Northland Snowstorm Thoughts

By KBJR News 1

Northland Snowstorm Thoughts

February 28, 2012 Updated Feb 28, 2012 at 10:23 PM CDT

A winter weather storm for the second time this week is visiting the Northland region but promises more snow accumulation than our first go round this past Sunday.

This system "spun up" out on the leeward side of the Colorado Rockies just less than 24 hours ago. This low pressure system thus is distinguished as a "Colorado Low" because it forms on the eastern side of the Rockies. The shape of low pressure systems have the textbook characteristic of a comma shape pattern with the center low being below the curvature of the top portion of the comma.
This low pressure storm differs from the one that came through our region on Sunday due to where they originated from. Sunday's storm was called an Alberta Clipper, a namesake to the famous Clipper ships of nautical namesake for their ability to move very quickly. In the case of the weather system though, these "clippers" move quickly through our region from Alberta, Canada but come through with one wallop worth of energy and precipitation.
This Colorado low is utilizing a very warm, moist air source from the Gulf of Mexico and a jet stream with strong upper level winds. These strong upper level winds are providing a lifting and also a pushing mechanism as the low continues to spin and reap the energy of the surrounding layers of the atmosphere and global circulation of air on its adventure through the Northern Plains.

As of 8pm tonight, this low was sitting out in Nebraska but it is moving briskly toward the Northland region as the evening draws to a close. Already much of central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin are already receiving snow and wintry mix. The Twin Ports are scheduled to start witnessing snow and precipitation at 10pm and should be graced by this wintry phenomenon till midday tomorrow for most of the region. Due to the increased warm, moisture content of the air, this system is very likely to exhibit thundersnow! Thundersnow sounds just like it is a weather event that includes falling precipitation in the form of snow but containing the characteristic of a thunderstorm. Here in the Northland, we get our fair share of these events but never in great numbers. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and you might just get luck to experience the wonder of thundersnow!

Here at the weather station at Northland's NewsCenter we are forecasting additional snowfall to hit the north shore, Twin Ports and parts of Northern Wisconsin with lake enhanced snow from the wrap around winds and moisture from the low pressure system. The low with all of its precipitation should leave the Northland completely by Thursday mid-morning, leaving us to shovel ourselves out from the mounds of snow.

Snow accumulations are as followed:
Twin Ports Region eastward through Northern Wisconsin could see snow totals from 7-14". Some areas could receive isolated areas of increased snow totals especially with the lake enhancement snow storms.
North of Twin Ports could see around 4-8" again with higher totals possible in Iron Ranges and along the North Shore.
International Falls and northern St. Louis county areas will be at the northern most portion of the reach for this low pressure system so snow totals should be fairly low compared to the rest of the Northland. Snow totals are forecasted to be 1-4" of snow possible.
South of the Twin Ports could see a decent amount of precipitation falling in the form of snow around 4-8" possible but due to the close proximity of surface temperatures near or above the freezing mark, the risk for wintry mix i.e. snow, sleet, freezing rain, and ice are very possible.

Quite a lot of snow is expected within the next 48 hours. Please plan accordingly and be safe if you must go out on the roadways. Give yourself plenty of time and prepare for the worst case scenario.

Stay up to date on the weather by following the Northland's NewsCenter either online, mobile, or on your television.

Stay warm out there!
Meteorologist Bill Mokry
Northland's NewsCenter