer, the snow prediction map had a:
    (1) trace - 2" range (NW of the metro)
    (2) 2-4" range for the metro
    (3) 6+" range roughly Red Wing /Eau Claire/SE
    My point, there was no 4-6" bucket.
    Either that is 1 tight gradient, which it may be, or it is a forgotten range. I would give that a "C" grade for clarity.

  4. Excellent catch MN WeatherFan! I think I'll post a screen capture of that. I think this winter has gotten to everyone (and I sure make my share of typos).

  5. Grrrr.... the much awaited storm is tracking towards us and still no model agreement.

    The Nam has no partner and I wonder now drops 6" in the metro and 5" to the Rochester Lacrosse area!!!

    The GFS,SREF (Short Range Ensemble Forecast), and Japanese models partner well together and show the airport at 3-4" and far SE MN in the 4-6+" rannge.

    The European,Canadian and the UKMET (Great Britain) come to the dance together and it looks like 1-2 at the Airport, and around 3-4" in far SE MN.

    At this time I am inclined to go with the European,Canadian, UKMET solutions as they tend to show a se movement 24-48hrs out as has been the case the last two weeks.

    so therefore:
    for the metro 0-2" for the north, less nw, more ne. 1-3 for the central metro including the airport, again less in the west, more in the east. 2-4" south metro, again more in the se.

    for far se MN 3-5"

  6. Wow the Nam now has a partner thanks to Paul Douglas

  7. Randyinchamplin,
    Thanks for all your input/knowledge,but at this stage of the game you pick a model and go with your hunch(which you have)like I was saying yesterday weather is not cut and dry(point:did anyone see 4.5" coming to yesterday,no,not you or novak)this storm STILL has variations as you have pointed out,but over the last day and half there has been a slight nw trend with models,everyone has a prediction cuz they have some sought of weather background,my best shot since all TMF cares about(for grading purposes)is the airport sees 4.8 inches,with the metro getting from nw-se 2-8 for totals,yes I waited till now cuz the model variations were too great and I wasnt comfortable with that(and still ain't,but I can see where a forecasters job is not easy cuz they need to alert the public)but in reality not much winter weather stops the people of minnesota.

  8. big daddy:

    sorry could not sleep (I hate that). The HPC just updated the snowfall probabilistic out look for days 1,2 and 3. It shows a 10% chance for 4+ inches day one in far se MN, and the same thing for day 2, other than that they don't see any chances of 4" or better anywhere in the state. I'm sure you know where to find that at, but for others here is the address

    I would think if any winter storm warnings go out they would be for Fillmore and Houston counties, and maybe the southern 2/3rds of Winona county

  9. big daddy:

    p.s. I agree nice thoughts

  10. One other area of note is that this storm system isn't working with much cold air. Temps are relatively mild. That will keep snow totals down.

  11. agreed Ryan, I just checked the meso page at the spc and most stations are reporting hazy conditions

  12. Last snow event of the season??, anything on tap after this? It seems like everyone is hinting at a normal/above normal temps coming up next week.

  13. Anonymous:

    Perfect timing I was just going to post this.

    The next 10 days bring us,as usual, differences in the GFS and European. The GFS keeps us in a stormy pattern with a couple of shots of rain and or snow with possible significant precip around day 10.

    Outside of a couple of bouts of very light precip the Euro keeps us fairly dry. The good news is if that pans out we could see some periods of mid 40 temps followed by temps below freezing.

    I hope the European pans out, that would indicate a slow melt of the snow pack without much additional precip to worry about, especially in the Minnesota River Valley. Time will tell

  14. This current storm still smells and appears to be starved for moisture right now. Upper level jet is quickly drawing in dry air from the desert SW into the storm thus cutting off the deep moisture feed from the Gulf.

    It will be interesting to see how efficient this storm is with the moisture that is available. Gut feeling is that snow totals will be on the low end of the scale.

    Perhpas another GFS/NAM model bust? The Euro was hinting at this scenario for a few days ago.

  15. PD saying only 1-3 inches for metro. If this holds up, can you say "bust"?

  16. Anonymous (1st Anonymous poster)-

    Not to make you unhappy or anything, but from info on Frank Watson's site (, he is saying that there might be a huge storm to round up the month. The March lion might make an apperance.

  17. anonymous 1

    Thanks for the heads up will have to check his site out.