Twin Cities edging toward a top 10 snowiest season

We'll likely reach it by this weekend if not sooner

Top 10 winter season snowfall for the Twin Cities
Top 10 winter season snowfall totals for the Twin Cities.
Minnesota State Climatology Office

The snowy hits just keep on coming.

Winter storm warnings and advisories
Winter storm warnings and advisories.
Twin Cities National Weather Service office

Our latest snow system is gently pushing snowfall totals higher in Minnesota. This system lacks the vigor of previous snow blitzes, but it’s gradually moving us up the ladder toward a likely top 10 snowiest season on record for the Twin Cities.

As of noon Thursday the Twin Cities National Weather Service office has recorded 75.7 inches of snow this season at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

That’s the 13th snowiest winter on record. But we’ve likely received enough additional snow Thursday afternoon to bump us to the 12th spot of 75.8 inches.

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Melty snow Thursday

Did you notice how the snow stuck to the snow cover in your yard but not the pavement Thursday? There are a couple of reasons for that.

  • The snow is more reflective than darker pavement (higher albedo)

  • Darker pavement absorbs more inbound solar radiation this time of year

  • That and treated roads cause the relatively light snow to melt easier

Weather observers use a white, usually plastic Boulay Board to measure snow more accurately. It was invented and refined here in Minnesota by Peter Boulay with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources State Climatology Office.

The board is cleared every few hours to minimize the effects of melting or compaction and to achieve more accurate readings that better reflect the snow that actually falls.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Snowy Thursday night

Light to moderate snow continues through Thursday night across most of central and southern Minnesota. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model shows the snow zone across our region between 6 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday.

High-Resolution Rapid Refresh model between 6 p.m. Thursday and 3 a.m. Friday
NOAA, via Tropical Tidbits

Here are some select early snowfall reports as of this post late Thursday afternoon, in inches:

  • Rochester, 1.5

  • Albert Lea, 2.5

  • Austin, 3

  • Oakland, Freeborn County, 3

You can see additional snowfall reports as they arrive Thursday evening.

Additional snow Saturday

If we don’t crack the top 10 snowfall ranking in the Twin Cities by early Friday, we’ll likely get there by late Saturday.

NOAA’s North American Mesoscale 3 km model paints the next snow zone working through Minnesota Saturday. The loop below runs between 6 a.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday.

NOAA NAM 3 km model 5
NOAA NAM 3 km model between 6 a.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday
NOAA, via Tropical Tidbits

Highs will remain in the 30s across most of western and southern Minnesota through this upcoming weekend, with 20s up north.