singletrack snow totals Tuesday
This was a tough snowfall forecast. Drier air aloft led to a later snow start and lower snowfall rates than expected reduced totals in the north metro. Still (as expected) Murphy-Hanrehan and Lebanon Hills made out big with a half a foot of snow.
Seasonably cold to ring in 2016. Not a snow storm in sight as quiet weather prevails into next week. We still have some catching up to do. Twin Cities now 6.6 inches below normal with season snowfall.
A major snowstorm for the Midwest through Tuesday.
The same storm that brought deadly severe weather to the southern U.S. over the weekend will dump a foot of snow across parts of the Midwest through Wednesday.
Plowable and Packable 2WheelWeather snow projections are 6"-8" for the metro. Murphy-Hanrehan, Lebanon may see amounts over 8". Elm Creek close to 6". While good snow for fatbike singletrack trails, major highways and interstates could be treacherous with drifting snow into Wednesday.
Run-to-run agreement in the computer models is one (out of many) ingredients for an accurate snowfall forecast. This storm has been particularly challenging since various models project a wide range of accumulations. The latest guidance has decreased amounts. The NAM model solution (above) hints at 6.5" for MSP...we think this is a pretty good bet.
Take Home Message: This will be our biggest snow event this season. Enough to bring out the big grooming guns on the singletrack. Expect lowers amounts NW of the metro, while areas southeast of the Twin Cities will be right on the edge of almost 10 inches. Fatbike lovers, we are making up for lost time in the snow with this storm.
Get ready fatbikers. A "packable" snow on the way this weekend. Snow begins Friday night and continues into Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, 4"-6" of new snow could blanket the singletrack. Colder conditions (below freezing) will keep the ground frozen through New Year's Eve. Happy holidays and happy riding!
A Colorado low sweeps across the Midwest on Saturday, spreading snow from Rapid City, SD into the Twin Cities. If this storm track verifies, it could be our highest snowfall event yet this season.
Notice that the highest probability of 2 inches of snow or more is across southern Minnesota. Holiday travel along the I-90 corridor could be slick and snow covered, especially early Saturday morning. The probability of a "plowable" snow is even less north of I-94. Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike trails may miss this snow event, whereas the MORC trails win out. Both receive cold enough air to keep the ground frozen through the extended forecast.
The National Weather Service Twin Cities forecast shows as much as 4"-6" of snow across the metro Saturday.
Holiday Weekend Weather
Slim chance of having a white Christmas this year. The (mild) storms that will cross the area between now and next week will walk the thin line of either rain or snow. Bears some watching. Any one of these storms next week could produce a swath of snow somewhere across the Midwest.
While a bare ground on Christmas day isn't terribly unusual (our last "brown" Christmas was last year) the probability of no snow cover decreases the further into winter. Early February is typically the time we have our deepest snow pack.
Look for trail openings in early January as the freeze/thaw cycle finally breaks. Certainly cold enough for snow around the first of the year.
According to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index (AWSSI) much of Minnesota has experienced a "mild" winter so far. I think we can all agree on that. This index takes into account "the intensity and persistence of cold weather, the frequency and amount of snow, and the amount and persistence of snow on the ground."
No surprise that with the constant freeze/thaw this season many metro lakes are not yet frozen. The term "ice in" is defined as being "the date when the entire lake is frozen over for the first time and the ice cover endures for the remainder of the winter." Lake Calhoun typically freezes over on December 10. The latest ice in date in December 31, 2001. Interesting to see how late the ice in date will be this season.
Thunder in December? It is rare, but it happened this past Wednesday. Only two other time has the Twin Cities experienced thunder in December.
The jet stream manages to keep the arctic air well north of Minnesota through next week. Above normal temperatures and a benign weather pattern could mean very little snow on the ground come Christmas day.
Once again another near-miss snow event for the Twin Cities metro. Colder air does spill south of the international border late this week. Nothing arctic, but the heavier winter coat will suffice. The cold air will moderate by early next week when temperatures climb above freezing once again.
A wavy upper level pattern temporarily allows colder air to infiltrate Minnesota from Canada. Come the weekend, however, the pattern begins to "flatten" out...more of a straight west to east flow resulting in more Pacific (milder) air to flow into the Midwest.
"So far temperatures for the month of December are averaging 8 to 16 degrees F warmer than normal for most communities across the state." according to MN State Climatologist, Mark Seeley. In fact, September 1 through December 10th was the warmest such period on record for the state. Latest model trends continue to hint at an unusually warm January for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and New England.
Snow is covering the landscape across mostly northern Minnesota. A storm early next week (around Monday) shows more promise to bring the metro a measurable snow. Stay tuned.
A late start to a snowy winter, yes. But as we all know it only takes one storm to dump a season's worth in one day. This year patience is a virtue for fatbikes looking for snow. Bet on several rain events this weekend as temperatures hover above freezing. Looking at Tuesday night into Wednesday to be our next solid chance of accumulating flakes.
Snow melt (orange) has been dramatic across Minnesota. Temperatures 10+ degrees above normal and a few rain events have all but depleted our snowpack.
GFS computer model continues to show a storm Tuesday-Wednesday with the potential for accumulating snow. Rain may begin initially, with a change to snow late. The rain will cut down on snowfall amounts significantly. Maybe an inch or two of slush?
No two winters are alike. Same can be said of El Ninos. But the overall weather pattern looks to change up late next week. Cold enough air for snow returns as early as Wednesday of next week.
More rain than snow expected in the metro this weekend. Minor snow accumulations possible early next week. A return of colder (yet near normal) air late next week with the hopes of an extended freeze to firm up the mountain bike trails.
Minneapolis/St. Paul is reporting no snow on the ground. We've tallied 5.2" of snow so far this season, compared to 9.5" last year at this time.
True, we are currently experiencing a strong El Nino in the equatorial Pacific that does impact seasonable weather in the Midwest, especially during winter. "There have only been two very strong El Niño events since 1950 (1982-83 and 1997-1998). Both had Meteorological Winters (December-February) that were in the top 6 warmest on record for the Twin Cities for 120 years of record (1895-2014)." according to the MN State Climatologist Office.
An El Nino winter in the Midwest is generally characterised by a polar jet that is further north and a Pacific jet stream over the southern U.S. (a pattern that we have seen as of late). Sure we will get our cold spells, but they are likely to be less frequent.
Conditions look to chill out this weekend, but no arctic air in sight just yet. A storm will brew up this weekend and depending on the storm track and depth of the cold air, we might be able to get a little snow.
NOAA and the National Weather Service (NWS) began producing probabilistic snowfall forecasts...a good page to bookmark to keep abreast of any potential snowfall events in the Twin Cities. "The web page shows not only our official forecast (most likely), but also low and high end possibilities based on an ensemble of 63 different model forecasts." says NWS.
Saturday-Sunday will be the next opportunity for any accumulating snow in Minnesota. Until then, check out the 20 Most Popular Fatbike Trails (many listed in Minnesota & Wisconsin!).
We are technically in meteorological winter, but it feels more like March. With a constant flow from the Pacific Ocean and a jet stream that continuously pushes storms well north into Canada, Minnesota is experiencing a winter on hold.
Even with an unusually warm outlook, we can still expect the coldest day of the year to fall somewhere in mid-January. The coldest times of the year often lag behind the shortest days. This is because the land and lakes retain some of the sun's energy, releasing it slowly over time. In other words, the land and lakes (and therefore the atmosphere) take longer to respond to the decrease in sunlight that we see around the winter solstice (med-December).
Sprinkles on Saturday will be about the only precipitation we will see over the next 7 days. Could cool down in 2 weeks, but no big snowstorms brewing just yet.
Hope you were able to get on some fresh fatbike snow earlier this week. The 5+" snowfall we received will likely turn to slush by the end of the week as warmer air (potentially in the 40s!) returns to the metro. That familiar freeze/thaw cycle will be in full effect across our area trails this week.
The remainder of this week remains eerily quiet. A big bubble of high pressure will steer any potential snowstorms far from Minnesota. Again, the freeze/thaw will likely confine any riding to the early morning or late evening hours.
Could be a tough year for any extended snow cover. The long-range outlook indicates that above normal temperatures are expected throughout the month of December.
Summer brings warm afternoons perfect for biking, but the summer heat and humidity can also spark thunderstorms and severe weather. Be prepared for any type of adverse weather headed your way with Aeris Pulse.
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story