Paul Douglas On Weather
See more of the story

Storm Headlines:

  • Snow gets steadier and heavier as the afternoon goes on.
  • Heaviest snow predicted late afternoon into the evening hours, when snow may fall at the rate of 1-2" an hour, especially south metro.
  • Roads will become snow covered and increasingly slick as the day goes on. PM rush hour will be an acquired taste.
  • "Thunder-snow" is possible along the axis of heaviest snow over the far southern suburbs, implying snowfall rates of 2-4" an hour at times.
  • Most of the snow is over during the wee hours of the morning with slowly improving travel conditions on Saturday.
  • Far northern suburbs probably won't see much, maybe an inch or two as you head up to St. Cloud. I'm just the messenger.

Plowable Snow On Track. Latest ECMWF (European) guidance keeps the axis of heaviest snow just south of MSP, with some 8-13" amounts far southern suburbs. I'm going to be stubborn and hang in there with 4-8" immediate MSP metro (3-4" northern suburbs, closer to 8" southern suburbs) with 10-12" south of the Minnesota River. Nothing better than a sharp snowfall gradient hovering right over the Twin Cities.

High-Resolution NOAA NAM Model Solution. The 3km NAM model has the same general idea as ECMWF, with heaviest amounts predicted southern and eastern suburbs. I wouldn't be shocked to see some 12-15" amounts near Faribault and Northfield. Travel gets progressively worse the farther south/east you drive away from MSP later this afternoon.

WSSI: Moderate to Major Impacts. The Winter Storm Severity Index has shifted the "major impact" zone into the Twin Cities metro. The good news: I don't see blizzard conditions (winds won't be strong enough) but white-out conditions are expected by the evening hours.

National Weather Service Predictions. The Chanhassen office of the NWS is more aggressive with their snowfall predictions (which could still verify) showing 7-12" metro and even more south/east of MSP. With melting and compaction of snow likely I'm still thinking closer to 8" southern suburbs (north of I-494) but there's little doubt that some 10-12" amounts are possible, especially Lakeville and Eagan/Woodbury into west central Wisconsin.