Winter storm watch Friday includes the Twin Cities

Rain, ice, snow, thunder for Minnesota Thursday and Friday

Winter storm watch
Winter storm watch and advisories
Twin Cities National Weather Service office

The weather maps are determined to remind us it’s still March in Minnesota.

Our next inbound storm system will bring a mixed bag of weather that includes rain, ice, snow, and even thunderstorms.

A winter storm watch goes into effect Friday for a big chunk of central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area.

Including the cities of Elk River, Cambridge, Center City, Monticello, Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Chanhassen, Chaska, Victoria, Shakopee, Hastings, Le Sueur, Faribault, and Red Wing

337 PM CDT Wed Mar 29 2023


* WHAT...Heavy snow possible along with blowing and drifting snow. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 6 inches possible. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.

* WHERE...Portions of central, east central, south central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN...From Friday evening through Saturday morning.

* IMPACTS...Plan on slippery road conditions. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.

Rain to snow

This is another system that will come in at least two waves of precipitation.

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The first wave arrives Thursday. It may begin as a mix of light ice and snow. Then as milder air pushes north, expect precipitation to change to all rain from about the Twin Cities southward Thursday afternoon through most of Friday.

As colder air works into the backside of the system Friday night, a changeover to all snow is likely.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Global Forecast System model is similar to most models that follow that mixed precipitation trend. Note the likely shot of heavy snow Friday night into Saturday morning.

NOAA GFS model Thursday and Friday
Global Forecast System model between 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Saturday
NOAA, via Tropical Tidbits

It needs to be said that there is still quite a bit of forecast model uncertainty on precise precipitation coverage, type, and timing. I expect changes on the forecast model runs tonight and Thursday.

Snowfall totals

This is another system that’s presenting a wide range of possible snowfall outcomes. There is still much lower confidence with this storm than the storms we had back in December and January that came in very close to the forecast.

I do think the trend of laying out the heaviest snowfall north of the Twin Cities is the most likely outcome. The eventual amount of snowfall in the Twin Cities presents lower confidence.

Since we are still 48 hours away from most of the accumulating snow in much of Minnesota the Twin Cities, I take these snowfall projections with a big pile of salt right now. But the potential for a burst of heavy wet snow and wind is definitely there for Friday night into early Saturday morning.

Call this a first draft for snowfall potential across central and southern Minnesota.

Snowfall projection
Snowfall projection

Here’s a wider look at the early snowfall potential for the state of Minnesota:

Snowfall projection for Minnesota 2
Snowfall projection for Minnesota

Severe risk

The one new feature of our late March storms? Warmer air on the southern end and a severe risk for southern Minnesota Friday.

Stay tuned as we see how the next 24 hours of forecast model runs hopefully reach a tighter consensus on storm dynamics and potential snowfall totals.