Midwestern Blizzard; Pattern Shift Fuels Thunderstorms Mid-week
Happy Sunday! March will wrap up with a major weather shift across the mid-section of the nation. Warm sunshine will give way to blizzard conditions, followed with severe weather potential. Welcome to springtime in the Midwest . . .
Finally, Some Warmth! Folks in Minneapolis and Chicago can finally leave the parka at home today. 60s are in the forecast for MSP, which hasn’t seen conditions this warm since October of last year. Yikes! Chicago swings up into the 60s tomorrow.
Bad April Fools’ Day Joke. I wish this was just a joke, but we’re tracking a very serious blizzard into this region in the next 48 hours. The storm itself originates within the Rocky Mountains and sweeps out into the plains states, drawing cold air down with it and kicking up the winds. The National Weather Service has already posted Blizzard Watches and Warnings for the open country of Northwestern MN & the Dakotas where blowing snow can cause whiteout conditions quickly.
Big Snow Piles to Return. Many people have been excited to see the spring snow melt progress, but we’ll take a few steps backward with a fresh coating of 6-12″ for most of the region. This storm is still forming, so this forecast is a bit early, but the worst of the snow seems to stay between the I-94 & I-90 corridors to start. The shift northward keeps the snow band away from Minneapolis and Duluth, however Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks will get blasted with the worst of it. Combine that with wind gusts of 40mph+ and travel will likely come to a stop across major area interstates during the storm. Prepare accordingly.
Severe Weather Potential. In the wake of this Midwestern blizzard, the jet stream digs southward and develops some storm energy in the southwest. This strong southwest flow aloft will likely aid in thunderstorm development mid-week.
More Ingredients Come Together. Moisture flows northward out of the Gulf of Mexico mid-week as the surface winds shift to the south, charging the atmosphere with moisture. This increased humidity (coupled with shifting winds) could help ignite strong storms for much of this region.
Danger Zone. The highlighted region above has the greatest potential for severe weather heading into Thursday. Storms are likely from Wichita to Dallas and through the ArkLaTex. Threats generally include gusty wind, damaging hail, and isolated tornadic activity.
March keeps us on our toes in the weather office . . . it seems like every kind of weather will happen almost all at once! Make sure you stay alert, too — tune in to WeatherNation for continuous forecast updates.
Have a great week ahead! -Meteorologist Miranda Hilgers (@mhilgersWNTV)