Accumulating Snow, November 29, 2022

snowfall map
Snowfall totals reported through the morning of Wednesday November 30,2022. Note: even though this was a 12-18-hour snowfall, snowfall totals were reported on two different calendar days, necessitating a 48-hour total.
Courtesy NOAA National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center and National Weather Service

It wasn't a famed November blizzard, but an intensifying low-pressure system did produce a swath of healthy snowfall accumulations across southern and eastern Minnesota on November 29, 2022.

Low pressure in Manitoba had dragged a cold front through Minnesota late Monday night, extending southwestward to western Oklahoma and Texas. A new low-pressure area formed along that cold front near Kansas City on Tuesday morning, and started strengthening as it curved northeastward, ultimately tracking over Wisconsin and Lake Superior, where it became a strong storm.

Many of Minnesota's premiere winter storms follow similar tracks, passing northeastward through Iowa and Wisconsin and into the Great Lakes. This particular system had a delayed start, and was still maturing through the day as it was affecting Minnesota, reaching its greatest intensities late Tuesday and into Wednesday, after precipitation had subsided in Minnesota. This timing led to snowfall rates increasing steadily through the day on Tuesday, with winds generally picking up only as the snow was winding down. As such, this was mostly a snowfall event, with only limited problems from blowing snow.

The snow formed a southwest-to-northeast band, generally 100 to 150 miles wide, and  extending from eastern Colorado Nebraska through northern Wisconsin. As the day wore on, the improving mechanics of the storm led to narrow streaks of heavier snowfall rates pulsing through the band, especially between the elbow of the Minnesota River and the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, where the snow was heavy enough to shut down runways at the MSP International Airport during part of the early and middle afternoon.

The snow generally wound down in the afternoon, with only light snow lingering into the evening in eastern and southeastern Minnesota. The path of the storm did allow some accumulating snows to push back into far northeastern Minnesota on Tuesday evening, after it had ended everywhere else.

Snowfall totals of 3 to 6 inches were common in southwestern, southern, and east-central Minnesota, and also in the far northeast, but the heavier bursts of snow led to some higher totals from near Mankato through the Twin Cities. The largest storm-totals reported by National Weather Service cooperative observers included 8.4 inches at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, 7.4 inches at Stillwater, and 6.9 inches at the University of Minnesota climate observatory on the St. Paul campus (in Falcon Heights).

Additional readings made by observers in the MNgage and CoCoRaHS networks included 8.6 inches in New Prague; 8.5 inches in St. Paul; 7.7 inches near Rosemount; 7.5 inches near Maple Grove, Prior Lake, Inver Grove Heights, and White Bear Lake; 7.0 inches near Mankato and Ramsey; and 6.3 inches near Rush City.  Northeastern Minnesota also had snowfall accumulations of 2 to 5 inches, with 5.1 inches reported near Grand Marais, 4 inches measured near Hovland. 2.2 inches at the Duluth National Weather Service, and 1.4 inches in Two Harbors.

Despite the heavy snow, this was nowhere near a record event for the date in the Twin Cities. In 1991, just four weeks after the Halloween Blizzard, a storm took the same track as this year's November 29th affair, but arrived with 2-3 times more precipitation and 2-3 times higher snowfall rates. In that storm, areas in and around the Twin Cities experienced frequent lightning, loud crashes of thunder, and snowfall rates occasionally exceeding three inches per hour. A swath of southwestern to east-central Minnesota, passing right through the Twin Cities, received 12 to 18 inches of snow in about 12 hours, making it one of the fastest, hardest-hitting major snowstorms on record.


Nov 30, 2022.

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