2/16/06 Midwest Snowstorm: WI/MI

Surprised there has been so little discussion about this. I'm looking at possibly 8-10 inches when all is said and done after Thursday, and my parents will be attempting to drive up on Friday for Family Weekend.

300 PM CST TUE FEB 14 2006



I haven't been as active following it because it now appears to track too far north of my area to give anything significant (ice).

Instead, T's hand around 35F with over an inch of rain, what a NASTY day. At least DTX and GRR mention the possibility of severe thunderstorms, in the form of a thunderless squall line. I'm really doubting it though, this is MI afterall, and it's mid-February.

Northwestern lower MI really looks like it get's hammered with snow ratios around 15 or even 20 to 1 and nearly an inch of QPF. In addition, that +1050MB high just to the northwest of the system will provide a very tight pressure gradient. I'm thinking it will be quite a blizzard up there. A bit further south, I expect a 50 mile wide band of significant icing, to the tune of +1.25 inches. That would be severely aggrevated by the +40MPH wind gusts that should move in after the accumulation is in place.

But nope, not me... I'll be sitting just above freezing with nasty ol' rain. Blah.
Well looking at things this evening I would say someone is going to get hammered. Gulf is opening with 50 degree dewpoints approaching Dallas and stratus beginning to stream northward through east Texas. Cold air, I would say is not a problem, temps already at midnight around -25 in central Manitoba and 17 below zero as far south as east central North Dakota with a 1056mb high progged into eastern Montana by events end. Sounding show decent capping inversion across would be warm sector so moisture should not get chocked off by T'storms. 00Z UA analysis shows 200m height falls in Medford which would indicate a sufficiently strong disturbance. Therefore, IMO, it comes down to track. Where will the 12"+ amounts end up? Models seem to indicate the highest QPF from NE Iowa to NE WI. However I would not be surprised to see a mesoscale band of 10"+ stretching back into NE Nebraska. I have not heard a lot of hype with this storm despite the fact that it seems to have the ear marking of a significant snow producer. Here in Omaha hopefully we will get a "Good dose of snow",to quote MSP, however much that is.
I haven't sat down to calculate it out recently, but previous runs looked like 20" or so from Lake Huron up to northern Maine once it gets that far. But when I was seeing that was a few days ago for this system.

Track and strength seem relatively on track though from run to run.

In the meantime, it's going to get darn cold up here. Looks like -30 to -35 in the Red River Valley of MN/ND on Friday Morning. Grand Forks, ND and Hallock, MN might have a lot of cars not starting in the morning.
This looks like one of the better systems to hit the Upper Midwest this season. NAM and GFS have a solid coupled jet, monster frontogenesis, fast vertical displacement of parcels, instability, lake enhancement... the whole nine yards plus one for the first down. Looks like portions of southern SD could get 6-12" with the higher amounts associated with mesoscale bands in the southeast and some upslope in the southwest. All the ingredients come together smartly over IA and WI. I would not be suprised to see some 3"/hr snow rates leading to some impressive totals. Lake enhancement in WI will also boost totals. The main caviat is the storm system appears that it will move at a good clip. I still suspect a narrow 12" snow band with some unlucky place in WI getting 18". Stiff winds on the back side will allow for significant blowing and drifting snow. Not quite a blizzard but nasty enough where some roads could be closed. The various DOT agencies have been alerted to the potential of this storm so they should be ready to rumble when it hits. Bitter cold in the wake of the storm as Andrew alluded to. Not pleasant when NAM MOS has your location at -27F and the NAM 2m temp is around -35F. The 1000-500 thickness 480 cold core of death is comming to Grand Forks. Severe SDS symptoms will develop in the Northland in the comming days. A look at the long range GFS suggests the bloody groundhog was right.
Just looked things over this morning and I must say it is a little disheartening for me hear in Omaha. Models definitely move this storm through at quite a clip and now target SE South Dakota for heavier snows. Surface maps show 50 dewpoints now as far north as SW Missouri and 60 Dewpoints along the gulf coast so moisture should not be a problem. Cold air ,well what can you say, single digits in parts of South Dakota and -20 in NE North Dakota. Upper air maps this morning show 170 meter height falls in NE Nevada and a closed 500 mb circulation over Northern Nevada. So it appears that the energy is coming out in more or less on piece. The interesting thing and only hope for Omaha is that the surface low this morning is farther south and east than last nights forecast position, now located between Enid and Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Still looks like all the ingredients are there for some 12"+ snows particularly over NE Iowa, extreme SE Minnesota and SW and central Wisconsin. Looks as if our dry winter may continue for yet another week here in Omaha. Models are now giving us a pithetic 2 or 3" just enough to make sure we can drop below zero over the weekend.
I think one of the biggest aspects of this system will be the icing in MI, just south of the snow area. The NAM predicts ZR for the entire period, with storm total QPFS of 1.00 inch to as much as 1.50 inches depending on the model and resolution. Once that accumulation is in place, snowfall of 1-2 inches should fall, leaving a thick coating on things.

Then, as the system deepens, winds gusting in the 40-50MPH should make things really ugly. That much ice with that much wind will definitely bring down alot of trees and powerlines.

Further north, the 06Z NAM algorithms painted nearly 20 inches of snow across a town named "Mancelona". Technically, I could head up there and ride it out, because that's where my aunt lives... But, with each run of the NAM getting stronger/warmer, I am beginning to think that they may see quite a bit of IP mixed in...

I really wish this thing could have been slightly weaker and about 50 miles further south, then I would already be in position for a big ice storm. I have a feeling I am too far north for any significant thunderstorm activity, but too far south for an real ice storm potential. Looks like another chilly rainy day... :x
RE: Feb. 16 Upper Midwest storm

A significant winter storm will affect much of the Upper-Midwest beginning this evening. The following are specific point forecasts followed by a meteorological discussion.

In East central IA:

Cedar Rapids:
Light snow will begin at 9 PM tonight and may change over to sleet for a period tomorrow morning. It will change back to all snow by noon and become heavy during the first part of the afternoon. It will taper back to light snow through 3 PM and end by 11 PM Thursday. Total snowfall: 3" at the Eastern Iowa Airport, and 5" in the northern portions of the city (Marion and Hiawatha).

Iowa City:
Light snow and sleet will begin at 7:30 PM tonight and will change over to sleet and freezing rain at 6 AM tomorrow. It will then change back to snow at 1 PM tomorrow. Snowfall will end around midnight and accumulate to 2", with ice accumulations to 0.1â€￾.

Mount Vernon/Lisbon:
Light snow will begin at 9 PM tonight and will change over to sleet and freezing rain tomorrow morning. It will change back to all snow by noon and become heavy during the afternoon. It will taper back to light snow through 4 PM and end by 11 PM Thursday. Total snowfall: 2.5â€￾.

Light snow and sleet will start at 5:30 PM tonight and will change over to freezing rain at 4 AM tomorrow. It will then change back to snow at 1 PM. Snowfall will end around midnight and accumulate to 1" or less, with ice accumulations of around 0.2â€￾.

Light snow will start at 8:30 PM tonight. Snowfall will become moderate to heavy between 10 AM and 2 PM tomorrow and taper to light snow in the afternoon. Precipitation will end by midnight tomorrow and accumulate to 4".

Snowfall will start at 10 PM tonight. It will become heavy between 9 AM and 2 PM tomorrow and will end at 10 PM tomorrow night. Total snowfall accumulation: 8".

Quad Cities:
Mixed winter precipitation will start at 8 PM tonight and will change over to freezing rain at 6 AM tomorrow. It will then change back to snow at 3 PM tomorrow. Precipitation will end around 1 AM Friday and accumulate to 2" of snow and 0.3â€￾ of ice.

Snowfall will start at 10 PM tonight and may change over to sleet for a few hours during the mid-morning hours on Thursday. It will change back to snow in the afternoon and become heavy at times before 5 PM. It will end by midnight with total snowfall accumulations of 5".

Throughout the Region:

Des Moines, IA:
Light snow will start at 8:30 PM tonight and become heavy between 8 AM and 1 PM tomorrow, and will end around 9 PM. Total snowfall accumulation: 6".

Rochester, MN:
Light snow will start at 8 PM tonight, become heavy during the day tomorrow, and will end around 11 PM tomorrow night. Total snowfall accumulation: 8".

Twin Cities:
Light snowfall will spread into the area from the south between 9 PM (south metro) and 10 PM (north metro) tonight, and will end at 9 PM tomorrow night. Total snowfall accumulation: 1-1/2" in the northern areas (Roseville, Brooklyn Center) and 3" in south (Bloomington and Eagan).

St. Cloud, MN:
Light snow will start tomorrow morning at 10 AM. Total accumulation of less than 1/2".

Eau Claire, WI:
Light snow starting at 10 PM tonight. Snowfall will become moderate to heavy for a period during the afternoon and evening hours before ending at 1 AM on Friday. Total accumulation of 5".

Madison, WI:
Snowfall will start at 10 PM tonight, and will end around 3 AM Friday. Total snowfall accumulation: 7".

Dynamic late-winter storm will affect the area over the next few days. Most areas will be affected by the classic one-two punch. The first comes in the form of impressive WAA coupled with insentropic upglide over the shallow cold airmass tonight as lead wave now lifting through KS approaches the area. This wave shows up well on WV imagery and UA analysis. Tomorrow, the moist conveyer belt will feed onto the TROWAL and deformation zone, which will affect regions from central IA through WI where the strongest mid-level QG-forcing lifts through this area. Models (NAM, GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET) have come to good agreement with regards to SFC features, QPF, frontal position aloft, and forcing. NGM is outlier to the NW and will be discounted. Tricky forecast with a shallow cold airmass in place over much of the FA, with SFC temperatures well below freezing in all areas. Soundings in areas S of H8 to H7 front support mix of FZRA, SLT, and GS.

- bill
Awesome discussion bill. I appreciate you including St. Cloud for me. :) Even though it is a pathetic half inch.

Winter sucks. Damn cold, no snow and worse yet... no tornadoes.
The 18Z NAM is about 25 miles further south/east. That could have significant implications as far as the icing is concerned.

High wind watches are being hoisted for wind gusts in excess of 60MPH, and if significant icing occurs - it will be a disaster. WRF models bring in nearly 0.75 inches of liqiud prior to 12Z tomorrow... Depending on how much of it melts off during THU will dictate how bad things will become once the wind picks up.

Further north, in northern lower MI, a full fledged "severe blizzard" appears likely.
Winter Storm Warning for my area, I hate the word
freezing rain in forecasts and discussions. I hope the
warm front moves further north than what is predicted,
NWS mentions a 1/4 of a inch of freezing rain is possible.

I'm afraid the fzra solution becomes more likely for most of OK, but whatever it is, we do need the wetness in central OK even if it's gonna melt later...:


Ensemble solution go for 1 to 2 inches altogether:

Forecast models continue to be too far NW with surface low. 18z Nam had 6PM surface low near Colorado Springs and verification indicates surface low closer to Trinidad CO. Cold air remains in place across the central and northern plains with 8 PM temperatures around -10 in northern Minnesota and North Dakota and below freezing as far south as the Kansas/Nebraska border. Moisture continues to stream north from the Gulf of Mexico with 50 dewpoints as far north as Saint Louis and low 60 dewpoints along the Gulf Coast . Satellite continues to show an impressive circulation now moving through central Utah and 00z 500mb chart continues to show a closed circulation, something the models have never maintained, and 100m height falls still in the base of the trough at Las Vegas.

Caught a glimpse of the 00z NAM and it has more than doubled our QPF here in Omaha verses what it had at 12z and 18z. Still looks tome that parts of east central and northeast Iowa and southwest Wisconsin will be crushed. Assuming 15:1 some locations could see as much as 18" with some 10" amounts as far west as west central or northwest Iowa. Only limiting factor, as far as snowfall is concerned, with this storm will be its speed.

Here in Omaha I am expecting between 3 and 4", and believe it or not that would be our biggest storm so far this season.
The first part of this storm is now hitting Madison and since 7 pm we have 3 inches of snow! The NWS says it will die out until late morning and then pick up fast with another 6-8 inches. That could put Madison over the 10" mark. I have a feeling that this storm has the potential to be one of the strongest to hit southern/central WI in quite some time. I have been watching the shortwave moving out of the rockies, and they are getting hammered tonight. When this thing taps that Gulf moisture tomorrow it is gonna be dumping! Of course that means I'll be shovelin'.
NWS APX mentions isolated locations seeing over 20 inches tomorrow/tomorrow night.

If that occurs, snow totals would likely hit 30 inches (8-10 inches fell last night as the first slug of WAA moved through)... Snow depth is currently 22 inches at my aunts house. If they get what they are supposed to, her snow depth will be 40-45 inches. That's alot, but being in the lake effect snowbelt - it definitely isn't record breaking.

For my area... Latest NAM shows a significant damaging synoptic wind event. Mixing layer gets as high as 850MB, which taps well into the +65KNT jet... CAA is incredible, pressure gradient force is also significant, and the pressure fall/rise couplet slides right over the area - peaking at an insane 14MB in 3 hours!! This is hands down the strongest looking potential wind event I have seen for my area. If this turns out to be correct, we'd be looking at a 3-4 hour period of +50MPH sustained winds with frequent gusts of 65-75MPH range.

I wouldn't be surprised if a few locations hit +80MPH based on the NAM, given previous wind events this past November with less favorable looking indicies.
Sitting here in in Milwaukee 'burbs with a thunderstorm and a sleet/snow mix falling. It was raining a little while ago, but temps must have cooled a tad.



A quarter inch of ice did all of that? Thousands of reports of downed tress, limbs, powerlines and poles as a result of 0.25 inches of ice?

Civil emergency has been declared for one county in central MI, most of the county is without power and 911 services are unavailable. Travel is discouraged.

I think those counties got more than a quarter inch... Looking at NEXRAD storm total estimates, 1.25 to 1.50 inches fell across those areas... Even cutting those values in half would still yeild up to 0.75 inches of ice. I'm thinking more along the lines of an inch, or slightly more. If they think it's bad now, just wait until the 40-50MPH wind gusts slam in, with temperatures plummeting.
Well the snow here was a non-event, about 1.5" here at my house. The cold did however come in as advertised. It is +1 here this morning with a windchill of -21. A far cry from the 66 we had on Tuesday.

I cannot believe the tennis balls that were reported in St. Louis yesterday. Wow!
Here in Princeton, MO (about 70 mi due south of Des Moines, IA) We recieved about 1/10 in of ice and trace snow, not much really. We always miss the good stuff! :cry: On an interesting note though, we did have a t-storm roll through yesterday at 6am when the temp was 28F outside :)
Here in the Quad Cities we missed out as usual.

We had a very brief period of unaccumulating wet snow Wednesday night. Then freezing drizzle fell for about 12 hours coating everything with a light glaze of ice.

Basically our storminess lasted about 45 minutes, as a band of heavy freezing rain blew through mid morning yesterday. For a brief time there was cloud to ground lightning, pea sized hail, heavy sleet, and heavy freezing rain all coming down at the same time. Visibility was very low. Quite interesting, but after that; just drizzle.