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As temperatures rose into the 30s on Saturday, so too did the energy available in the atmosphere for more intense weather to start up. Unfortunately for many, this will manifest as a winter storm on Monday.
An area of low pressure over the northern rocky mountains is slowly moving towards the Midwest. Simultaneously, warmer temps and more humidity are working their way into the area from the southwest. One these two ingredients meet, they will quickly develop into a winter storm right over us. Given that the system looks to only form right before it moves into Iowa and Minnesota, there remain some uncertainties as of Saturday night.
Here is what we do know...
- This system will move into parts of Iowa late Sunday, and could impact folks along and near the MN-IA border as early as midnight Sunday.
- The system will move out Monday evening.
- Warm air on the front side of the storm will likely make for some ice / freezing rain on Monday morning. If this plays out over large areas, expect significant travel impacts for the Monday morning commute.
- Abundant moisture with this storm will allow for multiple inches of snow to accumulate in some areas.
- While there will be rather strong winds - mostly on the back end of this storm - the total impact from winds looks to be low-moderate.
Here is what we don't yet know...
- The exact track of the storms low pressure center. Because the system will only be getting its act together as it moves in, the exact center of where the storm sets up is highly variable. As winter storms mature they grow larger, so too does their low pressure center, something that makes the storms much easier to forecast once they have reached this phase.
- The placement of the rain/snow line. The location of where the storm's center sets up will play into where the snow/rain line sits. There will be rain in sectors of this storm, and snow in others. If the center moves further north or south than expected, that could mean the difference between a couple of inches of snow and a couple hours of rain / freezing rain.
- Snow totals. Because of all these factors, we don't yet have a great precise estimate as to where this snow will fall and how much we could see. As of Saturday night, 1-4" across the area looks likely, with a greater chance for higher amounts towards Wisconsin.
The good news is that an entire new suite of computer models and data will be made available for this storm come late Sunday morning. We will know more about this storm at this time.
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