Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Winter Laughs Last, Again, In Midwest and Plains

The Midwest finally got a chance to warm up and enjoy some brief flirtations with late spring and early summer weather. Minneapolis cracked 80 degrees on Sunday, less than a week after it snowed. Temperatures in La Crosse, Wisconsin got into the middle 80's yesterday, with the Twin Cities getting into the 70's for five consecutive days.

While there hasn't been consistent, persistent spring weather in the Upper Midwest, they have had some level of it just recently...and it was the first taste of such weather for them this year.

That said, the party had to end, didn't it?  A cold front sliced through Minneapolis yesterday morning and is now positioned across Wisconsin and Iowa, where it will stall out.  Temperatures behind the front are running twenty or more degrees colder than they were 24 hours ago, an indication that reality is about to bite, hard, again.

This front develops a couple of low pressure centers, one of which tracks northeast along the front, with the other to develop and spin across the Midwest for a few days as the cutoff low that late last week was modeled to park itself over the Southeast.  Instead of bringing rain to us, it's bringing rain and snow to the Midwest and Plains.  It's snowing now in Nebraska and this shield of snow will gradually take over a larger chunk of the Midwest as colder air drains in on the back side of the cold front.  This will result in another snowy scenario for Omaha, Western Iowa, Southeast Minnesota.  As of now, Minneapolis is on the northwest fringes of this snow shield, with the eastern and southern suburbs of the Twin Cities in line for a relatively rare May snowfall.  Rains that are falling in Minneapolis now will transition over to snow as the day progresses, with several inches of snow likely.  And, yes, Winter Storm Warnings are out for the Twin Cities.

Modeling shows the potential for six plus inches of snow just south of the Twin Cities, with the aggressive NAM showing the potential for perhaps more than this.  The National Weather Service is suggesting six to nine inches will fall in the Twin Cities from this, which would make this the latest six inch snowfall on record and the largest May snowfall on record and a monthly record (three inches is the monthly record).

The last time it snowed even a trace in May in Minneapolis was 2011.  The last accumulating snow in Minneapolis was in 1991 (0.3").

And, oh, lest we forget, the possibility of snow in Texas by day's end.  Amarillo, in the northern part of the the state, was 97 degrees yesterday.  As of 5 AM eastern time this morning, it was still in the 60's there.  By day's end today, mid 30's are expected with rain, sleet, and snow modeled to fall.  They *could* get a coating, perhaps an inch of snow there with whatever falls tonight.