With large ridging over the west, clipper systems dominate the forecast in the near term with many small, and relatively unexciting low pressure systems moving through. While the pattern seems to shift slightly the beginning of next week, not putting too many chips into a major change before Christmas.
Short Term Forecast
Right now many parts of the Upper Midwest are seeing snow shower or two as a very weak low pressure system pulls through the region today. However, with little moisture or forcing it doesn’t look like there will be much accumulation anywhere. The real clipper for Wednesday will start to move through late tonight, bringing heavier snow showers to northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. It will also bring some more favorable winds to enhance the lake effect snow along the south shore again. These snow showers on Wednesday into the overnight hours and should bring between 2-4” for most areas north of the Twin Cities up to the Canadian border, with lake effect bringing a few areas into the 4-8” range by Thursday midday.
Looking ahead to later this week, the pattern stays pretty much the same with a ridge dominating the west and clipper after clipper quickly moving through the area dropping a few inches of snow each time. Depending on how much the ridge grows/shrinks/shifts, each of these clippers will take a slightly different track, meaning the highest snowfall totals will vary by a few hundred miles each time.
Snowfall totals through the middle of next week.
In terms of timing for these clipper lows, it looks like there will be another one for Friday during the day that will brush a bit further south and west, but with less moisture associated with it. This will be followed by another slightly stronger one on Sunday, and finally a 3rd one in 7 days on Tuesday of next week. Each one should only bring a few inches at most to any area, except for the lake effect showers that will be enhanced with the favorable northwest winds. Overall snow totals for the next 7 days won’t be too impressive, but the below freezing temperatures and continuous light snowfall should keep things fresh.
Finally looking at long term for any pattern change, the ridge finally looks to shift/breakdown enough right around Christmas Day. This change right now looks to bring more cold, dry arctic air than anything right now, but will hopefully open the door for a larger scale winter storm system to move through the region in the coming weeks. Right now, it’s looking to be a lot like last year, with cold air but meager amounts of natural snow.
Long term anomaly outlook shows a shift to a more active pattern with the ridge moving more off the west coast. If this translates to a decent first snowfall, only time will tell.
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