More snow may arrive Oct. 24, but will it stay for the duration?
Record-setting snowfall for October continues with Thursday's winter storm and with more snow expected this coming weekend, but there is hope this will melt before the winter snowpack arrives and stays until spring.
If Merry Christmas is more in mind looking outside at snow-laden trees than happy Halloween, it’s no wonder.
And just in time for the start of new Hallmark Christmas movies this weekend. The winter storm warning in effect Thursday, Oct. 22, which included central Minnesota, was extended to 1 a.m. Friday.
“Right now we think another 1-3 inches for Brainerd for a total of around 5-7 inches,” stated Joe Moore, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth in an email regarding a storm update inquiry. “Light to moderate snowfall rates through the early evening, then off and on light snow possible overnight. Impacts ended up being a bit less than our original expectations partially due to snow melting as it fell on a lot of roadways.”
While the warmer temperatures and melting snow held back what could have been a crush of heavy, wet snow, there still is plenty on the ground. But there may be a glimmer of hope that the white stuff won’t stay around until spring, at least the current snowpack.
But it is not going away anytime soon.
October surprise - Snow fell across much of the state as winter arrives early
Moore stated it doesn’t seem as though there will be a significant warmup in the next two weeks or so. The outlook over six to 10 days shows a high probability for colder than normal temperatures. And the outlook over eight to 14 days has a 40% probability for colder than normal temperatures. While it feels like December, it’s good to remember the normal high temperature for this time of year is 53 degrees. Thursday’s high was 20 degrees colder, topping out at 33 degrees.
Going out a month, the outlook puts the Brainerd lakes area on the edge of the higher than normal temperatures expected across the rest of the country or an equal chance of normal, below normal or above normal that is indicated for northwest Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon, Washington state and the skinny part of Idaho.
“However, with temperatures expected to even-out to about normal or even nearly above normal for the month of November, we will likely see much of the snow melt during early to mid-November before we finally lock in the snow pack as colder temperatures arrive in late November into December,” Moore stated.
Hold on to your shovels. Winter storm warning in effect Oct. 22
So far two records were set with this October snow, with 6 inches of snow Tuesday on the ground breaking an 84-year-old record and after melting the snowpack a new record was set Wednesday for snow depth with 4 inches on the ground.
The snow started falling in the Brainerd area before 6 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, leaving a light coating on vehicles parked outside. The heavy, wet snow made for slushy roads as temperatures hovered around the freezing mark from midnight throughout the day Thursday and after the sun went down. Pine tree branches were still burdened with the heavy snow from Tuesday.
The weather service warned travelers to expect slippery road conditions and to have a winter survival kit in their vehicles with an extra flashlight, food and water, just in case of an emergency.
Ice and snow are creating treacherous driving conditions across portions of west central Minnesota. Check https://t.co/AOQI2lO7cB before you hit the road. Slow down, increase your following distance, turn your headlights on and your cruise control off. #DriveSmart pic.twitter.com/ydEjA5qw8Q
Ice and snow are creating treacherous driving conditions across portions of west central Minnesota. Check https://t.co/AOQI2lO7cB before you hit the road. Slow down, increase your following distance, turn your headlights on and your cruise control off. #DriveSmart pic.twitter.com/ydEjA5qw8Q— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) October 22, 2020
For anyone in the snowman making mode, the fresh snow was perfect for it. In the Twin Cities metro area, the storm brought thunder and lightning amid the snowfall.
Expect a host of new snow depth records after this week. With more than 6 inches of snow on the ground, the previous record holder for Oct. 22 snow depth was 2 inches set in 1987.
Friday should provide time to shovel the latest snow before record cold is possible starting Saturday morning and into Tuesday. The lakes area may drop down to temperatures in the teens Saturday morning and into the single digits Tuesday morning.
“With snow on the ground and a cold airmass in place, we’ll have potential for record lows, though to get there, we’ll need clear skies overnight,” the weather service reported.
Temperatures drop into the low teens next Tuesday morning. #mnwx #wiwx pic.twitter.com/Z1wigQsc7g
Temperatures drop into the low teens next Tuesday morning. #mnwx #wiwx pic.twitter.com/Z1wigQsc7g— NWS Duluth (@NWSduluth) October 23, 2020
The snow on the ground that didn’t melt Thursday should remain for awhile. The forecast for the week ahead has high temperatures in the upper 20s from Saturday through Tuesday before the thermometer is expected to rise to 35 degrees with partly sunny skies Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
Another round of snow this weekend
Additional snow is expected to arrive this weekend with amounts over 2 inches likely, the weather service reported.
“We'll get a break from wintry weather Friday and Saturday, but snow is back in the forecast for Saturday night into Sunday,” the National Weather Service reported. “Several inches of snow are again possible, with highest amounts expected in southwest Minnesota.”
Snow is forecast to begin falling Saturday night and taper off by Sunday afternoon. The heaviest snowfall is expected late Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Southern Cass County along with nearly all of Crow Wing and Aiktin counties and all of Wadena, Todd, Morrison and Mille Lacs counties have a moderate risk of being on the receiving end of 2 inches or more from the weekend snowfall. There is a slight risk for more than 2 inches in northern Cass County and the northeast corner of Crow Wing County as well as northwest corner of Aitkin County.
“For this weekend we're looking at some additional snowfall late Saturday into Sunday for the Brainerd lakes region, but right now odds are favoring toward fairly low amounts, perhaps around 1-3 inches,” Moore stated. “Central Minnesota will be on the northern edge of the snowfall, so while it's possible for a shift in the storm track to cause higher amounts, more likely than not snowfall amounts will be fairly light.”
To check the latest Minnesota road conditions, call 511 or go online to https://bit.ly/3mfdp5P .
Snowfall totals from Thursday
Snowfall reported totals were taken by late afternoon as snow continued to fall.
Gull Lake Dam — 1.2 inches
Brainerd — 4 inches.
Emily — 4 inches.
Motley — 4 inches.
Wadena — 4 inches.
Little Falls — 6 inches.
Verndale — 7 inches.
Source: National Weather Service.
Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchBizBuzz.