A Colorado Low will develop early on Monday, bringing snow and strong winds to portions of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. This type of low forms east of the Rockies and is known to rapidly strengthen, bringing a wide variety of weather to a large part of the U.S.

Colorado Low Setup

With this particular low, the north and west of the region will experience snow, and the south and east will see rain and potentially some more severe weather. In this story, we’re going to focus on the colder aspects of the low.

Timing and Threats:

Our storm will start to ramp up Monday morning. As people wake up in northwestern Nebraska, western South Dakota, and most of North Dakota, it will likely be snowing and at a good clip. As the center of the low pressure tracks northeast, the shield of snow will move northeast with it. By the afternoon, the snow will push into eastern South Dakota. At this time, I predict winds will become strong enough for localized blizzard conditions. The low pressure will be strengthening, thus creating a strong pressure gradient. With a strong gradient, winds will become stronger out of the northwest. While the snow is falling, winds will gust up to 55 mph. To the west where the snow will have ended at this point, gusts may be as high as 70 mph in the Plains.

Throughout the afternoon on Monday, Minnesota will first see rain. However, as cold air works into the state, the cold will win out, allowing snow and potential blizzard conditions to slowly move in. The heaviest of the snow will be in the northern part of the state as that region will experience an all-snow event. In the southern half, especially the southeastern portion of Minnesota, the snow will be lighter due to the rain at the onset of the precipitation.

By Monday night, the snow from this low will move out of most of the United States and track into Canada. There will still some light snow for portions of Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, while the winds continue to howl. These areas will continue to deal with very light snow into Tuesday after the low has passed.

Snow Accumulation:

Weatheroptics snowfall forecast

This snow event will be light for the most part. A widespread swath of three to six inches of snow is forecast from northern Nebraska into much of South Dakota. In eastern South Dakota, I predict it will be a bit heavier–up to ten inches could fall. In North Dakota, snow will be light, with a widespread one to three inches of snow forecast. In Minnesota, from Monday afternoon into the overnight, that swath of three to six inches will continue for much of the state, but with some variation. Portions of the northern half of Minnesota will receive in excess of half of foot, but in the southeastern quadrant, only one to three inches is expected. One to three inches is also forecast in northwestern Wisconsin into the UP of Michigan.


Jackson is Head of Content and Social Media at WeatherOptics. He is currently a student at the University of Miami, studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism. Dill produces forecast articles for the website and helps to manage the content schedule. He has also led the growth of WeatherOptics’ social media accounts, working to keep them aligned with the company’s evolving vision.

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