MONDAY STORM UPDATE: Wintry precipitation treks north - KMSP-TV

MONDAY STORM UPDATE: Wintry precipitation treks north

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Meteorologist Cody Matz Meteorologist Cody Matz

The majority of the wintry precipitation is still expected to stay out of our area with plenty of warm temperatures as this storm continues to trek further and further north. Some rain showers fell across southern Minnesota Monday morning, with more expected later in the day. But now there are some indications that thunderstorms may actually develop Monday afternoon with even a little nod by the Storm Prediction Center.

So, we will start with the rain first. Whatever has developed in the morning will weaken and move out of the area by early afternoon leading to some clearing and sunshine that will help de-stabilize the atmosphere. You can see it already occurring on the visible satellite image toward midday.

This sunshine is what could lead to thunderstorm formation later on today because of ample moisture, lift, and shear. So how do we know these components are ample enough? Well combining moisture and lift, you get something called CAPE. It stands for Convective Available Potential Energy. It's basically a fancy acronym for energy to produce thunderstorms. Just the presence of CAPE shows the possibility of getting thunder and lightning, and therefore having a thunderstorm. Below is a look at the forecast CAPE for the mid afternoon hours.

Here you can see a little line of CAPE that has developed showing that thunderstorms can exist in these areas as they move to the east. It isn't much, but with so much shear around, (the change in direction and speed with height) you don't need a lot to produce thunderstorms. Some of these storms may even be strong, producing gusty winds or some small hail. Here is a peak at some of the wind speeds at 850mb, or about 5000 feet up.

Those are sustained winds at about 60 knots, or roughly 75 mph, just 5000 feet above the surface! So it wouldn't take much of a storm to grab onto those and force them down to the ground. These conditions are even impressive enough to get a little nod from the Storm Prediction Center acknowledging that there is even an ever so slim, small chance of severe rumbler or two with some strong winds as you can see below.

Not so farfetched considering winds will already be gusting over 40mph, so it wouldn't take a whole lot of work to get them over 60 mph.

But of course, once we get through the warmth, there will be plenty of cold air to go around. This is when our rain will turn over to wintry precipitation. But it's not so much the amount of snow that's going to be the issue, it will be the combination of the snow and the wind that's the problem. Because of this, blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of western Minnesota and warnings and advisories for parts of northern MN from about St. Cloud northward.

It is interesting to note though that the National Weather Service is a little less convinced that there will actually be enough snow in western Minnesota to cause a blizzard with whiteout conditions, however, snow will be flying across the area with lower visibilities to a half mile or less at times for a lot of folks. The good news is that it won't last all that long as the snow will be done for many by the end of the Tuesday morning commute.

So to make it nice and simple for you… here is a general timeline for the precipitation changeover. At this point, I don't think precipitation will be this widespread, but focus more on what color the precipitation is where you live, and that will give you a sense of the temperatures at that time.

Rain for everyone today before it starts switching over from rain to snow west to east through the overnight hours with it likely to be cold enough to snow for everyone by the 3 or 4am hour. Enjoy the last warm day for a while!!

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