Weather whiplash ahead: From an ice storm to 70 degrees in 4 days?

Winter storm warnings are posted. Temperatures may hit 70 degrees by Tuesday

Potential ice accumulation
Potential ice accumulation
Twin Cities National Weather Service

The calendar says April. That usually means we’re due for one more shot of wintry weather in Minnesota.

Winter storm warnings are flying for western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas. And flood warnings look like an art project around the Red River Valley.

Warnings and advisories
Warnings and advisories
Grand Forks, N.D., Natinoal Weather Service

Let’s break down this system into the dominant precipitation types across the region.

Snow

Precipitation will predominantly fall as ice and snow across northwest Minnesota and the Red River Valley. There may also be some icing here, and that means a potentially nasty combination on the roads. A band of 4 to 7 inches looks likely by Friday midday across northwest Minnesota.

Snow and ice accumulations
Snow and ice accumulations
Grand Forks NWS

Ice

The lowest mile of the atmosphere looks primed for freezing rain in much of western and northern Minnesota. That could mean a quarter-inch of ice on roads, driveways, sidewalks, trees and power lines.

Potential ice accumulation
Potential ice accumulation
Twin Cities National Weather Service

Throw in winds gusting to 30-plus mph and we could see power outages in western Minnesota by Friday morning as ice-laden trees and power lines snap.

Rain, then a wintry mix

Rain will be the predominant precipitation type in eastern Minnesota including the Twin Cities. The bulk of the rain falls Thursday night. Rain likely changes to ice and snow Friday morning from west to east.

NOAA GFS model Wednesday night through Friday
NOAA GFS model Wednesday night through Friday
NOAA via tropical tidbits

We could get an icy glaze and snowy coating again, but temperatures will be above freezing Friday afternoon.

Temperatures critical

What determines who gets rain, ice or snow? Temperatures in the lowest mile of the atmosphere are the deciding factor. Here’s a great way to visualize different precipitation types based on temperature.

Feb 19 - FZRA forms (NWS)
Development of frozen and liquid precipitation types. National Weather Service
NOAA

Springy by Monday

The mildest air so far this year pushes into Minnesota early next week. We may also see a few April showers.

Temperature forecast for Twin Cities area
Temperature forecast for Twin Cities area
NOAA via Weather Bell

I won’t be shocked to see 70 degrees across southwestern Minnesota Tuesday, maybe even in the southwest Twin Cities.

Expect to see a wave of green shoots emerging in the landscape next week.

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