Two storms combine for potentially hefty snowfall totals by Tuesday

More than a foot of snow looks quite possible for parts of Minnesota by Tuesday

Snowfall projection for Minnesota
Snowfall projection for Minnesota through 1 p.m. Friday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The weather maps are still on track to bring potentially hefty snow totals to much of Minnesota over the next four days. If the current suite of weather forecast models verifies, more than a foot of snow may pile up across a swath of Minnesota by Monday or Tuesday.

There are still likely storm, track and temperature profile changes ahead for Sunday’s system. It’s too early to pin down specific snowfall totals and locations with our second storm. But all signs point to a very wet and potent storm that could drop a foot of snow or more for parts of Minnesota.

Let’s break down the two storms in our current forecast.

System No. 1: Thursday night into Friday morning

Our first snow system is still on track to bring a shot of significant and plowable snow to much of Minnesota. The system is producing snow across the Dakotas and leaking into parts of Minnesota as of this post time.

The main snow wave pushes into western Minnesota through early evening. The snow looks likely ramp up in earnest for the Twin Cities area between about 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday night.

Forecast models generate the heaviest snow between about 11 p.m. Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday morning. There may still be some lighter snowfall around for rush hours Friday morning.

Here’s the latest 18Z NOAA NAM 3 km model snowfall coverage and timing. The loop below runs between 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday.

NOAA NAM 3 km model
North American Mesoscale 3 km model between 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, via Tropical Tidbits

Snowfall totals by Friday morning still favor a swath of 2 to 5 inches from western Minnesota through the Twin Cities. Local 6-inch snowfall totals are possible where micro-bands of heavier snow set up overnight.

Here’s another look at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s latest snowfall projection for Minnesota updated Thursday afternoon:

Snowfall projection for Minnesota
Snowfall projection for Minnesota

System No. 2: Sunday-Tuesday

The second storm on the weather maps still looks bigger, wetter and slower than our Thursday night clipper.

It’s been interesting to watch forecast model trends as they shift slightly. The trends from Thursday’s model runs still favor a shot of heavy snow on Sunday.

Some models like NOAA’s Global Forecast System are starting to keep the potential rain-snow line farther south of the Twin Cities for longer Sunday night before a possible change to rainy precipitation Monday.

If that trend pans out it would mean heavier snowfall totals around the Twin Cities.

Here’s NOAA’s GFS model from 12Z Thursday that came in around midday. Notice the transition zone to rain Monday around the Twin Cities while precipitation remains mostly snow to the north and west?

NOAA GFS model
Global Forecast System model between 7 a.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday
NOAA, via Tropical Tidbits

If this pans out, places that remain mostly snow north and west of the Twin Cities have the potential for more than a foot of snow by Tuesday.

It’s still three to four days out, so I won’t show models that will probably change right now. But many are cranking out (well) over a foot of snow for much of western and central Minnesota toward the North Shore by Tuesday.

If the Twin Cities remains mostly snow, we could get in on that higher snowfall potential.

NOAA currently lays out a big swath from the Dakotas into Minnesota including the Twin Cities with a better than 50 percent chance of at least 6 inches of snow in the 24 hours through 7 p.m. Sunday.

Probability of 6 inch or higher snowfall
Probability of 6-inch or higher snowfall in 24 hours by 7 p.m. Sunday

So enjoy our shot of snow tonight. Most of us will wake up to a fresh coating of white.

Then it’s all eyes on a potentially bigger wetter storm starting Sunday.

Stay tuned.

Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News