Tracking snow systems Thursday and Friday

A significant winter storm looks likely for southeast Minnesota Friday. Twin Cities rides the edge of heavy snow?

NOAA GFS snowfall output by Saturday
NOAA GFS snowfall output by Saturday
NOAA via pivotal weather

We’re tracking two separate snow producers in the next 48 hours in Minnesota.

The first arrives Thursday. A minor low-pressure system will develop across eastern Minnesota Thursday. Snow showers could visit the Twin Cities, but the most consistent snow favors northeast Minnesota. Only a light dusting of snow is likely in the Twin Cities Thursday, but the North Shore region could pick up 3 to 6 inches.

Here’s NOAA’s GFS model snowfall output by late Thursday evening:

NOAA GFS snowfall output Thursday
NOAA GFS snowfall output Thursday
NOAA via pivotal weather

Highs Thursday will push 40 degrees in southwest Minnesota, with milder upper 30s in the Twin Cities and close to 30 degrees up north.

Forecast high temperatures Thursday
Forecast high temperatures Thursday
NOAA

Significant snow Friday

Friday’s system looks more potent for southeast Minnesota.

A classic panhandle hook-type winter storm will dip from Colorado into the Oklahoma panhandle, then hook northeast toward Chicago and Milwaukee Friday.

If this forecast track holds, it favors the heaviest snowfall band across northern Iowa and southeast Minnesota into central Wisconsin. NOAA’s GFS model currently tracks the low from Kansas City to Milwaukee with the heaviest snow bands Friday across southeast Minnesota and Wisconsin.

NOAA GFS model Friday
NOAA GFS model Friday
NOAA via tropical tidbits

The Twin Cities looks favorable to ride the northern edge of the heavier snow bands. But a minor shift north in storm track of even 30 miles would increase snowfall totals in the Twin Cities.

A winter storm watch is posted for southeast Minnesota including Austin, Albert Lea and Rochester. I have a hunch this watch zone may be nudged northward closer to the Twin Cities later today or Thursday.

Winter storm watch
Winter storm watch
NOAA

It should be noted that the snowfall gradient looks steep on the northwest side of the storm. The Twin Cities could be on the edge of a zone that rapidly goes from 1 or 2 inches to 6 inches.

NOAA’s GFS and other forecast models paint snowfall totals of 1 to 3 inches across the central and northern Twin Cities, with a quick ramp-up to more than 6 inches in the southeast Twin Cities.

NOAA GFS snowfall output by Saturday
NOAA GFS snowfall output by Saturday
NOAA via pivotal weather

Here’s the current Twin Cities NWS snowfall graphic:

Snowfall projection
Snowfall projection
Twin Cities National Weather Service

Stay tuned as we watch for any changes in possible storm track with forecast model runs tonight and Thursday.

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