Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Twin Cities, MN
FXUS63 KMPX 161753
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
1153 AM CST Mon Jan 16 2017
.UPDATE...Updated for the 18z Aviation discussion below.
.SHORT TERM...(Today and tonight)
Issued at 407 AM CST Mon Jan 16 2017
Wintry precipitation is sneaking northward toward south central
and southeastern Minnesota early this morning. The precipitation
shield will continue to expand northward today as the surface low
lifts toward southern Lake Michigan. A marked increase in
precipitation will occur between 21z and 03z as the coupled jet
structure (and attendant layer differential divergence) shifts
over the area. The precipitation gradient looks to be tight, and
likely to intersect the Twin Cities, given QPF differences ranging
from a couple hundredths in the northwest to a couple tenths in
the southeast (which makes a big difference in impact when we`re
talking wintry precip). Thermal profiles point toward
predominately freezing precip in our forecast area with a little
snow mixing in at times (especially during the evening). Given the
potential for icing, have inched the advisory a little farther
north to include Eau Claire (Interstate 94 in WI) and Red Wing,
but not the Twin Cities. Most locations in the advisory area can
expected around 1 inch of snow in addition to ice accumulations
ranging from a few hundredths to around one tenth inch along
Interstate 90 (Albert Lea).
Temperatures remain mild with highs right around the freezing mark
and lows tonight ranging from around 10 degrees in the northwest
near Alexandria, to the mid 20s in the southeast near Albert Lea
and Eau Claire.
.LONG TERM...(Tuesday through Sunday)
Issued at 407 AM CST Mon Jan 16 2017
Big story for the extended is the prolonged thaw and well above
normal temperatures we are still anticipating through next
The reason for the dramatic turn toward warmer weather is the very
blocky pattern models are in good agreement in developing. By
Thursday, a strong blocking high will have developed over Hudson Bay.
At the same time, anomalously low heights centered over Alaska will
build down the west coast of North America. The will result in very
mild air spreading across pretty much all of North America east of
the Rockies. In terms of h85 temp anomalies, we`ll see our warmest
air in the Wednesday through Friday time frame. The two days we
have potential to significantly overachieve with temperatures will be
Wednesday and Thursday, as we will not be stuck under stratus and
low level winds will be out of a favorable SW wind direction for
warming. By Friday, as the western NOAM trough continues to push
east, this will push the warmest air to our northeast. In addition,
Friday we will see deep southeasterly flow develop from the surface
up to the jet level. This will signal the return of low stratus and
precip chances. Still have high confidence in widespread highs
Wednesday through Saturday getting into the 40s. Beside highs
getting above freezing, we likely see lows for a lot of places
remain above freezing Thursday through Saturday as well, so it will
be a legit thaw. As for records, record highs this week are up
around 50, so seeing record highs seems unlikely at this point,
though we could certainly get up within 5 degrees a couple of days.
What is more likely to fall next week are record warm minimums.
So when does this mild pattern break? Looking at GEFS h5 height
anomalies, the blocking ridge over Hudson Bay will be remaining in
place through the end of next week, so although we don`t look to be
as far above normal next week as we will be this week, this warm
pattern looks to stick with us until the final week of January.
There`s a good chance this warm stretch will keep the current run of
above normal temperature months in the Twin Cities, which currently
sits at 16, in place.
As for precip, though there is good agreement on the large scale
trough/ridge setup from west to east across North America, models
continue to struggle with how energy coming out of the mid Miss.
Valley will work up here at the end of the week into the weekend. It
looks like our fist surge of moisture will arrive Fri night/Sat,
with another quickly on its heels for Sun night/Mon. The first looks
to be a primarily rain event, with wave two being more of a rain
to snow scenario.
.AVIATION...(For the 18Z TAFS through 18Z Tuesday afternoon)
Issued at 1152 AM CST Mon Jan 16 2017
Low MVFR/IFR ceilings have spread quickly northward into central
and east central MN this morning. They have been handled well by
the RAP 0.5km CPD`s, which indicates saturation at KRNH and KEAU
early this afternoon. KAXN remains on the northern edge through
the TAF cycle. The low ceilings are here for the duration of the
cycle as well. As for precipitation, -FZRA in northern IA will
continue to move slowly northward this afternoon with the leading
edge reaching a line from KRWF through the southern Twin Cities
to KEAU by this evening. The -FZRA will last for a few hours,
then change to PL and SN in the 02z-05z period before diminishing
as SN in the 05z-08z period. Light and variable winds this
afternoon and tonight becoming NW 4-7 knots on Tuesday.
KMSP...The main concern ahead is when the -FZRA to our south will
reach over the airfield. Consensus of the short term guidance
indicates pretty high probability for -FZRA in the 00z-04z period
with an accumulation of 0.03 inches. After 04z, the northern edge
of the precipitation shield begins to drift south of the airfield
while changing to PL and SN. At this point minimal accumulation is
expected (a tenth of an inch or less). Another concern late in the
night is the loss of ice aloft while low level saturation
continues. Profile data for KMSP shows potential for -FZDZ in the
08z-12z period and a PROB group was included.
/OUTLOOK FOR KMSP/
Tue pm...MVFR possible early then clearing. Winds NW bcmg W 5-10
Wed...VFR. Winds SW 5-10 kts.
Thu...VFR. Winds S 5-10 kts.
Fri...VFR. Slight chance of MVFR and -RA. Winds southeast around 5
WI...Winter Weather Advisory until 6 AM CST Tuesday for WIZ023>028.
MN...Winter Weather Advisory until 6 AM CST Tuesday for MNZ063-069-
Winter Weather Advisory until 6 AM CST Tuesday for MNZ082>085-