Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Only Have Ice For You

As of late Tuesday night, the Twin Cities enjoyed a veritable ice storm, with seemingly considerable more ice accumulation than virtually all forecasters anticipated. Here are a few pictures taken from TMF headquarters in St. Paul.



And the morning after

What will Wednesday bring? And, in the end, which forecaster will have come the closest to predicting the storm?

64 comments:

  1. @Bill,nice shots,looks the same in my yard here in Maplewood.If the next batch of precip isnt snow,I'm sorry to say,I love his knowledge and passion for weather,but Randyinchamplain gets an F in my book for declaring 9-13 inches this evening,still praying for you Randy.

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  2. You awake Randyinchamplain?,are we going to get any snow out of this puppy????

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  3. Look at all this moisture coming in,what a waste and were stuck at 33.

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  4. I take that back transition to all snow has occured here in Eden Prairie and it is coming down,here is where the major problem is going to be this morning,with all that freezing rain and sleet that came down last night its getting covered by this snow,MNDOT needs to be all over this or morning commute is going to be a crawl.Come on snow,snow like the dickens for Randys and mine and Plymouth Weather Lovers sake.

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  5. without measuring I would say 2-3" on the ground

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  6. WOW-To say the least....Randy there is hope for you after all,if you nail this you are the MAN. This is the first two lines of the NWS morning update(issued at 3:54am): "Continue to battle with this storm...with snow amounts and latest model trends a bit disconcerting"...06z NAM now takes low track south again towards Iowa/MN border putting alot of uncertainity into the peeps over at the NWS,the point forecast for Eden Prairie says rain,sleet,snow becoming all snow after 8am,ITS ALL SNOW ALREADY!!,could be more scrambling to come,stay tuned this one is far from over.

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  7. 1.5 in Eden Prairie and its only been snowing for an hour!!!!!

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  8. latest thoughts from the HRRR model

    http://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov/hrrrconus/from_jet/hrrr/t2/2012022908/acsnw_t2sfc_f12.png

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  9. and the RR model

    http://rapidrefresh.noaa.gov/RR/from_jet/rr/t2/2012022909/acsnw_t2sfc_f18.png

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  10. Eden Prairie up to 2.5 inches,an inch an hour when was the last time that happened!Randyinchamplin the only bad thing is its lifting north thru the metro pretty quickly,back end almost to 494,looks like deformation with heavy snows will set up just north of the loop,too bad it was nice while it came down though.

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  11. The dry sloty from the south is being filled in from the west gradually...

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  12. Just measured 3 inches as I am leaving Eden Prairie,for my fun trek home,this should be interesting,the intensitys of the snow has come down,the damn dreaded dry tongue,curse you Paul Douglas,well 3 inches is better then nothing I guess,but it could have been a whole lot more,heres hoping for the next one,which may be awhile,most outlets have 40's to near 50 returning next week,is winter over?(I know it never came)

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  13. Regardless of Randy's prediction, I'm impressed with what just transpired over the last 4 hours. Changeover happened a couple hours earlier than I had expected, & it made a huge difference, especially in the NW 1/2 of the metro. 3"-4" of snow over the north metro seemed about right, but 6"+? Really? To think that the majority of this snow fell in a 3 hour period is crazy. It will be very interesting to see what MSP airport officially comes up with. My bet is about 2" or so which will not represent some parts of the metro very well.

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  14. Everything in Carver and Wright Counties is shut down. Schools are closed...too much ice on rural roads...and there are scattered power outages. Only a couple inches of snow so far. It looks like it will continue to spin over the area, but I don't anticipate much more accumulation.

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  15. By the way, this is responding to the other thread a bit, but whoever laughed off the forecast for Duluth should check out the radar. If our quick burst this morning is any indication of how fast it is piling up, they will easily get their 12+ inches.

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  16. Maple Grove has about 5 to 7 inches. Used the snow blower to get out of the driveway.

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  17. Hopkins easily had 3+ when I pulled out of the driveway an hour ago. There was also a nice layer of cement slush underneath it!

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  18. Man that was the worst roads conditions I ever driven on,it was like a washboard the whole way up on 169,chucks of ice everywhere like driving on speed bumps.just got home,20 minute drive took an hour,got the measuring stick out.....4.5 inches in golden valley!,that was a little unexpected from when everyone trimmed their numbers to 1-3 except for DD and Randyinchamplin

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  19. STMA area has over 6" (my neighbor measured 8.5 in his driveway)of heavy wet snow. Tree branches down due to the weight of the ice and snow. Still snowing lightly but looks like it'll end soon.

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  20. I can't wait for the grades for this storm, talking more metro here... Last night at 10 I still heard 1-3 metro, to me that is the entire metro. Well I think most places exceeded that, in the north-west suburbs they probably doubled that. Dry Tongue my rump!

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  21. Snow now redeveloping to the north. Hope trend conitnues so that when it comes back will have a good burst of snow.

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  22. Take a look at the water vapor. The differences are stark:
    http://www.goes.noaa.gov/GSSLOOPS/ecwv.html

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  23. Of course, the second I mention it it dissapates...

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  24. This is definitely the very worst weather that Minnesota offers. I have a bunch of nice-looking amur maples in my boulevard. Too many more storms with cement snow like this (and the one in Nov 2010) and there won't be anything left of them.

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  25. In the end -- and we're not there yet -- I think the Winter Storm Warning was justified, though I think an all out Ice Storm Warning would have been most accurate.

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  26. 6.5" here, haven't done a liquid measurement yet, I wouldn't be surprised if there is about a inch of liquid in this white cement.

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  27. my son couldn't get to work today, got suck in the street twice within a block of the house, my wife had to take my 4 wheel drive pickup truck.

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  28. Definitely a slower than normal commute, but not too bad from Inver Grive Heights to St. Paul. About 2" of combined snow/sleet. Through 7:30 AM total liquid in Inver Grove was 1.27". And with the gusty east winds it's possible some of that missed the rain gauge.

    Obviously a different story to the north and west of the Metro. Good luck out there.

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  29. The key was the abrupt jaunt to the east of the surface low overnight. The low was initially moving straight NE right towards the MSP metro yesterday evening before veering-off to the right towards RST overnight. This was hinted at by the models and it was something that the NWS & Randy continued to hold faith in. Of course, this little 30-50 mile hiccup proved to be crucial in the metro snow totals as it brought the heavy snow line further south into the inner-ring.

    This was a nearly impossible forecast to nail and I feel it is a toss-up with who was right and who was wrong. Think about it, Rosemount and Hastings barely got an inch or two while Monticello likely received well over 6". That would be a good 6"-8" spread across the far reaches of the MSP metro. So, when a forecaster sometimes says 2"-10" for a large metro area, I guess we shouldn't laugh.

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  30. Still think we could simply life, at least for purposes of forecast evaluation as sport, if everyone predicted for the airport location. :-)

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  31. @Bill, I agree about the Ice Storm Warning. While, as Novak noted, Hastings got only an inch or two of snow, their schools are also closed today. It's very telling that virtually the entire west metro outside the loop, from Anoka (where there was still a warning) to Chaska, closed schools too. MN schools don't cancel for winter weather; they close for winter storms, and sometimes not even then.


    What's most surprising to me is that most NWS employees live near or in the area and they all had to see the ice piling up as early as 5 pm last night. Why no change in advisories? There's a hell of a lot of ice out there.

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  32. So my question toll you weather experts out there... what's going to happen later today? Here in Bloomington we have a huge slushy mess with a couple inches of snow. Is all wet just going to keep melting or is it going to freeze up an turn us into a giant skating rink?

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    1. oops that's supposed to be "to you all" not "toll"

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  33. We lost more snow on the ground here in Faribault than what came down. The airport showed that we picked up 2" of rain before I went to bed last night.

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  34. I know Duluth is not normally in our forecast discussion, but they are currently getting hammered. Blizzard warning and 45 to 55 mph winds. Visability 50-100 feet. Check out some of the statements from the NWS in Duluth.

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  35. I concur with Randy: ~6.5" in Champlin @8 AM. We walked out into the park reserve and had to walk through rivers of water running under the snow. Very pretty, though.

    It is interesting that radar still shows the W and NW metro with precip over it.

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  36. Yep, still light snow and flurries falling as it has been all morning. Nothing is accumulating though.

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  37. FYI a Winter Storm Warning can include ice accumulation, a specific ice storm warning is not always needed (or even warranted) if you're looking at a mix precip event. Check it out:

    http://www.nws.noaa.gov/directives/sym/pd01005013curr.pdf

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    1. @P Thanks for the information. Well taken. In the final analysis, I think that most people (perhaps including the NWS) were not expecting the degree to which power was lost from fallen trees, etc., and whatever it took to communicate that could have been helpful for those needing to prepare for loss of electricity, etc. Quite clearly, this was about the most difficult forecast imaginable.

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  38. Well we got pretty much all rain here in Red Wing, in fact there has been some minor flooding in flat and low lying areas. Puddles are everywhere you look on the streets, and parking lots are a slushy mess.

    The Low tonight is 25, things could get very ugly tomorrow. Guessing schools down in this part of the state where it rained will have their fair share of closings/delays tomorrow when everything ices over. Add a little possible snow over it and oh no...

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  39. To those of you who saw my last forecast posted at 6pm last night, I blew that one, should have stayed with my mid morning update. Heaviest snows ended up in west central Wisconsin, I thought that was coming to the metro, my bad. Looking at Friday's system out of the corner of my eye. But what could happen around the 8th has caught my eye as well. GFS and Euro both have it. GFS weaker and more progressive, Euro slower and stronger, but that difference between the models is expected. And yes we have some ponding of the water at the intersection's of the city streets here in Champlin. When all is said and done, what a interesting storm it was.

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  40. Very sad about the tornadoes this storm is causing.

    EF4 tornado in Illinois in February...no wonder we got rain.

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  41. Stayed in Siren, WI last night and woke up buried. Close to 15", plows stuck in the parking lot until they brought out the bobcats. Crossing the St.Croix River heading towards Rock Creek the roads weren't plowed at all, was quite the adventure in driving.

    At home in East Bethel, maybe 8 inches of very wet, heavy snow to plow and build snowmen with. Perfect snow for a fun snow day. Hope we get a few more like this before winter officially calls it quits!

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  42. I find it hard to believe any storm on the 8th would be snow considering forecasts flirting with 50 for the 6th/7th.

    In other news, there could be residual closings tomorrow due to power outages. I just drove through both Chaska and Waconia and portions of both cities were without power...note that neither was without power when I first drove through mid-afternoon.

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  43. Quite a storm -- entertaining and adrenalin absorbing for sure!!!

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  44. @Randyinchamplin,ok now February is in the books,I think your prediction for MSP was pretty close wasn't it,I think you said 3 to 4 inches and what did they get,was it 6in.Anyway thats pretty damn good,what do you see for March?any snowstorms on the horizon,most outlets are trending warmer for temps next week(40's and 50's)not really snow weather.

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  45. @AB,weather.com,the ones that you say is the most accurate/reliable has snow showers everyday from the 7th-9th,with temps in the mid to upper 30's,something brewing for then???corresponds with DD's talk of active late next week,but of course DD always says that so dont know how much stock you can put into it.

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  46. A couple things I wanted to mention...first of all @big daddy I wasn't upset about you asking for my opinion, or at you at all. My frustration was pointed more towards the hecklers (who should be eating crow right now because I would say Novak's map was pretty damn close as far as travel may want to be changed) Hundreds of accidents and spin outs...yeah the roads were terrible. This particular system was next to impossible to attempt to forecast the snow amounts especially near the metro area since that is pretty much where the main mixing line set up (I think I mentioned that several posts ago, btw). Those who were full into the cold sector and got all snow the storm unfolded just as planned...and I think the fact that this storm could produce totals in the one to two foot range, and also spawn an EF-4 tornado in Illinois proves the incredible dynamics of this storm. I had been watching this time frame for weeks now for a big system to come through...and it ended up coming to pass. I'm happy this was an intense system and that it lived up to its "hype". Others may disagree, but that's my opinion. Now...for the longer term, it would appear as though we will transition back to an above average pattern come mid March. The MJO is forecast to head into phase 6 by mid March. The AO's ensembles are pretty scattered, but the majority keep it positive...as do the NAO's. The PNA which recently went negative and gave us our more lively pattern is forecast to head back to neutral and eventually positive which flips the troughing and ridging. As long as that ridge builds far enough into the central US (and I think it will), then I believe the last couple weeks of March will be above to well above normal. This is my uneducated opinion (emphasis on uneducated). If I am wrong...so be it, but as I said I enjoy hearing other people opinions on what they think the weather will do down the road and not just people poking fun at other for being wrong.

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  47. I think, ultimately, we have to look at the temperature gradients we were dealing with. Had it been 2-3 degrees warmer on Tuesday afternoon/evening, NO metro schools, with the exception of possibly the north metro, would have had any delays, let alone closures. Had it been 2-3 degrees colder on Tuesday afternoon/evening, ALL metro schools, with the exception of maybe the far south metro, likely would have been closed. On a normal day, do any of us notice if the forecasted high is even 5 degrees off? Probably not, but this week it was the difference between a rain storm and 18 inches of snow.

    With what they had to deal with, I think our mets did a great job...their precipitation forecasts were all very close to the 1.5+ inches of liquid we got, regardless of what form it fell in. If they'd forecasted all snow and a temp of 28 or all rain and a temp of 40, I'd be more critical, but most forecasted highs between 33-36. The actual high was 33; it just didn't stay above freezing as long as they anticipated it would. I guess my only criticism would be the NWS, located in the heart of the ice storm, that didn't undo their downgrade when it became obvious by 7-8pm that we were dealing with a dangerous situation out here.

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  48. No doubt a difficult storm. I didnt monitor every mets forecast and it seems everyone wants to grade how well the forecast was as long as it was close enough. And maybe I have to change my expectations as to how well a forecast was 48 hours out. I believe based on liquid amounts, most forecasts were excellent. But let's not forget, as of Sunday aftn, the NWS had all of the metro getting 10+". Based on that (and this is just my opinion) it was a busted forecast. From that point on, forecasts where changing every couple of hours. The lack of accumulating ice in the forecast, as well as a 2-4" forecast of snow on Wednesday that never materialized from the metro and points east it almost made this a double busted forecast. Anyway, people to the north and west are going to grade this an "A". For me, just 10 miles SE of MSP I wouldn't give the NWS a grade higher than a "D". Maybe my expectations are too high. I'm still going to use the NWS as my main weather source as well as this site.
    And I'm the first to defend meteorology to my coworkers, family, etc. I am often explaining "it's too early to know" or "it only shifted 50 miles" and how difficult it is to get a forecast accurate for any particular location - especially winter weather.
    Anyway -love all the input, especially the technical terms which adds to my knowledge base.

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  49. @AB it was me who commented about Duluth,I didn't exactly laugh it off,I never said they weren't going to get snow,I just said the snow is having a hard time getting there,which in the end since it took so long for the snow arrive their forecast is abit of bust when their going forecast was 16-20 inches and they only received 9 inches,I know I said only,and I would love to have gotten 9 inches yesterday,but 9 is far less then 16-20. @Duane love to see you back and your insight is much appreciated,though your comments are less then thrilling since they are not conducive to more snow,but hey anything is possible,I've seen 90 degrees and snow 6 days apart here one April so the snow season is not done yet,cuz Gods knows I don't want that humidity anytime soon.

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  50. As we transition from winter to Spring I thought this would be a good time to remind us, or introduce to some of the readers, the products that the Storm Prediction puts out. Have any of you wondered what it means when your favorite media meteorologist say "the Storm Prediction Center has put us in a Slight Risk Area? (or occasionally a Moderate Risk?)

    First of all they put out a 1-8 day severe weather threat. On Days 4-8 you will rarely see a area highlighted, if you do they have detected a region that they believe has a 30% chance or greater for a severe threat.

    During days 2 and 3 you may see a area that has See Text on it. That would generally mean garden variety thunderstorms. You can also look at the probabilistic forecast for that area and you would generally see a 2 or 5% chance of severe weather. But more importantly you could also see a area of Slight Risk or even a Moderate to High Risk. When looking at the probabilistic outlook for that region you may see a 10,15,30,45 or 60% chance of severe weather within the depicted area. Those are the percentages of seeing severe weather within 25 miles of any point within the risk area. (60% is the highest and is very rarely used.) You may also see a area that is hatched, that means that there is a GREATER than 10% chance of seeing significant severe, EF2 or stronger tornado, 2" diameter hail or larger, or winds in excess of 65kt's.

    Day one is the same except you can see the probabilistic chances for Tornado, Wind and Hail.

    To make sure that I didn't misrepresent any of those terms I would like to direct to the SPC's Definition Page. Please take the time to read it.

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/misc/SPC_probotlk_info.html

    This is the outlook for Friday March 2nd, 2012. It doesn't get much worse than this. My thinking right now is that there may be one or more Tornado Watches issued by the SPC tomorrow carrying the high alert possible called a PDS Watch (Particular Dangerous Situation.)

    http://i960.photobucket.com/albums/ae84/arpetersonembaqcom/day2otlk_0700.gif

    http://i960.photobucket.com/albums/ae84/arpetersonembaqcom/day2probotlk_0700_any.gif

    If you know anyone in the risk are, you may want to alert them.

    Here is the SPC home page, just click on the convective outlook tab, then choose whatever day you wish to see.

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/

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  51. according to the GFS spring is about to spring over much of the US over the next two days. if areas can loose snowcover widespread 50s and even 60s will be possible!!

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  52. Anybody want to comment on the duster that is coming in tonight? Thanks!

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  53. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 1, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    I was thinking about this whole storm thing from yesterday. I want to throw my two cents out there. Remember, this storm was seen as a "monster" about 7 days before it happened. Most media outlets were at least mentioning it as something to watch. All of that information came from the models, as far apart as they may have been at that time. Seven days out and models can bring a storm that isn't even close to a particular specific city and be within a few hundred miles or less is amazing. Strength and general location was astounding. As it got closer, it was still amazingly accurate. The rain/snow line is crazy to predict. You could even see times, during the storm, that the snow was like a donut wrapped around the cities. Rain in Plymouth.....snow in SE Metro before making another shift to the opposite. Big picture is that is amazing. I think the NWS handled it extremely well and I think you would agree if you lived in the west or north metro. When you see the snow and see the intensity, it rings home a little more. However, I think the NWS should have stuck to their guns and stayed with a Winter Strom Warning or at least should have upgraded back up to that once it got worse.

    One more thing....the NWS service said the storm would do almost what it did regarding its NE movement and then shift to a straight east movement for a while. This is what caused the snow to start earlier and further south than in later forecasts. Amazing that it did that when storms usually don't. The NWS even recognized that in their early morning weater discussion on Wednesday morning.

    Overall, I don't know how I would grade this thing, but when you look big picture, it was pretty amazing.

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  54. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    One more thing. All of the negative-nellies out there--where are you now? Now that you have seen that this storm did have a major impact on this area, you are amazingly quiet. Don't get me wrong--I dont' want that to change if you are going to continue to be negative. I have made it clear how I feel about that. However, own up to your end as well. Accept some of your criticism/forecasting as wrong and our respect level will go up. Something to consider.

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  55. Plymouth Weather LoverMarch 1, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Any thoughts about March 8 and 9? The NWS discussion page says that the severe weather center is "lighting up" a bit during this time???

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  56. @ Big Daddy, I have no Idea what March will bring, right now the GFS is blow torch warm, through the 16 day period, with maybe a day or two near normal. The Euro shows at or below normal temps for the first 5 days or so. Than it brings a quick warm up for about a day and half around the 6th and the 7th. Than starting around March 8th, it drops a huge trough down that extends all the way to the Gulf. We may get some snow there depending on how quick the cold air drops in, if it holds off it may meet with a low pressure area coming up, if the cold comes first the precip with stay to our south and east. After that the Euro puts a big block up and could leave us in the cold sector for a day or two or longer...So snowfall for March around 5". It could be 3" to high or 5" to low.

    Yikes!! I just checked something...before I was talking about HIGH temps at or below average for the first week. I just looked at the predicted lows of the Euro. Wow it now shows temps below zero overnight with the possibility of double digit below zero!!!

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  57. look at the NW flow that the Euro shows, bringing -10°c
    850 mb temps over our snow pack. That looks cold to me.

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~gadomski/ECMWF0.5_12z/f72.gif

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  58. @PWL hang on I was looking at that earlier, let me revisit it.

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  59. I doubt it PLW from what I'm seeing, at the same time I am seeing cape values off the GFS at maybe 200, I'm seeing the Euro with nothing. Of course that all could change. I hate to discuss severe potential here for the most part. What I posted earlier about SPC outlooks is a reminder of severe threats, that is all. I choose to do it at this time because the severe threat looms large over the SE USA for tomorrow, and the outlook showed about all the risk that could be put out.

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  60. Yea, I know I need a new thread and some sort of grading/assessment of the last storm (but hey, I have a day job). Meantime, check out this difference among the forecasters for a potential warm-up next week: http://yfrog.com/mg30536779p

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  61. If anyone can stay up late enough to report on Ken Barlow's extended forecast (assuming he's working tonight; he may not be) tonight, it would be interesting to see. On Thursday, Dave Dahl is FAR cooler than all other forecasters. If KB is working, his Thursday prediction will tell us whether: 1) He's as big on the European model as Dave Dahl, or 2) How comfortable he is issuing a different forecast, one that he'd almost undoubtedly forecast if he were still at KARE. Hey, you gotta get your suspense somehow.....

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  62. Answering my own question... Ken Barlow went with a high of 35 next Thursday, just as Dave Dahl forecast.

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