Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Snow Soon

It now appears highly likely that the first snowflakes of the season will fall sometime on Wednesday. A very unusual weather scenario for mid-October is beginning to take shape across the continent. A strong Arctic cold front is pushing south out of Canada, and some unseasonably cold air is behind it. As this front continues southward, it will help create a very large and intense low pressure system that will move northeast across the area tomorrow.

The first effects of this storm will begin tonight, as rain is expected to develop during the evening and continue overnight. As the system strengthens, winds will increase to 20-30 miles per hour tomorrow, with gusts up to 40 mph. The cold front is expected to be approaching the area by morning, and should move through during the day. Temperatures will begin to fall sharply as the front passes, with readings expected to drop from the 40s down into the 30s by late in the day. This will effectively change any precipitation to snow. A mix of rain and snow is forecast for much of the day Wednesday, with a changeover to all snow by Wednesday night. Exactly how much snow falls will be highly dependent on the amount of moisture still available when the changeover occurs. If there is enough moisture around yet, the snow could fall pretty fast. If moisture is limited, it may be no more than flurries. Nonetheless, the warm ground should prevent any accumulations. Isolated rain or snow showers could continue through Thursday night, with high temperatures struggling to reach the 40s.

Overall this will be a very sudden transition to more November-like conditions, and will be especially shocking after the mild conditions of the weekend. It could be much worse though--up to 8 inches of snow is expected in the arrowhead region of Minnesota.


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