Here we go again: Another April Minnesota snowstorm likely Easter Sunday

Forecast models suggest several inches for southeast Minnesota; Twin Cities rides the plowable edge?

Snow ruler
Snow drift in April 2018 blizzard. Image: Paul Huttner/MPR News
Huttner, Paul

Just when you thought it was safe.

Minnesota has endured two April blizzards the past two years.

This weekend brings another storm system. Plowable to heavy snow looks likely on Easter Sunday from southeast Minnesota into Wisconsin.

Let’s break down what we know today.

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The system

This slightly elongated low-pressure system winds up in Kansas early Sunday, then races for Lake Michigan by midnight Monday. That’s usually a good storm track for heavy snow in southeast Minnesota.

The Canadian model paints the heaviest snow zone across southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Twin Cities see some accumulation in this forecast scenario.

Canadian model Sunday
Canadian model Sunday
Environment Canada via tropical tidbits

American models?

The American GFS model is the southern outlier on the Friday morning, 12Z model runs. It keeps most of the snow just south of the Twin Cities Sunday. Honestly, I don’t like the looks of this GFS solution.

NOAA GFS model for 7 pm Sunday
NOAA GFS model forecast for 7 p.m. Sunday
NOAA via tropical tidbits

By contrast, NOAA’s NAM models keep the Twin Cities in the plowable snow zone.

European model: Plowable in Twin Cities?

This morning’s 12Z European model (ECMWF) run favors a more northerly storm track. That would put the Twin Cities in the plowable to heavy snow zone.

In this scenario, snowfall totals would range from a couple of inches in the northwest metro to more than 6 inches in the southeast Twin Cities. The heaviest snow zone would fall across southeast Minnesota into Wisconsin. A narrow band up to a foot (or more?) is possible in this scenario.

European model (ECMWF) snowfall output
European model (ECMWF) snowfall output by Monday
ECMWF via pivotal weather

We’ll watch for forecast model shifts into Saturday. As you can see on the maps, a shift of even 40 miles could produce very different snowfall scenarios in the Twin Cities area Sunday.

Stay tuned to Updraft.