Mother Nature has been in a rare mood this week, giving consistent hints about her storm track and how much snow she could deliver to southern Minnesota on Saturday. In fact, we're talking about four or five days in a row without major changes to the forecast, which seems like a rarity these days.
Now the question is if the forecast will hold true when the snow is done falling.
How much can Minnesotans expect? The National Weather Service continues to forecast the highest amounts – 4-7 inches of fluffy snow – falling along the Minnesota River Valley in an area generally between Redwood Falls and Mankato, with up to 7 inches also possible south of Mankato along the Interstate 90 corridor.
The official forecast for the Twin Cities is 3-5 inches, though only 2-4 inches are predicted for northern suburbs.
Snow is expected to move into southwest Minnesota by 8 a.m. and work its way east, reaching the Twin Cities metro area by the early afternoon. The snow should be completely out of here by the time most people wake up Sunday morning.
Here's a look at the simulated future radar from the HRRR model, which shows the darker shades of blue (indicating heavier snow) in southern Minnesota.
Winds aren't going to be a major issue so blowing and drifting is not a huge concern with this storm, but the weather service does believe roads will become snow-covered, leading to some hazardous travel conditions. Here's a look at the winter storm severity index, which shows moderate travel issues in the Twin Cities and where the higher snow totals are forecast in southern Minnesota.
We've talked a lot about snow:liquid ratios this week, and the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service says its predictions are based mostly on a 15:1 ratio, meaning for every inch of liquid there could be 15 inches of snow.
This storm is not expected to dump an inch of liquid, but instead release somewhere between 0.20 inches and 0.50 inches, with the higher amounts (0.40 inches) along the Minnesota River Valley and in south-central Minnesota. Half an inch of liquid at a 15:1 ratio would put down 7.5 inches of snow, whereas half an inch of liquid at an 18:1 ratio would drop 9 inches.
Here's how much liquid the latest HRRR model is projecting, which if accurate, would put between 3-5 inches of snow most of the metro, just as the weather service is forecasting. Do the math for your area by multiplying the decimal numbers below by 15. (Example: 0.4 times 15 is 6 inches of snow.)