Here comes our next potent wintry weather system.
March is determined to go out with a lion-like roar. We’ll see a mix of high winds, rain, ice, snow, and thunder in our inbound storm, with even a few severe storms possible in southeastern Minnesota.
Blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of southwestern Minnesota starting at 7 p.m. Friday evening. The combination of high winds to 50 mph and blowing snow will cause blizzard conditions Friday night into early Saturday.
301 PM CDT Thu Mar 30 2023
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM TO 7 PM CDT FRIDAY...
...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 7 PM FRIDAY TO 4 AM CDT SATURDAY...
* WHAT...For the Winter Weather Advisory, mixed precipitation expected. Total snow accumulations of up to one inch and ice accumulations up to a quarter inch. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph. For the Blizzard Warning, blizzard conditions expected. Additional snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph.
* WHERE...Portions of southwest Minnesota and east central South Dakota.
* WHEN...For the Winter Weather Advisory, from 1 AM to 7 PM CDT Friday. For the Blizzard Warning, from 7 PM Friday to 4 AM CDT Saturday.
* IMPACTS...Power outages and tree damage are possible due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.
A winter storm watch remains in effect for the Twin Cities and most of central Minnesota.
Grow the Future of Public Media
MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!
Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-Carver-Scott-Dakota-Le Sueur- Rice-Goodhue-Waseca-Steele- Including the cities of Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Chanhassen, Chaska, Victoria, Shakopee, Hastings, Le Sueur, Faribault, Red Wing, Waseca, and Owatonna
331 PM CDT Thu Mar 30 2023
...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY EVENING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING...
* WHAT...Heavy snow possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 7 inches possible. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph.
* WHERE...Portions of east central, south central and southeast Minnesota.
* WHEN...From Friday evening through Saturday morning.
* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN 331 PM CDT Thu Mar 30 2023
...COMPLEX PROLONGED WINTER STORM TO BRING MULTIPLE PRECIPITATION TYPES AND ASSOCIATED IMPACTS ACROSS CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN MINNESOTA THROUGH WESTERN WISCONSIN THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT...
.A complex storm system developing over the Rockies will shift east into the Central Plains tonight then gradually move into the Great Lakes Friday night. Precipitation will lift north this afternoon as snow but will transition to wintry mix with freezing rain for much of western and central Minnesota into northwest Wisconsin late this afternoon through tonight.
A light icing to a tenth of an inch of ice accretion is likely mainly north of a line from Redwood Falls to Buffalo MN to Rice Lake WI. Locally higher amounts, up to two tenths, are possible in east-central MN.
The precipitation will then gradually change over to snow Friday afternoon and evening, with snow heavy at times Friday night. Snowfall amounts may range as high as 5 to 9 inches in far western MN and in western WI, with snowfall totals of 4 to 8 inches in MN. In addition, strong winds will develop Friday afternoon which will persist through Friday night, potentially producing blizzard conditions over much of western MN and possibly into eastern MN.
There are still a few differences among forecast models for eventual snowfall totals, but that’s pretty typical going into these systems.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s NAM 3 km model seems to have the right general idea — two main precipitation waves with breaks in between. The first wave blows through overnight into early Friday. The second, more potent wave arrives late Friday afternoon and Friday night.
The heaviest burst of snow with this system arrives Friday night. Precipitation will be mainly rain from the Twin Cities southward Friday.
Rain will likely change to a burst of heavy wet snow with high winds Friday evening for the Twin Cities. It may snow hard for several hours Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday. The snow will end from west to east early Saturday morning.
Forecast models still show some wide variation in possible snowfall outcomes. So forecast confidence is not super high as of Thursday afternoon.
Forecast models are cranking out anywhere from 4 inches to more than a foot of snow around our region. Here's a good example of some extremes.
The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model drops around 5 inches across most of the Twin Cities, with some possible totals around a foot eastward into Wisconsin.
NOAA’s North American Mesoscale models crank out around 10 inches in central Minnesota and the Twin Cities, with totals over a foot not far south and east of the Twin Cities!
There’s still uncertainty about eventual snowfall totals. The system has low-end bust and high-end boom potential depending on how long the intense snowfall bands are able to linger around eastern Minnesota.
Stay tuned for possible forecast changes Friday before the snow flies for real.
Winds will ramp up Friday night with this storm. Wind gusts greater than 40 mph will blow snow sideways Friday night into early Saturday as the system’s pressure gradient reaches peak intensity.
We’ll even see a few strong-to-severe thunderstorms between the Twin Cities and Iowa.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center paints a marginal risk (category 1) for severe storms Friday including Rochester and Winona. A slight risk (category 2) zone includes Albert Lea and areas close to the Iowa border. A higher enhanced to moderate zone runs through Iowa southward along the Mississippi River Valley.
Stay tuned for likely upgrades to winter storm warnings early Friday for our region.