High-impact winter storm pushing into Minnesota

A major winter storm has been winding up out of Colorado and will cause major delays across Minnesota Monday and Monday night.

Mar 5 - Mon fcst map
Forecast surface weather map for Monday. NOAA Weather Prediction Center

March storms can be messy

Mixed precipitation in the form of rain, sleet and snow swept into Minnesota Sunday night. Thunder even woke some of us at times.

Bands of mixed precipitation have been delivering glancing blows while a more solid area of precipitation has been forming in southwestern Minnesota.

Mar 5 - radar
Weather radar around 8 a.m. Monday. Twin Cities National Weather Service

Lightning has been showing up where thundersnow is being reported in the southwestern corner of Minnesota.

Mar 5 - ltng
Lightning at about 8 a.m. Monday. Vaisala Corp.

The precipitation will transition to all wet snow for most of the state and then accumulate rapidly. The time of transition will vary considerably by location.

Winter storm warnings have been posted for a broad swath of Minnesota until 6 a.m. Tuesday. Winter weather advisories are in effect north, east and southwest of that area.

Major metro impact

In the Twin Cities area, snowfall is likely to become heavy quickly around 3 p.m. and then continue into this evening. The evening commute will be a crawl. Those that can get off the roads earlier would be well-advised to do so.

Snowfall rates in many area, especially central Minnesota including the Twin Cites, are likely to be around 1 inch per hour Monday afternoon and evening.

Tapering snow

This will be a slow-moving storm. Snowfall will taper gradually tonight and tomorrow and will end gradually from north to south tomorrow.

So how much snow will fall?

Snowfall forecasts are challenging in these mixed March storms, but here goes. I expect a total of at least 8 to 12 inches in portions of central Minnesota north of the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities area probably will pick up something around 5 to 8 inches. Lesser amounts will fall to the southwest and across northernmost Minnesota. Here is an outlook from the National Weather Service:

Mar 5 - mpx snow fcst
Snowfall outlook from the National Weather Service. Twin Cities National Weather Service

No arctic outbreak this time

Temperatures will not plummet behind this storm. Highs on Tuesday are likely to be in the low 30s for most of the state with decreasing winds. It will be a good day for snow removal.

In fact, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday look rather stress-free.

Mar 5 - Wed fcst map
Forecast surface weather map for Wednesday. NOAA Weather Prediction Center

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