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Snow tapers today, nippy New Year’s ahead

Winter storms in Minnesota are like boxes of Cracker Jack. Each one comes with a surprise gift inside.

The season's strongest winter storm so far delivered on forecast snowfall totals from the southern Twin Cities south to Mankato, Rochester and beyond. The special surprise gift with this storm was the instant snow cutoff line that parked over the far north and northwest metro overnight.

Another free surprise? The crazy high and inaccurate forecast output from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's North American Mesoscale Forecast System model leading up to the storm. It was at least 10 inches too high for many areas. Note to NOAA: Please fix the NAM in winter.

While most of southern Minnesota achieved model forecast snowfall totals, the northwest metro and the zone from St. Cloud to Duluth pretty much got skunked. Good news if you're a commuter in St. Cloud. Not so much in the metro.

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A multiple-vehicle wreck on Interstate 494 at Nicollet Avenue South closed all eastbound lanes of traffic in Richfield, Minn., during the morning commute,(Courtney Perry for MPR News)

Weather headlines

  • Winter storm warnings continue for much of the day from the metro south and east

  • Snowfall totals from 4 inches to 12.5 inches reported from the Twin Cities to Iowa and Wisconsin

  • Mapleton [Blue Earth Co, MN] PUBLIC reports SNOW of 12.50 INCH at 9:24 AM CST -- SOURCE = SOCIAL MEDIA

  • Secondary upper low keeps snow going in some areas today

  • New Year's Eve chill

SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH THE MORNING BEFORE BEGINNING TO DIMINISH THIS AFTERNOON. ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES ARE EXPECTED TO FALL THROUGH THE MORNING...WITH THE HIGHEST AMOUNTS FROM MANKATO AND NEW ULM OVER TO THE SOUTHERN TWIN CITIES METRO AND RED WING. COMBINED WITH SNOW THAT HAS BEEN FALLING SINCE MONDAY EVENING...THIS WILL PUSH STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL TO 5 TO 9 INCHES ACROSS THE WARNING AREA.

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MNDOT

The golden snow shovel award so far? Mapleton in southern Minnesota with a very plowable 12.5 inches.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

844 AM CST TUE DEC 29 2015

...SNOWFALL REPORTS PAST 24 HOURS ...

LOCATION AMOUNT TIME/DATE

WINNEBAGO 9.6 IN 0800 AM

FARIBAULT 8.0 IN 0700 AM

MANKATO 8.0 IN 0729 AM

MANKATO 4 E 7.2 IN 0700 AM

AMBOY 7.0 IN 0603 AM 12/29

NEW ULM 3SE 6.8 IN 0554 AM

FAIRMONT 6.7 S 6.2 IN 0637 AM

WASECA 1 NNE 6.1 IN 0700 AM

ALBERT LEA 3SE 6.0 IN 0800 AM

MADELIA 6.0 IN 0607 AM

1 S LAKEVILLE 5.8 IN 0400 AM

COMFREY 6.5 ENE 5.8 IN 0655 AM

ELLENDALE 0.3 SW 5.5 IN 0700 AM

ROSEMOUNT 5.3 IN 0630 AM

GAYLORD 5.2 IN 0730 AM

BRICELYN 5.2 IN 0800 AM

1 NE OWATONNA 5.1 IN 0700 AM

APPLE VALLEY 2 E 5.1 IN 0700 AM

ROSEMOUNT 4.5 WSW 5.0 IN 0700 AM

MINNEAPOLIS ST. PAUL AIRPORT 4.7 IN 0559 AM

Storm pulls out slowly today

The main low pressure wave slides east today. Behind it, an upper air vorticity lobe (spin zone) that will keep snow sputtering on and off. Some areas south of the metro will pick up another 1 to 3 inches today even as the main surface low pulls east. Colder northwest flow rides in behind the system.

Finally. Winter.

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NOAA

Snow gradually fades

Here's a look at simulated radar today from the Twin Cities National Weather Service. User note: Don't take this too literally county by county, but use the trends for planning.

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Couple more inches especially south

Overall, another 1 to 3 inches seems likely where snow bands persist today, especially south of the metro across southern Minnesota and east into Wisconsin.

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Nippy New Year's: Classic winter weekend

Finally, some real winter in Minnesota. New Year's Eve temperatures in the teens remind us where we live. This weekend should be a classic to get out and play in all that fresh new snow. Outdoor ice skating at your local skating rink this week?

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Weatherspark - NOAA GFS data.
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