Wet, Heavy Snow, March 5-6, 2023

snowfal map
Map of estimated snowfall ending the morning of March 6, 2023.
Image credit: National Weather Service, Twin Cities/Chanhassen office

A medium-strength winter weather system produced several inches of wet, sticky, and heavy snow from southwestern through east-central Minnesota on March 5th and 6th, 2023.

The snow began on Sunday March 5th in the Dakotas, as a low-pressure system in western Kansas reached its peak intensity. As the low moved east-northeastward towards central Illinois, bands of snow enveloped much of southern and central Minnesota. Lightning strikes were detected with some of the snow in Cottonwood, Brown, Redwood, and Watonwan counties, and the Redwood Falls airport was among the few in Minnesota to report a thunderstorm.

The lightning and thunder were evidence of strong lifting motions present within parts of the region, and several lively bands of  snow, mostly without lightning, developed in response to the abundant lift. The snow had a high moisture content, and compressed quickly under its own weight, keeping snowfall accumulation rates to a half-inch or in some cases an inch per hour.

The snow stuck easily to most objects, turning mundane scenes into photogenic landscapes. By morning,  the coarse and sticky snow coated branches, limbs, street signs, and fences like frosting throughout southwestern, southern, central, and east-central  Minnesota. As daytime warming kicked in, the snow the fell from trees as large clumps and pre-made snowballs. The snow was too heavy for some snowblowers, and so many Minnesotans were forced battle the "wet cement" snow with shovels and hard labor. 

This was not a major snowstorm, with most areas receiving under a half-inch of precipitation and 2-4 inches of snow. The highest accumulations were generally 5-7 inches, reported near Lamberton, from the southwestern through central Twin Cities area, and just south and west of Duluth.


March 6, 2023    

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