Worst. April. Ever.

The Linder’s Flower Mart at Valley Ridge Mall in Stillwater sits empty as snow flies last Thursday. The St. Croix Valley is under a winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Tuesday as the third winter storm in about a week is forecast to sweep through the region later today and tonight. (Gazette photo by Erik Sandin)

The Linder’s Flower Mart at Valley Ridge Mall in Stillwater sits empty as snow flies last Thursday. The St. Croix Valley is under a winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Tuesday as the third winter storm in about a week is forecast to sweep through the region later today and tonight. (Gazette photo by Erik Sandin)

Third storm in a week poised to wallop region

Our winter without end refuses to leave.

A large swath of southern, central and eastern Minnesota is under a winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Tuesday as the third storm in about one week is forecast to bring another wallop of spring snow to the St. Croix Valley.

The National Weather Service office in Chanhassen said a low-pressure system in the Southern Plains is forecast to bring rain, a rain-snow mix and heavy, wet snow from the Twin Cities northeast tonight and early Tuesday morning.

An NWS advisory said snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour are likely and thundersnow is possible in the main heavy snow band.

NWS meteorologist Chris Franks said precipitation in the Valley would start was rain this afternoon before switching to snow later.

“Eventually it will make the switch and come down fast and furious. We still have Stillwater anywhere from six to 10 inches,” he said.

Lows tonight in the Valley are expected to drop to 29. The snow is expected to wind down early Tuesday, with skies partially clearing and a high near 41. Another night of gusty north winds of 15 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph, could lead to patchy blowing and drifting snow tonight.

“Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency,” said an NWS statement.

Franks said snowfall from this latest storm, on the heels of two snowstorms last week, could make this month one of the snowiest Aprils on record in the Twin Cities.

“The Twin Cities is closing in, we could push for number one or two,” he said. “We’ll be in the conversation for the snowiest April of all time.”

Franks attributed the region’s cold, snowy April to the combination of a trough over the region and blocking systems in northern Canada and the Arctic.

“We’ve had a persistent trough with cold air in place. The warm air is one state away. They’ve been warm enough to get rain. We’ve been on the cold side for snow,” he said.

But as the region prepares for another spring snow storm, the weather is going to improve later this week, according to Franks.

“It’s a very optimistic forecast, especially when we get to Friday. By Friday, we could see temperatures in the 60s. We could finally see this trough finally get pushed out.”

However, Tuesday through Thursday will continue to be cool, with highs ranging from the low 40s Tuesday to upper 40s Thursday, with another chance of light snow Wednesday night. Friday sees temperatures closer to normal with highs near 61. Saturday and Sunday will also be mild with highs in the low to middle 60s.

“We have one more wallop and a couple of cool days and then we’re going to turn the corner,” Franks said. “It’s going to feel really, really good this weekend. Any snow that falls will be gone.”

Contact Erik Sandin at erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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