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Spectacular start this week; major storm potential by week's end

Season's first significant snow possible for northwest Minnesota.

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It’s a Jekyll and Hyde weather week ahead for Minnesota. I just can’t remember which one was Minnesota nice. 

Classic October

We open the week with classic October weather. Sunshine and highs in the 60s Monday make for one of the first days this fall. 

Milder air blows in on gusty southerly breezes Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures push toward the 70-degree mark in the Twin Cities and much of Minnesota Tuesday and Wednesday.

High temperature forecast Tuesday
High temperature forecast Tuesday
NOAA

Late-week temperature crash

This week’s temperature chart for Minnesota looks like the 1929 stock market crash.

Temperature forecast for Minneapolis
Temperature forecast for Minneapolis
NOAA via Weather Bell

I have high confidence in a dramatic temperature swing late this week. The season’s coldest air so far plunges in behind our developing late-week storm. 

The chances for our first freeze in the Twin Cities look real for Saturday morning. That’s pretty close to the 30-year average first-32-degree date of Oct. 10.

There are signs temperatures will moderate again into the 60s by around Oct. 18-19.

Now, the storm

You’ve probably already seen some wild clickbait snowfall total postings on twitter. A few key items to keep in mind.

  1. It’s Monday. The storm is still three to five days away.

  2. Storms tracks, temperature profile, and possible snowfall totals are still highly uncertain this far out.

  3. This is the first winter with NOAA’s upgraded GFS model. One early bias report is the GFS is too cold. Right now the GFS is the high-end outlier for snowfall totals across Minnesota and in the Twin Cities.

Here’s what we can say is likely at this point.

  • A powerful storm will wind up into the Upper Midwest Friday and Saturday.

  • There will be a huge temperature contrast between the warm (east) and cold (west) sides of the storm.

  • The best chance for significant snow at this early stage favors the Red River Valley and northwest Minnesota from Bemidji to Lake of the Woods.

  • Storm track, temperature profile, and snowfall distribution are still highly uncertain, especially for the Twin Cities.

Right now the GFS suggests a light snowfall for the Twin Cities Friday into Saturday. The Canadian model suggests maybe a little slush on grassy surfaces. And the European model suggests mostly rain.

Stay tuned, This is going to be an interesting system to watch unfold.

Humorous depiction of a snow event in Minnesota
A humorous depiction of a past snow event in Minnesota
Twin Cities National Weather Service modified by @TimPostmanPost