12/9/21: Incoming Winter Storm for Minneapolis/St. Paul

12/9/21: Incoming Winter Storm for Minneapolis/St. Paul

I’ve avoided sharing a forecast so far on this storm because it seems like every computer model run has been wildly different. Just a few days ago the American GFS was showing 7-9″ of snow while the European ECMWF was showing 1-3″ for Friday in the Twin Cities, and even this morning that rift was looking very similar.

Now, models seem to be coming back into alignment. The high-res NAM is bumping totals back into the 7-9″ range for Minneapolis/St. Paul, and the GFS is as well. We’ll see what tonight’s runs show us (especially the evening run of the European), but for now here’s what we know:

  1. Timing of snow looks to start around noon, or if dry air eats initial flakes could be pushed back closer to 1 p.m. or so.
  2. Either way, by 4 p.m. anywhere from 1-3″ of snow could be on the ground in Minneapolis.
  3. Heavier snow arrives between about 4-5 p.m. and sticks around for a while, pushing us up to those higher totals very quickly through the evening.

Here’s the latest high-res NAM forecasted snowfall totals:

The GFS shows some numbers similar to these, with around 8″ of snow in the Twin Cities.

A quick look at the future radar, at least for this current forecast, shows the front nose of this storm lifting/sliding north and northeast around noon, and that is when those first flakes could fly:

If we fast-forward to around 4 p.m., when that heavier band should be settling in, you can see much deeper shades of blue on the future radar over Hennepin County:

After that, the heaviest period of snow would come between about 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., when we could be seeing snow on the order 1″+ per hour (which is heavy, especially with brief periods closer to 2″/hour).

Snow gradually lightens up after that, and by 3 a.m. Saturday morning we’re just looking at some flurries remaining, if that. Then Saturday we’ll see sun return. By next Wednesday, in true global warming-era style, we could see temps pushing above 50 degrees, even with all of this snow on the ground, thanks to an extremely strong surge of warm air from the south. Stay tuned!

Published by Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer

Aaron graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, and worked as a meteorologist in television for 8 years (NBC affiliates in Wyoming and South Dakota, and the CBS/Fox affiliate in Cedar Rapids, IA, prior to working at the cable weather station WeatherNation). While in Iowa, Aaron worked as a storm chaser and on-air meteorologist, where he went on dozens of storm chases and saw a number of tornadoes.