Saturday, February 9, 2013

Wide Forecaster Variability for Sunday Storm

If you like the opportunity to separate the men from the boys when it comes to forecasting skill, we've got a great set up for this storm. KSTP is the most bullish on the storm, forecasting 6 to 10 inches across the metro. On the conservative end, the Star Tribune's Paul Douglas weighs in at 2-3 inches of slush (nationally, The Weather Channel forecasts 1-3 inches of snow).

As of 10 p.m. on Saturday night, here's what we captured:

WCCO: 4-8
KSTP: 6-10
KMSP: 4-7 per KMSP website
KARE: 3-7
NWS: 5-9 (but challenging to decipher/add up)
Strib/Paul Douglas: 2-3
MPR: 3-8
Weather Channel: 1-3




91 comments:

  1. as you can see I agree with KSTP, and I think they have been good since last night. Those that are going lower are using the NAM, possibly the RPM model output. I will add one more model and that's the UKMET, dry slot sets up over far se MN.

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  2. Also noteworthy, I believe that KARE was at 1-3 inches yesterday.

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  3. Yep. Unfortunately for KARE, they get the 'Flip-Flop' award on this one. They had hardly a flake falling in the south Metro on their 4casts last night. Now?

    I think they would've been better off just sticking with their 1"-3" and taking a hit if it busts.

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  4. Good idea. We should start introducing a Flip Flop Award. The final forecast is worth something but so is overall performance and consistency.

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  5. The storm pattern as I looked at the radar looked like KMSP and KSTP were going to get 1-3 inches and a lot of the storm was going to hit Missouri and Iowa and a whole heck of the rest of it was going to go through the northern part of the State and Canada. mileage is going to vary widely on this one. Looks like it's going to be a yawner for the metro.

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    1. For purposes of this blog, KSTP refers to channel 5 and KMSP to channel 9. Sorry for the confusion.

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  6. @Bill and others.....I'm I reading the updated winter statement at 7:21pm from the NWS correctly?.........the winter storm warning portion that includes the city of Minneapolis has dropped any mixture from the equation and now has totals of 7-12 inches,is that what your reading?.......where did you get the 5-9 total?or has it been updated since your new thread.

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  7. Everywhere I look snow totals are raising........besides what I posted above from the NWS,this is what else I found:
    Strib/Paul Douglas.....2-5(slightly higher then his 2-3)
    Weather.com.......5-10(considerably higher then 1-3)on their cell phone app
    Accuweather........4-8

    Are the models waffling?more southern shift?or just less mix and more snow?
    Any thoughts anyone.

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    1. Got NW info at weather.gov

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    2. Mostly due to the American models continuing to shift south. Not really a big surprise. I still think things are lining up pretty well with what I forecasted earlier.

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    3. It's also looking more and more likely the even the south metro will see all snow, and rain is becoming less likely.

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  8. Wow, what a brutal forecast for the metro on this one. This is what you get when a low is passing so close by, and the mix line sets up not far away either. There is still a wide range of amounts the models are showing so I will just go ahead and post the ones I can for MSP. This forecast has a big bust potential due to potential dynamic cooling that will turn things to snow more rapidly, or not as much cooling to turn it more slowly. Also, as always, there is the dry slot factor and how it reacts with the low. At this point, I think the major difference in the models is between 850mb and the surface. GFS is hanging on to it being warm enough to melt things before freezing on the surface. This does cut into the totals. The Euro does not show this and keeps things cold enough for all snow. What's interesting with the GFS is it looks like at some point between 11am and 1pm, some heavier stuff is going to move into the Twin Cities area and this does have the potential of being convective. GFS on bufkit shows about 5.5 inches of snow in a 3 hour time span, which is snow rates between 1.5 and 2 inches per hour. If there are convective bands that set up, this is very possible. For the record, all of the models have trended cooler with each run, so now I guess we turn towards the short term models to see how things do play out. Below are the totals from each model (some approx. since I have to try to figure them out by hand ha ha!)Again, these are for MSP.

    GFS: 5-7 inches
    NAM: 4-6 inches
    ECWMF: 6-10 inches (.63 inches of QPF, averaging between 10:1 and 15:1 ratio
    GEM (Canadian): 6-9 inches (between .5 and .75 inches of QPF)
    SREF Mean: 5.3 inches (3 on the low end, near 8 on the high end of the ensembles).
    RPM (03z run): 6-8 inches.

    So there it is...the latest model runs and their approximate output. Keep in mind, again, that if things change slower or more quickly than anticipated, these totals would need to be adjusted. Either way, there will be times when it does come down heavy and you may hear a clap or two of thunder. 11am to 1pm is, again, when I think the heaviest rates will hit the metro. Then we watch a secondary band that comes up behind the low, but that may go SE of the metro. Stay safe everyone!

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    1. Duane, that 11:00 am to 1:00 pm window was spot on.

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    2. Models actually did a good job with that part of it. I wonder if anyone did hear some thunder from this. I think out west had a little Saturday night, and maybe in the Sioux Falls area Sunday afternoon. It is pretty fun hearing thunder in the midst of a snowstorm, so I always hope for it.

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  9. Slight dusting here in Minnetonka at 5:02 am. A bit off from the earlier predictions of 12 midnight and then 3 am. start. MNPLOWCO

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  10. This storm is taking a look of a band of heavy snow moving thru pretty quickly,lying down a few inches in the metro and then the action stays north and west all day with our dry tongue,then redevelopment moves more snow south and east of metro tonight,so with a major system in our neck of the woods this will be a yawner and bust and a disappointment for the potential this storm had.

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    1. And what I just posted is confirmed in the Graphical Nowcast at NWS,saying the most intense precip moves thru in 2-4 hours with 1-2 inch snowfall rates then tapers off for the afternoon,so if you lived in Atlanta this would be a big problem,but being in Minneapolis this is just a minor deal.
      Again,wake me up when we have a real storm or just maybe half of what the Northeast just received.

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  11. SPC has a mesoscale discussion for us on heavy snow. Even mentions potential for lighting with this as well...

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0137.html

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  12. 898.6 914 -0.1
    882.0 1064 1.4
    870.0 1175 1.4
    865.2 1219 1.2
    850.0 1362 0.6
    833.0 1524 -0.3

    About a quarter mile of atmosphere above zero at the NWS office at 7am. Not sure if that will be enough to turn snow into ice pellets.

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  13. Percipitation approaching fast from the south.

    Question is, what kind?

    Those in the SW metro, could you be able to tell us?

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  14. Bloomington is still fairly dry not much coming down except for the icicle drips. Still hoping for a snow dump...

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  15. How is it not snowing,the radar is all lit up around the metro,yet nothinh much falling.looks like the heavy stuff is flowing west of the metro,whole area moving fast north.
    Anonymous above is correct this will be a quick hitter if precip actually starts falling.

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  16. Is the air really dry? According to the radar it should be precipitating rather steadily here in Apple Valley, but there is nothing reaching the ground here at my house.

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  17. Rain in Hopkins, pretty steady

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  18. Steady sleet in Rosemount.

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  19. It is precipitating,its good old fashion rain here in Robbinsdale,nice job missing the boat on this one Randys!!!where did your snow go?

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  20. @bemaki,SPC boys just as bad as the NWS boys,do they work in the same office?mesoscale discussion on heavy snow my butt,does that look like heavy snow out your window?BUST!
    When's the next storm?

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    1. Yep! National Weather Service sucks!,really rain after all this snow talk and warnings and models shifting south and convective snows and 2" per hour,what happened,do you care to explain Randy Hill!

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    2. The storm stayed a little too warm, especially for the 2nd wave of precip. I can verify 1.5" per hour snow (only for 1 hour),and I am 8 miles from MSP. Duane has a good post explaining further below.

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  21. Big fat snowflakes in Minnetonka and driving hard with a pretty good impact. Just changed in the last 15 mins from rain. MNPLOWCO at 9:30 am.

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  22. Sleet occasionally mixing with big fat snowflakes in Apple Valley.

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    1. Golf ball sized flakes in Hopkins now!

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  23. When is the winter storm warning being downgraded to a winter weather advisory for the metro for this convective 2" per hour snowfall were not getting?

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  24. Its coming boys....stop all this negaive talk........big flakes,silver dollar flakes falling in Golden Valley..dynamic cooling taking place! Dance PwL!

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  25. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 10, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Snowing really hard in Plymouth. Awesome! Bring it! Almost peeing my pants!

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  26. I don't understand the radar in winter. It shows heavy precip right on top and all around me, yet there is nothing falling from the sky. St. Louis Park.

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  27. This is a slop fest at its finest,the 1-3er's take the cake on this one,everyone else missed the mark,especially the NWS and Randy Hill and all those who thought we would get warning level snows in the metro.Back to sleet/rain after a brief snow burst here in Robbinsdale.

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  28. Sleet turned to steady snow, but now back to sleet in Farmington area.

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  29. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    I will dance until I pass out if we get only 1-3 inches!! We will get more than that. Dynamic cooling on the way.

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  30. heavy snow in the mankato area. dynamic cooling taking place!

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  31. Plymouth Weather LoverFebruary 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Looks like a blizzard out my window! Peeing my pants! Yes! Bring it!!

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  32. "Icey-pellety-semi-wet-flakes" (new weather terminology) :-) at 1/4 inch on the hard in Minnetonka 10:43 am. MNPLOWCO

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  33. Just curious what some of you 'weather lovers' get out of the huge snows? I've never seen anybody mention skiing, snowmobiling, or any other activity in the snow... seems the lovers just get excited by the snow? WHY? What does 12" accomplish that 4" doesn't? Think the east coast is having fun digging out of their mess? Think the 600000 without power are having fun trying to figure out how to keep their homes heated? I'm sure stranded travelers are loving it as well.

    Do you guys hope for tornados and flooding rains in the summer too? The weather is an amazingly interesting thing, and I can be sucked in and as excited as the next guy, but some of you seem to really need a little perspective on some of the big picture impacts of what crippling weather can do. If you're really that hard up for multiple feet of snow move to Tahoe or somewhere that gets it regularly.

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    1. I'm a paraplegic guy who loves to snowmobile, as a good way to exercise my core strength and balance. I also get a kick out of plowing my driveway on the four-wheeler and my neighbors too if they need a hand.

      Winter is long, the cold gets old, and being able to play in the fresh snow is definitely why I look forward to large snowfalls that will guarantee I can hit the trails in the days ahead.

      Large storms affect a large amount of people whether I get excited or not. I don't think anybody here enjoys watching people struggle to deal with the weather, whether it's snow, tornados, droughts, or hurricanes. Our feelings regarding the storms have absolutely zero impact. I'm sure each one of us weather enthusiasts would be the first ones to help out someone in need whenever we could.

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    2. I enjoy seeing large snowfalls. It stems from being a kid on the east coast and hoping for a snow day. Now that I am older, I still hope for large snow storms. I think the weather is a great equalizer. It doesn't care who you are or what your plans are, when a big snowstorm is coming it effects everyone. Certainly no one is hoping for deaths or destruction. But a normal 12" snow storm shouldn't be too devastating to a northern state. Sure, when you get into the 2-3 feet total that gets excessive, but not something that the northeast shouldn't be able to handle. Defiantly stinks to be without power, but that doesn't mean you are without heat. A lot of homes out east have fireplaces. I'm also totally fine with 1-2" snowfalls. Last week was perfect. 7 total inches of fluffy, easily shockable snow. I considerd using a leaf blower last week. Today's snow = chiropractor snow.

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  34. Considering how relatively rare a 12" snowfall is in the metro, it is a big deal. It's interesting and beautiful. 4" is beautiful, but it's a nuisance. There's nothing novel about a 4" snowfall.

    I would imagine that most of us are inspired by the raw power of nature. Loss of life and property is never wished for nor celebrated.

    St. Louis Park storm update: Still a whole lotta nothing going on, yet the radar shows heavy precip. What gives?

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  35. Some of us make our living this way. Every bit of snow or sleet put food on the table and educates our college bound kids. So we get fired up. That's my reason. This site has been a valuable resource for my company and I appreciate all who participate. Cheers! MNPLOWCO (we plow snow)

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  36. I hope for tornadoes in the summer, but certainly not for damage or injury. I would not die a sad man if I never saw another snow flake.

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    1. Real mature Disco,not too many tornadoes that don't cuz damage or injure,unless its in a cornfield in Arkansas,even the weak tornadoes that ripped thru NE Minneapolis a few years back caused substantial damage and one death.Keep hoping for that clown.

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    2. Did you miss the f**king part where I said NOT FOR DAMAGE OR INJURY? WTF "clown?" And you're questioning MY maturity? Jesus...

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  37. Steady light/moderate snow (small flakes) in Apple Valley.

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  38. After some rain/graupel mix on and off over the past hour or so, it's all snow in Burnsville now and coming down at a pretty moderate rate.

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  39. looks like dynamic cooling is finally winning out. after 90mins of rain/sleet/graupel we have a moderate snow in farmington

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  40. Winter Wonderland in Rosemount! Moderate/heavy snow (quarter-sized flakes) falling!!

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    1. Real snow in Minnetonka coming at a nice pace.
      MNPLOWCO

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  41. Precip now in St. Louis Park...all snow!

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  42. just turned to snow stillwater, may yet turn back to sleet, but looks pretty solid.

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  43. Sometime between the start of Chirch (11:00) am and the end (11:30) the sleet/freezing rain mix changed to moderate snow. Some graupel mixed in. At least 1" if snow on that short time. Observed in Northern Dakota County.

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  44. It was interesting watching the sleet to snow to sleet then back to snow conversions happen while at church today. Here in Bloomington we have moderately heavy snowfall with smaller flakes than earlier. The back edge of the storm is looking too close! Will some wrap around back fill happen? I hope so. Lots of great snow equals lots of great fun. Kids are out sledding in the back and a snowman is in the afternoon plans as well.

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    1. I think that the NWS is banking on the Vorticity Advecation which will happen in front of the Vorticity Maximum. Basically, the advication that sometimes happens near the center of the low pressure. Currently, It is that slow-moving band of precipatation Near Souix falls. You can see it on the radar here:

      http://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?rid=fsd

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  45. Downtown Minneapolis here. All snow, and it's been all snow for about an hour. The flake size is changing from very small to larger clumps, although right now I'd say average size snowflakes are falling at a moderate pace.

    I'm not as savvy as some of you guys so I won't comment on "dynamic cooling" because I'm not sure when it's happening. :)

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  46. Hardly anything in South Minneapolis. Couple slushy inches. Light snow. PD's forecast looks pretty spot on at this point.

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    1. Which one? The 1-3" slush or the 3"-5" up on PD blog now?

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  47. 2 inches of heavey wet on the hard in Minnetonka. Snow continuing yet very light amounts. MNPLOWCO

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  48. That's about it,show is over! Back edge of snow moving thru the metro as I type.What you got,is what you got!Blown forecast by many,PD seems spot on,everyone else who went greater then 5/6 inches is the big loser.Fun while it lasted though.

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  49. It looks to me like we're in the worst possible spot for this storm. We don't get the benefit of the rainfall that Wisconsin is getting, and we won't get the heavy snowfall, either. Sad.

    I hope this dry slot fills in. Quickly.

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  50. Time to plow. MNPLOWCO

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  51. For what its worth weather.com says an additional 2-4 inches tonight and another inch tommorrow,I just don't see its precip free straight down to the Iowa border,is this storm suppose to stall and redevelop more snow on us?

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  52. 1.8 inches in south minneapolis. some of it's melting too. It's 33 degrees. Lame storm. I thought this was supposed to be huge? Bust.

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  53. Yikes! Dry slot city! We picked up about 3 inches of beautiful, heavy, white, wet cement down here in the Burnsville area. It has already compacted to about 2-2.25 inches. I hope the back edge comes through with a few more inches of dry snow tonight. Time will tell.

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  54. Its about time,this was obvious,been waiting for it since about 9am this morning when the forecast was blown by the NWS but they finally downgraded the winter storm warning to an advisory,and now call for a 2-5 storm total,no kidding thanks for that at 3pm when most of the storm is over,another horrible job with headlines by the NWS!Maybe Randy Hill or Randyinchamplain,or Novak or Duane can speak on behalf of the blown forecast,since 3/4 of them were agreeing with the higher totals.

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    1. Another example of nature not doing what the models thought it would. I will say though once again (I posted this last night too) of the big bust potential for this. When you are dealing with a temp profile that is so close to being too warm for snow, or being just cold enough for snow, this type of stuff happens. The lowest levels of the atmosphere just didn't quite cool fast enough, and with it being so warm at the surface, it takes a lot to accumulate. In other words, not the best snow making conditions for the southern part of the state. Further north and west were a different story. lol I'm assuming I would be the 1/4 who didn't call for the higher amounts (because I didn't actually put out a prediction, just stated what the models were thinking). I think I had the timing down of when the heavy snow would come through. We can call a bust for the metro, but the areas that were first thought to see the higher amounts did indeed see some high amounts of snow. The blizzard seems to be unfolding as predicted, but as far as the predictions at MSP, yeah they were a bust. I think I want to give a shout out to our local weekend met in WI who did a pretty darn good job with his predictions. He went on the lower end of things, similar to P.D. Not sure if anyone has seen the southern end of this storm system, but was a bit of tornado damage in parts of Mississippi tonight (prob. Alabama will see some too). Quite the storm system if you ask me. Now, forecasters just brush themselves off and wait for the next one. Amazing how a lot of guys don't get a lot of praise when they are really close with their predictions, but catch all sorts of grief when they are off. Nature of the business I guess.

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  55. Solid 3 inches in Golden Valley,and I mean solid that heavy wet snow is like cement..........even though I was expecting more,I'll take it,beggers can't be chosers.......maybe better snows for the next one........but this was a far cry then the 32 inches my mother got back home on Long Island,NY with the Northeast blizzard,biggest storm ever to hit the Island and I was here...damn it!

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  56. This storm is solid and huge. Take a look at the national satellite and radar images. It's crazy beautiful. Wish we could have been in a more favorable scenario here in the metro, but we did get some good moisture.

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  57. Was just coming to mention that. Beautiful storm on satellite.

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  58. Yeah I agree - looks like a monster from space. I posted a pic using GrEarth. https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151432259874596&set=a.10151432259859596.505435.701334595&type=1&theater

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  59. Not very happy with how links are presented here but oh well. Copy / Paste is your friend.

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  60. Is this next band seriously going to come in hot? i.e. liquid?

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  61. Yep Joel Fischer you are correct it is rain(our winter friend who has been around too much this winter)you called it much better then the NWS,their calling for snow the rest of the evening,I think you can do better then them.
    Go ahead and try,give me a seven day forecast!

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    1. Yep, the 100% chance of snow tonight has now been changed to rain possibly mixed with sleet. lol They can't even get the forecast correct an hour or two before the precipitation begins to fall! Pathetic! Absolutely Pathetic!

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    2. Its not just them,just read Dave Dahl's blog and he clearly states another 2-4 inches for the metro tonight.
      Too bad Bill's not around(unless he's going to grade from Florida)but he would be giving everyone an F for this storm,except Paul Douglas!

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    3. @Sam G., I agree with you. PD gets an "A" and practically everybody else gets a big ole "F"! If making a forecast is so tricky due to the temperature profile, then at least don't call for a 100% chance of snow. I think that to most people a 100% chance of snow means that it is going to snow, no doubt about it. All I can do is just shake my head. It used to be that I got really excited when word came out that a big moisture laden storm was going to develop into a Colorado Low and head northeast towards the Upper Midwest. Well, this season has changed all of that. Now when I hear about a Colorado Low I can't help but to think how much rain we will get. If it does snow at all, like today, it is a sloppy couple of inches at best. I sure hope that the Colorado Low pattern the TC Metro has endured this lame season is an anomaly and not the new lame winter normal for the TC. Sorry for the venting. The only thing that has kept this season from being the lamest in recent years is last season's non-winter.

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    4. @Anonymous. I can't argue with you. You made some very good points. I just thought you might want to know that Dave Dahl is calling for another strong storm for next Tuesday/Wednesday. Translation: Here comes yet another rain, slop mess for the metro.

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    5. Marc...I'm reading your reply to me as sarcasm. If I'm correct in that, all I can say is that I was looking at the radar and saw green coming toward us. I'm just simply amazed at this powerful storm turning into VERY little for us.

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    6. Yes Joel it was sarcasm,the NWS has been a absolute joke today,that's why I wanted to hear your seven day,cuz you can do better,since you saw the rain coming and they were calling for snow.

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    7. I meant that I thought it was sarcasm directed at me. Never mind...all cleared up now.

      This storm was big and powerful...and a mess for us.

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  62. First above-freezing temp since Jan 29th.

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  63. Rain and warm temps continue to melt snow here in mols, almost like we got a net half inch of snow at this point. May get a bit more tonight. But still: huge bust. Paul Douglas did great. Everyone else not so much.

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  64. Greetings all from St. Pete. The weather most definitely f***ed u my day. A 10:20 flight was suddenly railroaded five minutes before the departure when the pilot said no planes were leaving MSP. Horrific timing for the plane to be collecting the torrential downpour of sleep. Believe it or not, the plane didn't take off until 1:50 p.m.... we were sitting on the plane the entire time.

    Sounds like most of the excitement of the day occurred during that time. Surprised to hear you all talk about rain now... it sounded like everything was supposed to turn to snow and stay that way. Will be interesting to hear the explanation of what happened.

    Enjoy the slop!

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  65. Moderate snow is falling in Rosemount now.

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  66. http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f38/RL3AO/20130211_0245_US_ir.jpg

    Pretty cool IR satellite image.

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