Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Twin Cities, MN

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000
FXUS63 KMPX 061100
AFDMPX

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
500 AM CST SAT FEB 6 2016

.SHORT TERM...(TODAY AND TONIGHT)
ISSUED AT 500 AM CST SAT FEB 6 2016

THE FOCUS OF THIS FORECAST WAS THE INCREASING POTENTIAL FOR A
GROUND BLIZZARDS SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY. AS IS USUALLY
THE CASE...SEVERITY HINGES ON BOTH SNOWFALL AND THE SNOWPACK...BUT
CONFIDENCE IS INCREASING THAT IMPACTS WILL BE HIGH...IN THE FORM
OF CLOSED ROADS ACROSS MUCH OF WESTERN AND SOUTHERN MN. FOR THAT
REASON EXPANDED THE BLIZZARD WATCH A FEW COUNTIES EAST.

EARLY MORNING WATER VAPOR IMAGERY TOGETHER WITH GFS 500MB HEIGHTS
AND WINDS SHOWED LOW AMPLITUDE ZONAL FLOW UPSTREAM OF THE
MIDWEST THROUGH THE GULF OF ALASKA. WITHIN THIS PATTERN WAS A
POTENT PV ANOMALY ACROSS THE IDAHO PANHANDLE. OVER THE NEXT 24
HOURS...THIS OPEN WAVE WILL TAKE ON A NEGATIVE TILT AND BECOME A
CUTOFF UPPER LEVEL LOW. THE SURFACE REFLECTION WILL TRACK ALONG
THE INTERNATIONAL BORDER TOWARD NORTHERN MINNESOTA SETTING THE
STAGE FOR COLD AIR ADVECTION AND STRONG WINDS ACROSS THE RED RIVER
AND MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEYS. THESE TYPES OF SETUPS FAVOR BOUNDARY
LAYER MIXING...STRONG WINDS...AND BLIZZARD CONDITIONS DEPENDING ON
THE SNOWPACK.

THE DETERRENTS FOR ACHIEVING A HIGH END BLIZZARD WITH THIS EVENT
ARE FEW. FIRST OF ALL...THE WARM SECTOR AHEAD OF THE COLD FRONT
WILL RAISE TEMPS INTO THE MID 30S ACROSS THE REGION. THIS WILL
SLIGHTLY MODIFY THE SNOWPACK...BUT OFTEN THE DEGREE OF MELTING IS
OVER ESTIMATED. FOR EXAMPLE...JANUARY 29 2008 SURFACE TEMPS WARMED
NEAR 40 WITH DEWPOINTS IN THE MID 30S AND RAIN ACROSS SOUTHERN
MN...YET AFTER THE COLD FRONT MOVED THROUGH WITH 40-50 MPH WINDS
AND A BAND OF LIGHT SNOW DEVELOPED. ALBERT LEA WAS LESS THAN 1/4
MI FOR 7 CONSECUTIVE HOURS AND I-90 WAS CLOSED. JANUARY 25 2010
TEMPS STARTED IN THE MID 30S ACROSS IOWA...BUT WINDS INCREASED
CAUSING BLOWING SNOW AND WHITEOUT CONDITIONS...CLOSING MOST ROADS
ACROSS THE STATE.

ANOTHER LIMITING FACTOR IS THE FACT THAT COLD AIR ADVECTION IS NOT
AS STRONG AS IN OTHER CASES...AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT THE
FORECAST WINDS OF 50+ KTS OFF THE BUFKIT SOUNDINGS MAY NOT TRULY BE
REALIZED. ESPECIALLY EARLY ON IN THE EVENT WHEN THE HIGHER WINDS
ARE SOMEWHAT INFLATED BY THE INSTABILITY THAT DEVELOPS IN THE
SOUNDING. WITH THAT SAID...GUSTS OF 40+ KTS SEEM VERY REALISTIC...
AND THE DURATION IS ALSO CONCERNING. FOR THE REASON...EXPECTED THE
BLIZZARD WATCH EASTWARD AND EXTENDED THE TIME TO 18Z MONDAY. IN
REALITY...COULD SEE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ANOTHER TIER EASTWARD OF
COUNTIES...BUT WILL LET THE DAY SHIFT HANDLE THIS SINCE THE EVENT
IS STILL OVER A COUPLE DAYS OUT.

THE TAKEAWAY IS THIS...FORECAST SOUNDINGS SHOW THE BEST UTILITY
WHEN TRYING TO DIAGNOSE AND PREDICT A GROUND BLIZZARD. THE
SOUNDINGS OFF BOTH THE NAM AND GFS SHOW OVER 50+ KT GUSTS...BUT
THINK THAT A MORE REALISTIC VALUE WILL BE 40 TO 45 KT GUSTS. THIS
IS THE UPPER END WHEN COMPARED TO SOUNDINGS FROM PAST GROUND
BLIZZARDS. THERE SHOULD BE PLENTY OF FRESH SNOW FROM THE WINTER
STORM EARLIER THIS WEEK. ITS VERY UNLIKELY THAT THE SNOWPACK WILL
MELT ENOUGH TO SUSTAIN ITSELF WITH THESE EXPECTED WINDS...NOT TO
MENTION ADDITIONAL FALLING SNOW OF AN INCH OR TWO AS THE THERMAL
PROFILE SATURATES IN THE DENDRITIC GROWTH ZONE. IF THE NUMERICAL
MODELS REMAINS ON TRACK...A SIGNIFICANT GROUND BLIZZARD SHOULD
COME TO FRUITION SUNDAY INTO


.LONG TERM...(SUNDAY THROUGH FRIDAY)
ISSUED AT 500 AM CST SAT FEB 6 2016

THE PATTERN OF NW FLOW ALOFT WITH A TROF OVER THE ERN CONUS COAST
AND A RIDGE OVER THE WRN CONUS COAST WILL REMAIN STEADY THROUGHOUT
THE MIDDLE-TO-END OF NEXT WEEK. THIS WILL MITIGATE THE POTENTIAL
FOR ANY LARGE SYSTEMS TO MOVE THROUGH THE AREA...THUS A RATHER DRY
SEVERAL DAYS IS EXPECTED...ALONG WITH PROMOTING EFFECTIVE COLD AIR
ADVECTION OF ARCTIC AIR INTO THE REGION THROUGH AT LEAST THE END
OF THE WEEK. AT THE SFC...HIGH PRES WILL DROP IN FROM CENTRAL
CANADA TUE- THU...MAKING FOR GENERALLY COLD BUT PARTLY CLOUDY
CONDITIONS. A WEAK TROF OF LOW PRES...POTENTIALLY EVOLVING INTO A
CDFNT...WILL DROP THRU THE REGION THU NIGHT INTO FRI MRNG. THIS
LOOKS TO BE THE ONLY CHC FOR MEASURABLE PRECIP THROUGHOUT THE
EXTENDED PORTION OF THE FCST...AND CHCS ARE NO HIGHER THAN 20
PERCENT ATTM. TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN BELOW NORMAL
THROUGHOUT THE PERIOD WITH HIGHS IN THE TEENS TO LWR 20S AND LOWS
IN THE SINGLE DIGITS ABOVE AND BELOW ZERO.

&&

.AVIATION...(FOR THE 06Z TAFS THROUGH 06Z SATURDAY NIGHT)
ISSUED AT 1203 AM CST SAT FEB 6 2016

MVFR/IFR CIGS IN PLACE ACROSS MUCH OF THE REGION BUT CLEARING IS
ADVANCING EASTWARD ALONG THE MN RIVER AND ACROSS FAR WESTERN MN
LATE THIS EVENING. HOWEVER...FOG IS QUICKLY DEVELOPING FOLLOWING
THE CLEARING AND THUS EXPECT DENSE FOG FOR MOST OF THE NIGHT NEAR
KAXN UNTIL HIGH CLOUDS MOVE IN LATE. THIS MAY ALSO OCCUR AT
RWF...BUT WINDS ARE A BIT STRONGER AND COULD PREVENT VISIBILITY
FROM CRASHING AS FAR. THE CLEARING IS PUSHING EAST SLOW ENOUGH
THAT MVFR CIGS SHOULD PERSIST FOR THE NEXT 6-9 HOURS ACROSS THE
REST OF THE AREA.

KMSP...CIGS SHOULD HOVER AROUND FL012 FOR THE REST OF THE
NIGHT...EXCEPT FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF CLEARING MAY ALLOW VIS TO
DROP TO 4SM FOR A TIME EARLY OVERNIGHT.

/OUTLOOK FOR KMSP/
SUN...CHC MVFR/IFR/-SN. WIND SW 5-10 KTS...BCMG NW AT 20G35KT LATE.
MON...CHC MVFR/IFR/-SN. WINDY. BLSN POSSIBLE. WIND NW 20G35KT.
TUE...VFR. WIND NW 10 KTS.

&&

.MPX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
WI...NONE.
MN...BLIZZARD WATCH FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH LATE SUNDAY NIGHT FOR
     MNZ041-047-048-055.

     BLIZZARD WATCH FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY MORNING FOR
     MNZ054-056>058-064>067-073>076-082>084-091>093.

&&

$$

SHORT TERM...JRB
LONG TERM...JPC
AVIATION...BORGHOFF


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