"You can't stop what's coming," said the old man to Tommy Lee Jones' character at the end of No Country For Old Men. Such words ring true when talking about the weather, and so it goes for the next big storm system that will undoubtedly pack a punch when it churns through the middle of the country next week.
According to the National Weather Service, a strong system will likely impact the Upper Midwest Tuesday-Thursday. It's still too early to make assumptions about rain and/or snow totals, but "heavy precipitation" is expected, according to the NWS.
"The location of the heaviest precipitation and precipitation type remains uncertain," the NWS Twin Cities advises, adding this in its forecast discussion:
"Either way, a significant storm system will move over the plains next week with several [models] indicating large amounts of [precipitation] across the Upper Midwest. The exact location will be dependent on the surface features, and the speed of the system. As per precipitation type, it still looks likely that the onset will have a mixture of sleet/rain/snow or freezing rain, especially across the northern [forecast area covered by the NWS Twin Cities]. Once the storm system begins to taper much colder air on Wednesday/Wednesday night will the precipitation change over to all snow from west to east."
That basically says there could be a blend of rain and sleet starting Tuesday before temps drop and precipitation changes to snow at some point on Wednesday.
The NWS Duluth says plowable snow will be possible for parts of northern Minnesota, but they don't know when and where the greatest snow and ice accumulation will be.
An interesting nugget in the forecast discussion from the NWS Duluth is that it says the storm system "looks to be quite anomalous when compared to previous climate data," with the "current projected strength for this time in March" happening "once every 10 years."
So yeah, this could be a doozy if things stay on track.
There's really no point in showing maps of potential snow outcomes yet because the snowy part of the system is still five days out (Wednesday), but there is reason to show off how much precipitation the models are suggesting could be associated with this system.
The American, European and Canadian models all show significant precipitation. How much of it comes in the form of rain, sleet and snow is yet to be determined.
We'll see what happens, but for now just keep checking our Weather MN page. We'll have meteorologist Sven Sundgaard tracking this system as it approaches, so expected details to come into focus over the next several days.