Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Storm Pattern Comes Back; Forecasters Eye Rain/Snow Mixes

Friday evening update: Forecasters have pretty much discounted any chance of significant snow for the Twin Cities for Sunday/Monday.

Time to start tracking two more snow possibilities before the season is done. The winter season does have to end at some point, doesn't it?

The first event is scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon, and the second, bigger one is slated to arrive on Sunday. Here are the collective forecasts as of Wednesday evening.

46 comments:

  1. New post so I figured I'd write this on this post:

    Holy! For my location (Red Wing) the GFS text model prints out roughly 1.40 inch liquid around the 10th and 11th. And the temp looks like it could be cold enough for snow! This could be epic...

    Here's what I'm looking at:

    http://wxweb.meteostar.com/sample/sample.shtml?text=KRGK

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  2. Marc:

    I saw that as well....no need to panic yet, that will change as the Good for Speculation Model has been horrible this spring beyond two or three days. But we will see.

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  3. The 10th/11th is way too far out to pay attention to it at this point. PD had several instances this winter where he saw monster storms on the horizon only to have them fizzle long before the day arrived. Wake me when it's April 5th or 6th and then we'll talk.

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  4. That system for Sunday is making me a little nervous. For one, it actually does look somewhat similar to the system from last week Tuesday. The rain/snow line looks to set up pretty close to the metro, yet again, and as was the case in the previous two systems, it would shock me to see a bit of a shift south at the last moment, which would just put them into a better all snow set up. We'll have to see what the future hold with this system for Sunday.

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  5. No kidding - what on Earth, anticipating a big snow event 11 days in advance, jeez, especially this time of year. Stop looking at the models already, ok? Wake me when it's April 9th, even the 5th or 6th is too early.

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  6. Most of the stations tonight are saying mostly rain for the Sunday/Monday event, NWS is the only one showing snow and their graphics and descriptions are horrible for assessing timing, changeover, etc. As with most other systems this year, may not know until it is right upon us manifesting. All stations say that there may be a little snow on the back side of both systems. Even KSTP's forecast (DD, 6 pm) is showing mostly rain, 50% chance of changeover to snow late night Sunday into early Monday, "possible light accumulation".
    Looks like we're not alone - heavy snow in the northeast - PA, NY, MA, up to 12 inches, yikes.

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  7. Marc why would you be looking/getting excited for something ten days out when you have two possible snowfalls in front of you,Sunday is the day worth watching to get some decent accumulations,keep believe this winter won't quit. Randyinchamplin what's your thought on sunday or Novak what do you think

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  8. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 30, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Anonymous--You rippped on the National Weather Service. They are usually very good with their weather discussions that come out twice a day. I wish they would have these come out more often. They have been pretty accurate most of the year and have averaged out the models pretty well and take a "reasonable" approach with each system. At least they are willing to come out with a seven day forecast where some places don't. Some people just have to be critical.

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  9. Agreed -- lets see what Thur and especially Sunday/Monday bring to Minnesota for weather. The latter half of the weekend event looks like a close call with potential for nastiness. This time of year the ole reliable thickness values and various winter rules don't always work as winter air mass not so dominant and that higher angle of sunshine always helps, too. As far as next weekend -- yes, the 12z and then 18z GFS runs look ominous and not too good especially in light of the long winter already endured but also the flooding situ at hand. For selfish reasons, lets hope the GFS fizzles as it IS the Twins home opener weekend and someone is traveling some 1200 miles to come see the 3 game series! ;-)

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  10. NWS has dropped all mention of rain for sunday/monday storm system has gone with an all-snow solution from the metro area on north,with significant accumulations mentioned in their discussion page,but have yet to pinpoint exactly where heaviest will fall,but looking at qpf output looks like about 1 inch of liquid with an heavy wet snow somewhere close will see 8-12 inches(IF this occurs seasonal snowfall record could be in jeopardy)Ah spring in minnesota at least its not boring like San Diego weather would be.

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  11. Let's play baseball!!!

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  12. Latest 12z GFS run just coming in with a much warmer profile at 850mb.
    Now it looks mostly a rain event for the metro sunday/monday.

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  13. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 31, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Anonymous (wish you would use some user name--hard to know who is who when using anonymous): I don't believe the 12z run. I think that run is not as accurate as some others, especially the 00z run. There needs to be consistency with these runs, from run to run to forecast. As with recent storms (i.e. last week), the storm shifted to the south very last minute. Duluth was suppose to get a blizzard and ended up with 1/2 inch or so. Now the the metro is "on the line" for the rain/snow line, any shift would put us in heavy snow.

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  14. PLymouth Weather Lover, I am a snow lover and I'd like to see the all-time snowfall record to fall, so I hope you are right and the 12z GFS is wrong. But the 6z was also much warmer. Whether this is the start of a trend or not remains to be seen.

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  15. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 31, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Interesting how Novak on Twitter only is mentioning heavy rain concern. Even in his most recent post, he has only rain mentioned. I am surprised that the NWS mentions only snow for the weekend and then in the discussion talks about snow north of the I-94 line. You would think they would continue to mention snow/rain like they have been until late yesterday.

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  16. This is a forecasters nightmare...I believe the operational GFS is to warm, and here are some links to back that up.

    GFS ensemble mean
    http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models/gfsensemble/12zgfsensemblep12096.gif

    The Japanese operational run
    http://grib2.com/jma/CONUS_JMA_1000-500_SLPTHKPRP_96HR.gif

    The UKMET operational run
    http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models/ukmet/12zukmet500mbHGHTNA096.gif

    The ECMWF is a little to fast
    http://raleighwx.americanwx.com/models/euro/12zeuro850mbTSLPNA096.gif

    Thoughts anyone?

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  17. @NovakWeather on TwitterMarch 31, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    It is really, REALLY going to take some strong dynamics to create a heavy snowfall for southern MN, especially this time of year. However, at this juncture, the computer models certainly look impressive. The upper air dynamics on Sunday look fantastic with a coupled jet structure. My main concern with this storm is that it will likely evolve in pieces and the strongest piece won't come out of the Rockies until Mon/Tue and this could easily screw everything up. This looks similar to the storm from a few weeks back that dumped several inches of snow in the northern Metro.

    However, what is lacking is a strong surface low and this will likely pose a problem for dynamically induced snow. It appears that much of the energy hangs back over the Rockies on Sunday before pulling out into the Plains on Monday. That is when it finally develops the strong surface low but well south of MN. We need a deformation zone to develop along with a tight 700mb low and I simply don't see that scenario developing as of now.

    With that being said, I could see this storm starting off as some snow from MSP north on Sunday before quickly changing over to rain. I believe that several inches of snow will fall over central and northern MN where the vertical profiles will be more supportive of snow and where there a hints of an initial mid-level low to track. The lowest layers of the atmosphere in southern MN will simply be too warm for snow or rain/snow to accumulate.

    Of course, we are still a good 60-72 hrs out and things will change. It will be interesting to see if the models pull the energy out of the Rockies a little quicker or if the wave that comes at us on Sunday is stronger than currently suggested. If that happens, watch out.

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  18. Great commentary @NovakWeather! We'll look forward to seeing what happens.

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  19. Novak....cool comments. But I have a serious question for you. Did most of that reasoning come from the GFS? Or was it a blend? Just curious is all

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  20. @Plymouth Weather Lover As far as model runs go, the 12z and 00z runs are the two "more accurate" (if there is such a thing) runs. This is due to them also factoring in data retrived from weather balloon launches. Therefore, forecasters strongly base their forecasts off of these two runs. However, they don't totally discount the 06z and 18z runs. It will, yet again, be interesting to see how this system pans out for Sunday. The severe potential for the central and southern plains looks pretty good with this system too. Ahh..spring.

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  21. Looks like trends are for milder solution on the Sunday/Monday storm,but just like our last big storm it seems that the uncertainty level is still high I wouldn't bet against snow just yet,especially since NWS still the most robust on it,but DD tonight seemed so ho-hum about it in his blog saying rain with snow mixed in at the end but no big deal feel is what I got out of reading it. Randyinchamplin your pretty quiet this time around on your feeling/thoughts about this storm no interstate snowfalls predicted yet on this storm? It just seems to me there is Always a southern shift in storms this year maybe it will happen again

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  22. My thoughts are mostly from the gut on this one. I just believe that the low level warm air advection is going to be stronger than the models are predicting. In fact, I believe you are starting to see the models trend in that direction. Even the 00z Euro models appear to be trending warmer.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised at all if northern MN receives a healthy snow out of this. I'm more interested in the severe Wx opportunities. I don't see a triple point in the models as of yet, but you would think that there could be some potential for this come Sunday evening over southern MN or Iowa. Should be interesting.

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  23. Just glancing at 00z gfs and it really nails parts of montana and north dakota with heavy wet snow. Novak weather as you were saying earlier, the main trough gets held back then ejects over the ohio valley. No good for southern MN snow chances.

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  24. Well warmer solution is winning out with the northern drift of the track,surprising how most storms for the winter started out north and mostly has done the southern shift,but I guess that now we are in spring its going to do the opposite. I would say 'say la vie' to winter,great job Bill with such a busy winter(5th snowiest ever),see you next winter!

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  25. Plymouth Weather LoverApril 1, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    Can you believe that we hit 81 a year ago today? That is why you have to love living in this state. It would just be nice with a shorter winter, is all. Yep, this storm seems like a cold rain with maybe a few snowflakes mixed in and maybe some slush. Fine with me. Always nice to break a record, but spring needs to spring.

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  26. Well, looking at the long range on both the GFS and he European model -- with all the caveats and disclaimers about any forecast more than 5 days out -- I think we can reasonably say that the snow season is probably over for MSP.
    Yes, it would have been nice to break the record, especially as this winter really seemed to have all the right ingredients in it, but as a snow and winter enthusiast I cannot complain; 84.7 inches is still a respectable total.
    Is TMF planning to track and grade the spring and summer months as well? Maybe the prediction acccuracy of severe weather outbreaks, or heat waves?

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  27. I just have this feeling... I feel as if the north metro will be hammered with snow and the south with rain... and the mix to set up right over the metro.

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  28. so far this looks like a non event for the metro area. The exception is we may need High Wind Advisory for Monday afternoon. GFS has winds at 29knts 400' off the deck, depending on the mixing ratio we could even need a high wind watch as winds will be at 40knts at 1700ft. For those of you who understand the mixing ratio, thoughts?

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  29. @Rigil It remains to be seen what TMF will do. One idea is to grade weekend forecasts -- perhaps as provided on a Tuesday to see who provides the best planning forecasts. Heat waves could also be a candidate. Not sure exactly how to grade the accuracy of severe weather outbreaks. Certainly open to any ideas!

    @Randy Haven't heard the "traditional" media outlets talk about big wind yet so that's a potentially good catch.

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  30. Bill, perhaps grade possible heat waves and see how each outlet stacks up against each other. If there is a significant severe weather outbreak you could grade each station similar to a snowstorm.

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  31. Severe weather is a much different monster than a snow storm(reason should be evident). I would compare the local mets to the SPC outlook. In other words start with the 4-8 day outlook if a area is painted this is what it means...."A severe weather area depicted in the Day 4-8 period indicates a 30% or higher probability for severe thunderstorms within 25 miles of any point." Will the local mets tell us of the severe threat or not?? BTW.. the 1-3 day outlook is even more specific, and when it comes to the day one out look, if we have a severe threat will they post the the possible tornado,hail or wind chances???. Most of the time they just say something like keep a eye on the sky, or something similar, that leaves people asking what I am looking for? Comments please?

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  32. Anonymous with a 'feeling' get over it,this storm will make the north country happy,i like snow as much as the next person,but you need know when the possibility of snowfall is gone,as far as the first post from red wing has your 10 day out snowstorm looking now,see dont jump on everything the gfs shows you. Randyinchamplin is that Joe Bastardi cold still coming?

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  33. big daddy last I saw yes....but how cold??? maybe 10 below average??? it just shows cold...in the winter months it would be major cold according to him, but cold is relative at this time of the year. We will see.

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  34. Here's an idea for TMF. How about an overall spring/summer prediction consistency score?
    For the May 1st / September 30th period, TMF is going to track the forecast high and low temperature issued not the day before (too easy) and not a week before (almost guessing) but say 3 or 4 days out, as of for example the 6pm or 10pm weathercast. And then simply calculate the discrepancy between actual and forecast... the series will be long enough that by the end of the period the most consistent outlet should emerge, and because of its day by day development TMF can issue weekly updates on who's doing well etc..etc..
    It requires some consistent data collection for sure. But I did it last year when living in the Boston area and I can guarantee it is a lot of fun.

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  35. Now that time has arrived and last week's forecasting hype was nearly completely trumped by the truth of the unpredictability of the weather, all is silent on this blog. I'm wondering if perhaps I need to delete all the weather sites from my browser and just be surprised with whatever manifests, and give up the mind's desire to "know".

    Oh, and Happy Spring! ...bring on the 90's!

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  36. several spring storms ahead of us for the month of April,mostly on the rainy side,but these will be 'cooler' storms meaning highs in the 40's to 50,which will translate to snow chances on the north/west side of each storm,I wouldnt be at all surprised that one of them brings the metro a freak snowfall(nothing major,maybe in the order of 1-5 inches)on the tail end of the storm when the colder air filters when the storm passes,we'll see how the dynmaics play out,but to me it looks like a possibility seeing that temps will be cool after April 10th,something to watch but I wouldn't bet the bank.(Bill, won the NJ handicap 88-82)

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  37. Anonymous (from 7:37 a.m.),
    Indeed this does seem to be a busted forecasted, whether for snow or rain. Tough to disagree with you.

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  38. Randyinchamplin have you seen the latest ECMWF,I only bring this up cuz it's a lot more reliable then the GFS but it has a massive storm for April 10th/11th with temps falling into the 30's with wet snow near by.thoughts?

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  39. Big Daddy,
    Some call on your 9:17am post,after reading both PD and DD blog today they both open the door for SNOW potential on the 10th/11th and yes I saw the ECMWF ,damn why doesn't this snow potential just go away,I know it's a week out and things will change just like today's storm was hyped up nothing really materialized,but weather any weather,what if.............

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  40. Hey all you weather junkies,got a curious question about storm around 10th/11th,yesterday there was potential for snow with them system,now reading some blogs no real mention of it,question is NWS has rain chance for Sunday night with a low of 35(pretty close to freezing mark)yet no mention of snow,so is snow a possibility with that system or not,just curious that's all cuz will be traveling around that timeframe,thanks!

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  41. Big Daddy:

    I've been watching for a couple of days. Currently the ecmwf and gfs have it coming towards us, however the ecmwf is now much warmer than the gfs. I see the NWS is saying something to keep a eye on. It seems that the GFS is back in the game again, we will just have to wait and see what happens, will they keep showing it? and how warm or cold could it be? At this time it's nothing to get excited about, as it's about a 50/50 chance that something will develop.

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  42. Anonymous(5:12pm),the NWS seems weary about a big precip maker around the 10th/11thand both major models show storm approaching us,question as always is track,currently european brings it into sw MN which would be an heavy rain maker which ever direction your traveling,but gfs is further south near mo/Iowa border this track has the potential to change rain to snow north/west of metro and snow could even make it to the metro depending on how cool the column can get,but April snow is not abnormal,so needless to say there will be a storm nearby question is what flavor,stay tuned,maybe winter isn't done yet?

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  43. It would appear at the moment that the first severe storms of the season my be rolling through parts of MN and WI this weekend. GFS and Euro are timed a bit differently, but regardless it actually looks somewhat of a decent threat. Cape values at MSP are anywhere between 1100 and 1600, veering winds, a weakening cap, and a powerhouse of a cold front could mean a busy weekend for our local forecasters. It's something to keep an eye on :)

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  44. Let's be serious everybody. I know it is painful for all snow lovers (like me) but I think we have to accept that the snow season for the MSP is over. And I somehow sense that we will be paying for this winter for a long time in the future. I would not be surprised for MSP to get back to those depressing, ridicolous, useless 35-40 inches winters, with all the big snowmakers taking detour to the south.

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  45. I agree with Duane...the set up for Sat is looking pretty omnibus.

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  46. Just set up a new blog post to discuss this weekend's weather....

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