Midweek storm to likely bring wind + rain

- Now that we are heading into the middle part of November, snow should be on our minds.  As temperatures continue to tumble into the cold season, it becomes increasingly likely that snow will fly across the region.  Even this week last year, a similar storm as the one we are expecting Wednesday brought as much as 16 inches of the white stuff to northern parts of the metro and sections of central Minnesota.  Well not this time.  Temperatures are likely going to be too warm for any significant snows.  In fact, a lot of us may get through this upcoming midweek storm without a flake.  This is because the storm will be unable to tap into any truly cold air, which is ultimately what you need for snows to fly.  But that doesn’t mean that we will stay dry.  This system will have plenty of moisture and could easily lead to a band of 1”+ rainfall totals from Wednesday into early Thursday… but it all has to do with location, location, location.  There is still some uncertainty on the track of this storm which has a big impact on where the heaviest precipitation ends up.  Check out the location of the low pressures from 3 different models AND their corresponding heavy rain accumulation areas…

You will notice that there is very little difference in the overall track of the lows.  They travel from southwest to northeast from Wednesday into Thursday.  But the exact locations make a world of difference.  For example, the first 2 models place the lows near Omaha Wednesday and then up into northern Wisconsin Thursday.  This drops the heavy rain band from northwest Iowa through southern and eastern Minnesota, including the metro, and then into western Wisconsin.  You can see I circled those areas in red.  But the third model places the low slightly further south toward Kansas City on Wednesday and has it in the U.P. of Michigan on Thursday.  This not only means its further south, but its traveling faster leaving less time for the storm to dump rain over one area.  That’s why the heavy rain band is further southeast and the heftier totals are spread over a wider area.  So why will this be rain and not snow?

Well, the cold air is actually removed a bit from this storm.  Notice the relatively warm looking colors in the image below…

This shows the potential forecast position of the low and temperatures for Wednesday afternoon.  The red line shows the approximate location of the transition zone from rain into a rain/snow mix.  Wednesday afternoon, it would likely be in and around the border with the Dakotas.  But as the low shifts northeast, so does the colder air…

Thursday morning that rain/snow transition line is somewhere around the 35 corridor.  BUT by that time, the low is far to our east and pushing away.  This would mean that precipitation is either winding down quickly OR is already over for much of the area.  This will limit any snow that happens to fall across the area.  With the Lake Superior region the closest to the departing low early Thursday, they are likely the best candidates for a little snow accumulation before the storms wraps up late in the day.

Regardless with what happens with the location of the precipitation and what type falls, it WILL be windy from Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, especially in southern Minnesota.  Check out the SUSTAINED wind speeds for a few times from Thursday morning through Friday afternoon…