Name that storm — more wet snow on its way

MARSHALL – Using the theory that named storms are more user-friendly for meteorologists and record keepers, The Weather Channel began naming major winter storms in 2012.

At this pace it might just run out of alphabet.

A winter season that started with “Athena” and includes storm names like “Draco,” “Freyr,” “Nemo” and just plain “Q” has made its way to “Yogi,” the latest in a storm-filled season that has made everyone long for spring even more than usual.

And a week after as much as 12 inches of snow fell in Marshall and surrounding areas, the region appears to be in for more this week thanks to a bear of a storm named “Yogi.”

While the heaviest snow is predicted for late Wednesday, the timing isn’t precise and how much will fall is uncertain. States like Wyoming and Colorado are expected to get the brunt of the storm, but southwest Minnesotans, spoiled by a very early spring in 2012, also can’t put away their worn-out shovels just yet.

“Unfortunately, there’s an area of low pressure moving into the Northern Plains during the day (today), and that will begin to impact you Wednesday by late morning,” said Brad Adams, a hydrometeorological technician with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, S.D. “Depending on the temperature profile, there will certainly be some snow accumulations possible across a good portion of western Minnesota and the eastern Dakotas.”

Snowfall amounts at this time of year vary depending on what the thermometer says, Adams said; fluctuating temperatures enhance the possibility of the dreaded “wintry” mix so common in March.

After a quiet day today, Adams said residents can expect light snow to begin falling Wednesday, which could change over to rain later in the day as it warms up. Wednesday night, once the temperatures fall back down again, snow will redevelop and fall overnight.

“That’s when the real accumulating snow should occur,” Adams said. “Right now, you’re in the 4- to 5-inch range. You could pick up another inch Thursday afternoon, and by Thursday evening it should be over with.”

Typically by this time of year warm air from the south has already settled in in the Midwest, but Adams said the persistence of an easterly air flow, combined with a snow-covered landscape, has kept much of the area’s precipitation in the form of snow instead of rain.

“Because of that, we’re really not expecting much in terms of warming temperatures,” he said. “And there will be enough moisture being pulled into this thing from the Gulf (of Mexico) that there will be a chance for some pretty good snowfall totals. I think the higher amounts are going to be to the west and north.”

The good news is that temperatures should reach into the mid-40s by Saturday and climb from there to the low 50s by Monday.

Temps could reach 55 by next Wednesday.