Strong winds, falling temperatures and darkness add up to trouble

Ground blizzard conditions were enfolding this afternoon in Minnesota. Winds gusting to over 40 miles per hour were blasting across the snow covered landscape.

Visibilities are likely to be less than a quarter mile in the rural areas.  Once darkness sets in and temperatures drop it will be unwise to venture too far away from a city.

It’s a concern in south central Minnesota:

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The surface weather map at 3 p.m. showed sustained winds of 25 mph over much of the state. Temperatures are expected to drop quickly through the evening hours. (Click image to enlarge.)

Station weather analyze at 3 p.m.  Temperatures are in red. Winds show direction wind is blowing from in knots. College of DuPage

At 5 p.m. winds were gusting to 43 mph at Marshall, Minn., and Appleton, Minn.; 39 mph at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Rochester, and 35 mph at Duluth.

Wind chill readings will be dangerously low overnight.  Be prepared if you venture out after dark.

Wind gusts forecast at 6 p.m.  National Weather Service

Winds are likely to remain strong through midnight before diminishing across western Minnesota. By daybreak, the highest winds will be in far eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Rapid Update Cycle Model perhaps is overdoing this a bit with arctic air, but temperatures will be bitterly cold as you head out on Thursday. Surface pressure, wind and temperatures at  6 a.m. Thursday.

NOAA/College of DuPage

You should plan on unseasonably cold weather on Thursday, with some moderation on Friday.

Highs on Thursday. Image:National Weather Service

The average maximum temperature in Minneapolis-St. Paul is 33 degrees for Feb. 27.

The models, particularly the North American Mesocale model, are still strongly hinting at a couple of inches of snow in southern Minnesota on Friday.

Details will be laid out on Thursday, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center has increasing probabilities of up to four inches of snow south of the Twin Cities.

Probability of snow of 4 inches on Friday. National Weather Service Friday’s weather map from the National Weather Service

March comes in like a polar bear; on a cold note.  While the meteorological winter ends on Feb. 28 you’ll think we are in mid-January.

Saturday morning minimums. National Weather Service

Many are wondering about the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s still looking pretty dim as we head into next week. There are signs of a wrinkle in the arctic jet that will allow temperatures to climb a tad in the middle of next week.

Low temperatures on Wednesday at still likely to be below zero in the north.

Forecast of minimum temperatures next Wednesday. National Weather Service

Looking into the middle of March, the weather pattern continues to favor below normal temperatures.

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