Possible chance for snowy, white Christmas from potential snowstorm

Updated: December 13, 2020 12:09 PM
Created: December 13, 2020 11:24 AM

Possible chance for snowy, white Christmas from potential snowstorm | Possible chance for snowy, white Christmas from potential snowstorm |

The average chance for a white Christmas any year in the Twin Cities is 70%. Typically Minnesota's biggest snowfalls occur in late November, which often leads to a white Christmas, but this year we had record snowfall in October and now all of that snow has melted.

On Sunday, three computer weather models show a storm developing in northern Arizona on Dec. 23, according to KSTP Meteorologist Jonathan Yuhas. Each computer weather model uses different solutions to predict future storm tracks. Many variables go into these forecast models, so each computer model comes up with a forecasted storm track. 

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF) shows on the Track 1 map that the Twin Cities being in the warm sector of the potential winter storm on Dec. 24, said Yuhas. Therefore, the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota/western Wisconsin would see some rain and snow mix while heavy snow would fall in the Dakotas and northwest Minnesota. 

However, the Track 2 map shows the area that will receive heavy snow from the potential Dec. 24 storm. This track would lead to +6” of snow over much of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Track 2 is the CFv2 model that is good at picking up warmer or cooler air trends but not great at long-range storm track forecasting, stated Yuhas.

The Track 3 map is the Global Forecast System weather computer model that shows the potential winter storm staying well to the south and leaving Minnesota and western Wisconsin snow-free. These tracks will all change with each new weather computer model run and be more accurate in the days ahead.

Possible chance for snowy, white Christmas from potential snowstorm | AP/file Possible chance for snowy, white Christmas from potential snowstorm | AP/file

According to Yuhas, sometimes the computer models all agree or they all have different storm tracks. The most common error with the storm tracks is the Jet Stream Winds and Storm Center placement. The Jet Stream is found about 30,000 feet above the Earth, moving from west to east and dividing cold air to the north of the Jet Stream from warm air to the south of the Jet Stream. Storms often form on the Jet Stream and the weather computer models help guide future weather patterns by interpolating current weather conditions and predicting how future weather will evolve.

Sunday's weather in the Twin Cities brings mainly cloudy skies with some flurries or light snow showers, mainly in the suburbs north of the downtown areas in the afternoon. A light coating of snow is expected north of the Twin Cities Sunday afternoon with the highs in the low 30s, but west winds at 10 to 15 mph will keep wind-chills in the low 20s. 

As for Sunday night, the weather will become colder with clearing skies after midnight. Monday is expected to be around 15 degrees by 6 a.m. with northwest winds at 1- to 15 mph, producing wind-chills between +3 and +8 degrees.   

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