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A taste of winter by the weekend?

1.49″ of rain so far the first 4 days of October. By tonight many towns will have picked up another 1-2″ of rain.
By Paul Douglas

Deer Minnesota, get ready to see some s-s-s-now! Thanks for Lynn Seime who snapped this picture in the Black Hills of South Dakota Monday morning. By Sunday the first accumulating snow of the winter season will have piled up across portions of Minnesota (probably NOT the greater St. Cloud area).

1.49″ of rain so far the first 4 days of October. By tonight many towns will have picked up another 1-2″ of rain.

Cold enough for snow by Friday, but moisture will be limited – best chance of seeing the first flurries of the season: next Monday.

Potential for a freakishly early accumulation of wet snow next Monday-Tuesday across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois – best chance from Quad Cities to Rockford and Chicago area!

O.K. Let me get this straight – a week ago it was 73 degrees. In less than 72 hours it will chilly enough aloft for wet snow? True. But moisture will be limited, a surge of dry, chilled, Canadian air overwhelming any moisture, flurries probably confined to far northern counties over the weekend. By late Sunday and Monday the models are hinting at a wave of low pressure, even a weak storm forming to our south, capable of spreading a shield of wet, sloppy snow across eastern Iowa into far southeastern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin. Take deep breaths – try not to panic (yet). Right now I do NOT think accumulating snow will pile up here in St. Cloud or the Twin Cities. The best chance (and it’s still just a chance at this point) would be far south/east, closer to Rochester, Winona and Lake City. But it’s still early, and the forecast will almost certainly change/morph/mutate in the coming days. Man, it’s way too early to be talking about snow. Even if it does snow ground temperatures are still relatively mild, most of the snow would probably – PROBABLY melt on contact, but I can’t rule out some slush to our south and east. Frankly, this looks like a potential snow-STORM for eastern Iowa into northern Illinois, maybe even a few inches for Rockford and Chicago! I know, boggles the mind huh? More evidence that we truly do live in the Super Bowl of Weather.

By the way, we normally see our first flurries by the first or second week of October. The first accumulating snow, an inch or more, is quite rare before November 10 or so. Rare, but hardly unprecedented. Frankly, the weather maps from the end of this week through the middle of next week look more like early November than early October. Yes, we’re making up for a September that was 5-7 degrees warmer than average for most of Minnesota – the weather pendulum now swinging in the other direction. No rest for the weather-weary. Hey, this is Mother Nature’s way of keeping it interesting!

Visions of November. GFS Model valid 7 am Monday morning. This graphic shows accumulated rain (and snow) between 7 pm Sunday night and 7 am Monday morning. The solid yellow 540 line marks the approximate rain-snow line, running from near Chicago southwest to St. Louis and Tulsa. Although there may be enough cold air aloft, a layer of warmer air below 4,000 feet could ultimately mean a rain-snow mix for portions of Iowa and Wisconsin. Right now it appears that MOST of the moisture will slide off just south/east of Minnesota. That said – it’s still very, very early…

No need to water the lawn anytime soon. Here is the 84 hour “NAM” model prediction for Minnesota and western Wisconsin, showing the heaviest bands of rain setting up over central Minnesota. The dark purple regions from the Twin Cities westward to Willmar and Morris are expecting 1.5″+ rainfall amounts. By Wednesday many towns in central and east central Minnesota will have picked up 3-5″ of rain in just the last week! Rain will fall heavily at times today, the heaviest amounts during the morning and midday hours. The sky should be drying out a bit in time for the drive home later today, but I don’t expect any peeks of sun until Wednesday.

Paul’s Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: A cold, steady rain, heavy at times. Leave extra time to get around – commute times will be slower due to standing water on many highways. Winds: N 10-15. High: 48

Tonight: Rain tapers to sprinkles, clouds linger. Low: 40

Wednesday: Partly sunny, temperatures closer to average. High: 58

Thursday: Cloudy, chance of rain by afternoon. High: 55

Friday: Mix of clouds and sun, windy and cool. High: near 50

Saturday: Intervals of sun, chilling breeze (flurries far northern MN). High: 49

Sunday: Sunny start, clouds increase. High: 47

Monday: Lot’s of clouds – November-like, chance of a few flurries can’t be ruled out. High: 43

Tuesday: Better, more sun, not as cold. High: near 50