Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Twin Cities, MN

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044
FXUS63 KMPX 160503
AFDMPX

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
1103 PM CST Fri Dec 15 2017

.UPDATE...
Issued at 1034 PM CST Fri Dec 15 2017

Updated to include 06z aviation discussion below.

&&

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Saturday)
Issued at 301 PM CST Fri Dec 15 2017

Today and tonights forecast is pretty straight forward but there`s
some uncertainty on when exactly the snow will start and when it
will end. Regardless it does appear like most locations,
especially along and north of I-94, will get light snow this
evening and overnight so increased pops in this area. This system
is pretty weak and quick-moving so dont anticipate any areas
receiving more than about 2 to 3 inches. Saturday will be
seasonably mild with cloudy skies and light winds.

The main driver for the snow that is expected to move across the
region is the isentropic lift associated with the low level
Theta_E advection. The wind is pretty uniform across the
isotherms, so there is not much Fgen meaning this should be a more
wide-spread light snow event vs a concentrated narrow have band
that accompanies strong Fgen. Forecast soundings seem to echo this
as well with a broad area of weak omega that saturates the column
and leads to several hours of light snow. The 15.12 ECMWF with
its broad area of light QPF paints this picture nicely.

There is already plenty of low level moisture in place as evident
by the widespread stratus, and a few locations have been
reporting light snow all morning across western MN. It stands to
reason that light snow should develop rather quickly once the
better forcing with the isentropic lift moves across the region.
For that reason, sped up the timing of pops this afternoon and
increased them later this evening. Ended up decreasing snowfall
amounts a little bit, but still have higher confidence that light
snow will indeed fall over the next 12 hours, just not as much.

.LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Friday)
Issued at 301 PM CST Fri Dec 15 2017

Sunday will be dry and mild with most locations seeing highs in
the lower 30s. Another clipper system will bring snow across
northern MN/WI on Monday but most of this will miss the forecast
area. The relatively warm weather will continue Tuesday into
Wednesday as well as zonal flow continues across the region. Snow
should develop to the north Wednesday night and there is a chance
it could spread southward across the region on Thursday and
Thursday night. The Thursday system has lower confidence, but this
storm has been trending drier and weaker so at this point is
appears that a winter storm is unlikely for the latter part of
next week.

A positively tilted trough will crawl down the west coast on
Wednesday, while a northern stream jet strengthens as it crosses
an upper level ridge over British Columbia. The GFS/ECMWF have
been stronger with this jet and this end up forming a cutoff low
across the Baja. Meanwhile the northern stream continues in a
progressive positively tilted upper level wave over the central
Conus which is not favorable for cyclone development. The 15.00
ECMWF brought an area of vorticity across the Midwest which did
produce a snowstorm, but the GFS 15.12 resembles a more realistic
scenario with a cold front and some light snow moving though the
region followed by cold air for the weekend. The ECMWF 15.12 has
backed off slightly as well, but still brings a few inches of snow
across the southern half of Minnesota and most of Wisconsin, so
continued with 40-50 pops.

&&

.AVIATION...(For the 06Z TAFS through 06Z Saturday night)
Issued at 1034 PM CST Fri Dec 15 2017

The fairly wide band of light-moderate snow has shown signs of
shrinking through the evening hours as it as been sliding
southeast across MN and WI. This trend is expected to slowly
continue through the early morning hours but the most persistent
-SN will occur mainly over the WI TAF sites. Ceilings will
 generally run in the MVFR range for all terminals, with KAXN most
 susceptible to IFR ceiling into the early morning hours.
 Visibilities will generally run in the VFR range but isolated
 heavier bursts of snow may well produce brief bouts of IFR
 visibility. Once the main swath of snow diminishes during the
 early morning hours, scattered flurries and snow showers will
 persist mainly over the eastern MN and western WI through
 daybreak.

KMSP...Steady -SN has shifted east of MSP in the last couple hours
with only flurries and/or snow showers expected through daybreak.
Ceilings are expected to drop back into MVFR range during the
pre-dawn hours and remain in MVFR range through tomorrow evening.
A period of ceilings sub-1700ft may potentially develop during
the evening push tomorrow but isn`t expected to be long-lasting.

/OUTLOOK FOR KMSP/
Sun...Mainly VFR. Chc morning MVFR. Wind variable 5 kts or less.
Mon...VFR. Wind SW 10 kts.
Tue...VFR. Wind NW 10-15 kts.

&&

.MPX WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
WI...None.
MN...None.
&&

$$

UPDATE...JPC
SHORT TERM...jrb
LONG TERM...JRB
AVIATION...JPC



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