Twin Cities poised to get clobbered with snow

I haven’t seen this product anywhere, aside for the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minnesota. This might be because there is no Weather Service office I am so personally invested in as my local office. They have a winter weather page that they haven’t been able to break out very often this year, but with a deep, moisture rich system headed towards the Twin Cities, now is the time to explore all this page has to offer.

First a little background for the pending storm. The heaviest snow storms generally come from the south, where they can fetch the necessary moisture, deepen as the round their way out of a deep trough, and pull cold air towards it as the system moves to the north. The system, arriving tomorrow afternoon, will continue through the day Friday, and will bring a bunch of snow from Sioux City, Iowa to the Twin Cities. There is currently a blizzard watch from Sioux Land in South Dakota and Iowa to southwestern Minnesota, just outside the Twin Cities metro. Now, if only there was a more precise way to estimate how much snow that part of the world will get.

Check out these informative images from NWS Twin Cities at I don’t even need a caption for them because they are that comprehensive and informative! Check out the actual site, for a percentage break down of the chance for specific amounts of snow at specific locations.


The big chill

All this attention is paid to the warm temperatures during the day when the sun us out in the spring time. It reached 70 degrees in Lynchburg on Sunday and Monday. What folks failed to account for was temperatures dropping to the 30s at night. IT still gets chilly when there aren’t any clouds to trap the heat at night! These low temperatures drew the forecasts afoul. The National Weather Service and WeatherNation lead the way, but it wasn’t a very good performance.
Actuals: Sunday – High 70, Low 39
Monday – High 71, Low 35

Grade: C-D

Green Bay, Wisconsin to Bloomington, Indiana

Good evening! We have a road trip to take ahead of a pending snow storm in the Upper Midwest. Our drive will cover 445 miles, lasting a little longer than 7 hours. Fortunately, there will always be a spot to use the restroom, as we won’t be spending much time in the countryside. Our pace will be at 62.7 slowed by the suburban sprawl.,+WI/Bloomington,+IN/@41.823727,-89.9626835,7z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x8802e2e809b380f3:0x6370045214dcf571!2m2!1d-88.019826!2d44.519159!1m5!1m1!1s0x886c5df6b483d8e7:0xe91a912d8bad33d9!2m2!1d-86.5263857!2d39.165325

An area of low pressure over Hudson Bay has a potent, albeit mostly inactive cold front draped just to the south of Lake Superior, and through the day Wednesday, the boundary will get more active as a southerly flow off the Lake really gets going. A more organized area of low pressure off the Gulf Coast of Florida is staunching the flow of anymore moisture into the Mississippi Valley, and as a result, we will stay dry and sun-dazzled as we head into Bloomington.

Bloomington, Indiana

If there is one thing that the Midwest has in spades, it’s towns called “Bloomington”

At 1153PM, ET, Bloomington was reporting a temperature of 52 degrees with clear skies. The still warm temperature at this late hour reflects Bloomington’s position within the warm sector of the pertinent upper level ridge. A weak trough at the upper levels is creating enough instability to develop a closed low over the Lower Mississippi Valley. This duality has given the impression that the two features are connected, but through the day tomorrow, they will pull apart, right over Indiana. The NAM suggests they will completely dissociate tomorrow, however the GFS foresees some rain through much of the day in Bloomington.
The dual systems will continue to the east with a good degree of speed, thanks to the short wave nature of the upper level flow. The shower activity will be out of the area by the time midnight comes and Wednesday arrives. There will be another feature organizing in the High Plains, encouraging warm air to remain in the Midwest. Despite the passage of a cool front on Tuesday, don’t expect Wednesday to be significantly colder in Bloomington.
Tomorrow – Scattered showers, High 68, Low 50
Wednesday – Mostly sunny, High 69, Low 49

TWC: Tomorrow – Overcast. Slight chance of a rain shower. High 68, Low 53
Wednesday – reas of dense morning fog. A mix of clouds and sun early, then becoming cloudy later in the day. High 71, Low 50

AW: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy and warm with a shower High 67, Low 51
Wednesday – Patchy fog in the morning; otherwise, clouds moving away to leave sunshine High 69, Low 51

NWS: Tomorrow – A 40 percent chance of showers, mainly after 9am. Cloudy, High 66, Low 52
Wednesday – Widespread dense fog. Otherwise, partly sunny (very early rain) High 69, Low 50

WB: Tomorrow – Cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers. High 64, Low 52
Wednesday – Partly cloudy, High 68, Low 52

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with scattered showers, High 66, Low 52
Wednesday – Partly cloudy, High 70, Low 50

FIO: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy starting overnight. High 77, Low 52
Wednesday – Mostly cloudy starting overnight. High 71, Low 53

We caught Bloomington at a good time. That system later in the week could be a doozy. Look at the current satellite though. Look at that wall of clouds right through the center of the country. Weather is fun.

Blown away

I mentioned earlier in our forecast for Charlottesville that our forecast was significantly cooler than what had actually occurred. The Charlottesville and Hartford forecasts came out at similar times, and they were snakebitten by the same problems, though the forecast in Hartford had greater issues. Temperatures blew past the projected highs, touching 61 degrees on Sunday. Victoria-Weather, just as an example, only saw them up to 47. Yikes. Forecasts were not good. The closest anyone got to that high was within 9 degrees, which WeatherNation and eventual winner Accuweather could claim. But who in their right mind forecasts the low 60s in New England in February, anyway?
Actuals: Saturday – High 50, Low 19
Sunday – High 61, Low 30

Grade: C-D

Lynchburg, Virginia to Green Bay, Wisconsin

Another two day road trip for the forecast pool. This time, we are going back west, as we head for the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a two day trip between these two towns, covering  933 miles. Unlike the trip from earlier today, our second day will be the short one. Our first day will cover 508.9 miles at a pace of 63.6mph. Let’s see what life is like driving the other direction

DAY ONE (Monday)

This is going to be a nice start to our drive. High pressure is dominating the eastern third of the United States. It is solid, and unimpeachable. We will have no choice but to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine all the way to Greenfield, Indiana.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
The rest of the drive is going to be a little bit more challenging. The tail of a cold front appended to a broad swath of low pressure moving into Hudson Bay will stall right over Indiana. Rain will be heaviest right away, as we pass through Indianapolis, with lighter showers continuing to the south side of Chicago. Undoubtedly, this will slow us way down, but by the time we pass the formerly known as Sears Tower, we will be breaking out into some cooler sunshine. It won’t be nearly as warm as it was ahead of the front, but at least Green Bay will be dry upon our arrival.

Waco, Texas to Lynchburg, Virginia

Everything is telling me that we are planning a road trip at absolutely the right time, through absolutely the right territory. It’s been a warm February thus far, but part of that is owing to an active pattern, drawing warm air north. We’re going to take two days to drive from Texas to Virginia, covering 1248 miles. The first day will be the shorter day, of 8 hours, with the second lasting 10. We will average a pace of 68.5mph, with the 8 hour day accounting for 547.6 miles of our journey.

DAY ONE (Monday)

OK, so, immediately I can tell you I was wrong. We will not be departing for Lynchburg between systems, as an area of low pressure moving through the Dakotas will be dangling a cold front through the Plains, with the tail of this boundary slicing into Texas, drawing in moisture off the Gulf of Mexico and touching off heavy rain and embedded thunderstorms as early as midnight and continuing until sunrise when we depart Waco. The line of showers and storms will extend north to Kansas. The line of storms will move slower than we will, which means that as we continue eastward, we will eventually get out ahead of the line. Our trek through east Texas will be quite stormy, though. The best bet for breaching that line will be somewhere around Mount Pleasant, Texas, but there could be some showers east towards Texarkana. The good news is that the afternoon drive through Arkansas will bee dry as we arrive under high pressure. We’ll make it to sunny Memphis for our pit stop. Hopefully, we have a bit more good luck on Tuesday.

DAY TWO (Tuesday)
The area of low pressure in the Plains will move towards Hudson Bay, which will slow the cold front own. A secondary area of low pressure will develop at the tail of the front in the Gulf of Mexico, which will stem the flow of moisture into the southern United States. This is good news, because it means the drive through Tennessee and Virginia will be dry and mostly sunny. There might be some overcast overnight in Lynchburg, accompanied by some drizzle, but that’s not so bad. We’re going to be done driving, after all.

Exceeding expectations

We all knew ahead of time that the East Coast was in for a nice warm up. I can assure you that our group was not expecting that it would get quite so warm in Charlottesville. Indeed, temperatures were in the mid 60s on Friday, and then mid 70s on Saturday. That’s a great way to start a weekend. Unfortunately, that warm weather was accompanied by a spit of light rain. No forecast was great, but Accuweather was a bit better than The Weather Channel, and claimed victory.
Actuals: Friday – High 65, Low 29
Saturday – Trace of rain, High 73, Low 32

Grade: C-F

Lynchburg, Virginia

We are getting a heck of a backlog on the forecast verification department, because we are peeling forecasts off in a rapid fire manner. Let’s see what we can see out of Lynchburg.

At 354PM, ET, Lynchburg was reporting a temperature of 70 degrees with clear skies. Where there was a light west wind, there were a few clouds, but generally speaking, the state of Virginia was enjoying southerly flow and clear skies ahead of diminutive wave moving northeast from the Lower Mississippi Valley. Guidance suggests there should be more precipitation from Tennessee south to the Gulf Coast than is actually materializing, as weak upper level support charges quickly to the northeast. Instead, there are only a few light showers showing up in western North Carolina.
As this feature continues to march to the east, expect the northern half of the precipitation to be caught in the Smokey Mountains and rain out, while the southern portion of the energy will revitalize offshore upon encountering the tail of a cold front extending from Newfoundland. This boundary will usher activity out of the region quickly, with a sharp ridge of high pressure building for Sunday afternoon, and continuing through Monday.
Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy early, clearing, High 68, Low 47
Monday – Sunny, High 69, Low 41

TWC: Tomorrow – A mainly sunny sky. High 71, Low 48
Monday – Sunny. High 70, Low 42

AW: Tomorrow- Mostly sunny and pleasantly warm with the temperature approaching the record of 76 set in 1939 High 73, Low 45
Monday – Mostly sunny and remaining warm High 71, Low 43

NWS: Tomorrow – Partly sunny, then gradually becoming sunny, High 72, Low 46
Monday – Sunny, High 70, Low 41

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly sunny, High 70, Low 52
Monday – Sunny, High 69, Low 44

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly Sunny, High 72, Low 46
Monday – Mostly sunny, High 70, Low 41

FIO: Tomorrow – Partly cloudy in the morning. High 73, Low 48
Monday – Partly cloudy starting in the afternoon. High 72, Low 48

Obviously, this one is going to come down to temperatures. The deciding factor will likely be those clouds tomorrow morning. Will they keep it even warmer than expected? Will they keep high temperatures at bay? Only one way to find out. Satellite shows that tumult to the west that is going to be falling apart quickly.

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