Here we are in late December and unless you live in the snow belt of the upper Midwest (the place that typically gets the big snow storms) snow remains an elusive element of the forecast. For Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities Christmas was brown for the 4th time out of the last 5 years. A disappointing trend. Below you can see the limited extent of snow cover Christmas day.
Places in central and NW Wisconsin which usually see a 90-95% shot at a white Christmas came up empty. In any given year the lowest chance in the whole state of Minnesota are no worse than 55%.
Based on the latest models, much of those areas without snow in Minnesota will be making up for it by the end of the week thanks to a major winter storm that will travel up through Iowa. Already winter storm watches and warnings have been posted for much of the Dakotas and Minnesota.
Here's a graphic from the NWS in Minneapolis showing snow potential Wednesday-Friday morning. Most of the state is looking at 2 to as much as 18".
The latest EURO has this for snowfall totals.
The GFS has this through Friday.
With the warm sector encompassing my area rain will be fall from the heavens above. The EURO shows this for rainfall. In some places more precipitation is expected than typically falls during the entire month of December.
A larger perspective of total precipitation.
The impressive dynamics will draw near record amounts of water vapor northward from the Gulf. Aside from the heavy rain threat, dew points and instability will create enough instability for scattered thunderstorms in the warm sector.
With a nice dry punch Thursday afternoon and the proper combination of heating and moisture some strong storms are even possible. The low topped supercells would have significant shear to work with and if LCL's (cloud levels) are low enough a tornado threat is even a slight possibility.
Many small scale details are still in flux but large scale features are in good agreement. It all means a significant Midwest storm later in the week that's likely to have all the elements of winter and spring depending on your location in the Midwest. Much more to come in the next 24-48 hours. Hope you had a terrific Christmas! Roll weather...TS