Our next Alberta Clipper is on its way here… but the uncertainties with placement and amount of snow is even higher than the last one, and we saw how that turned out. Current forecasting computer models continue to shift this clipper further west which would put much of central Minnesota in the cross hairs for the heavier snow totals of 3 or 4 inches. But not even 24 hours ago, these same models showed the heavier band of snow some 200 miles further east, sitting in western Wisconsin. In both cases the metro was on the edge, receiving an inch or two of fluffy snow. Now, if we take the mean of these models over the last 24 hours, this would put the heaviest snow in the metro with many locations likely to get 3 or 4 inches. Let me show you what we are looking at. The following 3 images are from our in house futurecast model that shows the general trend of this anticipated snow band over the last 24 hours. Watch how yesterday, the heaviest snow was staying to our east, and then by this morning it was to our west.
This creates a forecasting "nightmare" for us because of the large spread from the most recent model runs. The simple movement 100 miles in either direction will have large impacts on those in the path with some expecting next to nothing that may get 3 inches and vice versa. So let's look at what other minds in the field are thinking. Here is the probability of 1, 2, and 4 inch accumulations from the Weather Prediction Center (WPC).
They currently have the band over the metro bringing what appears to be 1 to 3 inches metro wide, which is a safe and pretty decent estimation based on not only what models are depicting, but climatologically as well. When talking climatology of clipper, they tend to move very similar to one another so often times, you can predict where they are going to go simply because they tend to end up in the same areas more often than not. I believe this is what the National Weather Service is leaning on as well with their forecast… showing 1 to 4 inches area wide.