SPRING OUTLOOK: Strong storm enters region Monday - KMSP-TV

SPRING OUTLOOK: Strong storm enters region Monday

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Meteorologist Cody Matz Meteorologist Cody Matz

In the wake of our 60°+ weather Sunday, rain and/or snow is expected to move in Monday as our next vigorous storm moves through. But a big shift in the models may leave some of us high and dry. There's no doubt that a strong area of low pressure will be pressing through the region Sunday night through early Tuesday, but it's the overall track of this storm that has shifted further north which spells warmer weather for many across the state. This will likely shift the heavy snow further north, but DOES NOT diminish the chances for snow entirely heading into early Tuesday.

The big difficulty with this storm will be the wide array of weather it will induce. It will draw not only much warmer air from the south, but significantly colder air to the north. This will set the stage for a battle of the air masses that could land mid 60's and sun across southeast Minnesota, but teens and near blizzard conditions across northwestern parts of the state Monday afternoon.

Here is what I'm talking about. The image below is a snapshot of what conditions could be like early Monday afternoon across the region. This image shows surface temperatures, wind speeds (the wind barbs), and pressure.

The large "L" indicates the potential center of low pressure with winds flowing from the south out ahead of it, from the east north of it, and from the north on the west side of it. The big thing to note will be the drastic difference in temperatures over short distances. For example, according to this model, temperatures in the metro could be in the mid 50's while Marshall (in the southwest corner of the state) is in the mid 60's. Meanwhile, just behind the low (to the west) temperatures plummet to the mid 20's just 80 miles away in Watertown, South Dakota. That's UNREAL!

Regardless of whether that's 100% accurate or not doesn't matter, because there WILL BE a HUGE drop in temperatures behind this low and associated cold front that all of us will have to deal with. So now comes the question of precipitation. How much? Well if we are talking liquid equivalent, here is a forecast from the Weather Prediction Center through Wednesday morning.

Southern Minnesota ends up with the least while the metro gets roughly a quarter inch or a little more. But northern Minnesota ends up the big winner with well over an inch of liquid equivalent precipitation. Obviously, with temperatures sub-freezing AT LEAST part of the time, some if not most of this will be snow. So how much are we talking? Well, of course that remains a tough question. But as I mentioned earlier, all of the forecasting models are trending further north which takes the heavy snow further north as well and spreads it across parts of northern Minnesota and the Dakotas. Here is what 2 different computers models are spewing out for potential totals through Tuesday morning.

In some cases, VERY heavy snow with both models showing a band of a foot or more. Clearly, the heavy snow doesn't appear to be even a question for the metro, but western Minnesota is still very wishy washy with some saying spots could get up to the half a foot mark, while others are saying almost northing. So here is the current forecast from the Weather Prediction Center. These show the probability of receiving at least 2 inches, 4 inches, and 8 inches of snow through Tuesday morning.

Eye opening isn't it?? According to the WPC, the heaviest band of snow will likely be from about Fargo, through Bemidji, and into the International Falls area with at least 70% probability of getting more than 8 inches of snow. That's impressive for any month, but considering it's nearly April, it's even more so. Notice that there are still chances for small amounts of snow even in southern and central Minnesota with a 30%-60% chance west of the metro. It's the metro eastward that will have the hardest time picking up any accumulating snow… probably good news for those that are sick of seeing white… not to mention shoveling.

AND of course, we get to add a LOT of wind to this mess. The winds will start southerly and pick up speed for many locations starting Monday afternoon.

But by Mon night, the low pressure starts to go by, and winds drastically increase out of the northwest ushering in that much cooler air and potential near blizzard conditions for anyone that's actually getting snow.

The strong winds stick around through the first half of Tuesday making it feel more like winter again.

Remember that the forecast is very fluid and will likely change a bit as we head through Monday so stay tuned!

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