MORC Trail Conditions report very icy conditions at various trailheads across the Twin Cities. Nearly an inch of precipitation followed by a 25 degree temperature drop has turned the trails into an ice rink. In addition, 50 mile per hour winds have likely downed trees and branches along the singletrack.
This year is officially the wettest on record in the Twin Cities. The Christmas Day storm topped off the yearly precipitation to 40.32 inches. The wettest month this year was August.
New Year Storm
What the trails need is a good blanket of fresh snow. A storm Monday-Tuesday of next week may bring that potential. Depending on the exact storm track the area may see significant rain or heavy snow. A colder, snowier solution is favored at the moment.
Our 6" snow depth may be reduced to 2 inches of slush as heavy rain falls this holiday weekend. A powerful storm draws up warm air and plain rain into the Midwest with blizzard conditions on the backside of the storm over the Dakotas.
GFS model forecast (above) Sunday-Monday showing potent surface low tracking through the Dakotas. This storm track west of the Twin Cities results in primarily rain. Colder conditions return behind the departing storm on Monday.
An icy mix will likely develop Christmas morning before changing over to all rain. From the National Weather Service Twin Cities regarding rainfall:
Generally 0.75-1.00" [of rain] expected by Monday. We do not expect to see significant flooding issues from this and sub-freezing temperatures quickly coming in Sunday night into Monday, any water should begin to freeze up which would cause issues on any untreated surfaces.
While very little if any snow will accumulate in the Twin Cities during the event, the rainfall could be one for the record books.
The historical probability of a white Christmas in the Twin Cities is 74 percent. Believe it or not, the last Christmas with snow on the ground was 2013!
Current Snow Depth
Congratulations! You survived one of the coldest days of winter. The temperature on Sunday officially bottomed out at minus 20 degrees with a wind chill of 27 below zero. Lucky for us the temperature looks to stay above zero this week. More of a westerly flow of mild Pacific air streams across the country helping to ease the cold into Christmas.
A quick-hitting snow can be expected on Wednesday. Less than one inch in the Twin Cities with higher totals (1"-2") north of I-94. Just enough to freshen up the packed singletrack.
Fortunately the arctic chill breaks next week. Partial melting of the snow crystals will promote better bonding and better fatbike conditions. Also starting December 21 (winter solstice) the length of daylight starts to increase!
The snow on the singletrack is here to stay with an extended period of well below normal temperatures. This extreme cold, however, will make it tough to keep the fingers and toes warm on that fatbike ride. We battle the numbing cold through next Monday. Wind chill values Thursday morning could be -20 to -30 degrees F. Even colder air arrives this weekend with wind chill values Sunday morning a frightful -45F!
There is a growing potential for more snow Friday through Saturday. Rochester, Albert Lea, and spots south of the Twin Cities have a greater chance of 6 inches or more. Either way, Twin Cities singletrack will see accumulating snow, enough to freshen up the snowpack before the weekend!
This has been the coldest air since last February. An even bigger arctic blast arrives next week. Tuesday will be the coldest with lows well below zero. For reference the coldest reading ever in Minneapolis/St.Paul in December was -39F in 1879. Could be worse!
A quick-hitting snow Saturday will leave 1-2 inches across the area with higher amounts farther south of the Minnesota River Valley.
The most snow that ever fell during the month of December was 33.6" in 2010. Remember that? The Twin Cities typically get 3" snowfalls once every month from November through March.
An extended period of below normal temperatures can be expected through late December. The singletrack will stay frozen solid. No temperatures above freezing through Christmas.
We're due for this cold. The average first date for a 0°F temperature is the 8th of December.
Brace yourself for the cold that is about to come. On Tuesday the temperature will be steadily dropping with highs likely being reached in the early morning. This cold air originates north of the Arctic Circle and will be modifying as it drifts south into the Twin Cities. At least the air temperatures will be staying above zero degree Fahrenheit!
December 2 is the average date for the first high temperature in the teens. Last year the first teen high was on January 10th. The extended long range outlook indicates an extended period of below freezing conditions. With the freeze/thaw cycles ending the trails conditions will greatly improve and be more conducive for riding. The air temperature will struggle to get back above freezing through mid-December.
Little in the way of snow will fall this week. Light snow will develop Wednesday night with a better chance of accumulation this weekend.
A Wet Year
MORC trails have gotten a good soaking this year. So far 2016 is the 3rd wettest year on record for Minnesota.
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