Accumulating snow possible by end of week - KMSP-TV

Accumulating snow possible by end of week

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Meteorologist Cody Matz Meteorologist Cody Matz

It's a little early to be talking about the specifics of our next storm since we are still a couple days away and these things often change, but rumors are flying that heavy snow will show it's ugly face again. I can't deny that fact because accumulating snow is looking more and more likely, but nothing is concrete because there are still BIG questions with the storm track and intensity. For example, this last storm that brought parts of northwest Minnesota 18"+ of snow, originally looked like it would bring the heavy snow to the Twin Cities metro. But over the weekend, the storm track continued to shift further and further north, leaving the metro, and much of Minnesota for that matter, in the warm sector of the storm bringing rain and even some thunderstorms. So, that's just a testament of how much things can change in just a day or two.

That being said, here is where things sit right now… A large wave will push its way onshore onto the west coast sometime early Thursday. This will move northeastward and is looking like a classic "Texas hooker"; a storm system named because the surface low develops in the panhandle of Texas and hooks to the northeast. These types of storms typically develop a band of heavy snow on the northwest side IF there is enough cold air to support the snow. That is always a big question this time of year. So here is a peek at potential 850mb temperatures for early Thursday and early Friday. 850mb is about 5000 feet above the surface and is typically the location in the atmosphere that draws in warm air and would be above freezing, causing rain versus snow.

You can see that Thursday morning, temperatures will be around freezing or even a little above freezing for southern Minnesota which could mean more rain or sleet than actual snow, if anything is even precipitating at all. But notice Friday morning, all areas well below freezing spelling a much better probability of snow.

So how much are we talking about?? Well, with this type of storm, the potential is really unlimited. But considering it's the first week of April, there are many limiting factors when it comes to snow storms. Here is what the models are spewing out right now. Below are 3 different models showing their raw forecast for snowfall between now and Saturday morning.

The consistencies are unmistakable with all of the models showing some form or another of a heavy snow band, but the placement is constantly changing which is indicative of the models not being able to pin point the exact track and intensity of the storm. In fact, just a one model run before these, the heavy snow band was much further south. But you can see very well for yourself that the potential for 6 or more inches of snow is very real.

So what are some of the other great minds in meteorology thinking? Well, here is the Weather Prediction Center's forecast for snowfall over a 48 hour period from Wednesday morning through Friday morning. The following 3 images show the probability of getting at least 2, 4, and 8 inches of snow.

Not something that you really want to see in the first week of April is it? This shows that confidence is high enough to paint much of the area with a 80%+ chance of getting 2 inches of snow, and a 60%+ chance of getting at least 4 inches of snow, with even the metro and Mankato showing a 30%+ chance of getting 8 inches of snow. Yikes!

But I want to reiterate that this is NOT a forecast, and things can and do change on a daily basis… but my hope with these posts is to give you a little knowledge and an inside look at how we track snow storms before they arrive, showing at least the POTENTIAL for someone to get a large amount of snow. Time will tell... We will keep you updated.

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