Friday, April 3, 2009

Skunked again ... or not?

It looks like we will have reaped two inches, maybe three, out of two storms which dump a foot over the northern half and southern fringe of Minnesota. Stuck in the middle. Again. I'm not bitter, as we had a decent snow season, and it's not like we really need one day of mediocre skiing in April. It's just that, gosh, I like snow.

Tomorrow's storm offers a faint glimmer of home on two scales. On a large scale, we've seen the models move storms north over the last few hours. It happened, big-time, last week. (Sunday the folks in Elk River were talking about grooming; Tuesday they had white grass.) And this time, the NAM pushed snow north. Then south. So, is it to be trusted? Nah.

Then there's the GFS. It's been rather steady; according to the latest AFD, it's been the model of choice. And through it's 12z run, it's put the heaviest band of snow through about Albert Lea. So we'll see if the 18z run looks any better.

For pure speculation, let's look at the ARW forecast. It's a finer-scale forecast and only goes to 48 hours, but look:It, uh, shows us as having more than 0.5 inches of QPF (4-8 inches of snow) halfway through the storm. Okay, that's getting interesting. It had the snow band south in its 00z run, and then jumped 100 miles north for the 06z and 12z. That is interesting.

Now, the 18z GFS is just coming out. And......everything is shifted north. In one run, everything is up 75 miles. The Cities are not in the bullseye, but all of a sudden this is a "plowable storm" if not more. Take a look at the same time period, one run earlier:

There are a few contours of note. The 0.25 QPF contour (dark green) has moved north from about Rush City to Cloquet. The 0.5 contour (dark blue) went from Hastings to Hinckley. The 1.0 inch contour moved a bit less, but still went from Albert Lea to Northfield. This would put down a foot of snow from I-90 to Northfield, and 6-12 inches for the Metro. It might just be a stronger or differently-shaped storm (the southern contours changed less). Time, I guess will tell.

The snow, should it come, would not be necessary. It would make the trails muddier and wetter for some time. And it might give us a day or two of skiing. I'd be downright enthralled if it were December. For now, I'll just keep a close eye on the models as they roll through.

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