Blaze to blizzard? Winter Storm Watch; 6″+ & 40 mph winds in NW MN fire zone

Winter Storm Watch for Red River Valley – likely upgraded to warning today

Rain then snow in NW MN “Fire Zone” today & Thursday

6″ to 12″ possible by Thursday night

Gusty NW winds to 45+ mph near blizzard conditions Thursday

“Critical Fire Danger” again today for southwest Minnesota

Metro on mild side 75 to 80F in the metro and south today

Cold plunge – windy & much colder 50s & 40s Thursday & Friday!

Winter 2012-’13: Here we go

The season’s 1st major winter storm is taking aim at northwest Minnesota and the Red River Valley tonight and Thursday.

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A deepening low pressure system will wrap up and cut into northern Minnesota Thursday. Rain will increase from the west today and change to snow overnight into Thursday morning as colder air funnels in. Here’s the winter wording the Grand Forks NWS.

A low pressure system will develop and move into central Minnesota. As this system develops, rain will spread into the region today and continue into tonight. The rain is expected to mix with and change over to all snow by Thursday. The heaviest snowfall is expected across the northern Red River Valley into Northwest Minnesota where 6 or more inches is possible. North winds will become strong on Thursday, which could cause reduced visibility in falling and blowing snow.

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Both the NAM and GFS are cranking out some serious rain and snow totals. With total precip 1″ or more and cold air getting sucked into the system from Canada, much of will fall as snow.

The NAM is cranking out some impressive totals….6″ to 12″ and more in parts of eastern North Dakota and the Red River Valley into northwest Minnesota.

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It’s tempting to say snowfall totals may be overdone with an early season system, but I don;t think so looking at this storm. It’s going to wrap up pretty quickly and hit hard by Thursday morning.

With northwest winds gusting to over 45mph Thursday, we could see “whiteout” and near blizzard conditions with near zero visibility at times in the Red River Valley. Blizzard warnings are not out of the question Thursday.

Stay tuned…and expect rapidly deteriorating weather conditions in northwest Minnesota tonight.

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Source: Twin Cities NWS

Southern Minnesota: One more mild day…with a side of critical” fire danger”

Southern Minnesota will (enjoy?) one more day of late summer-like warmth.

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Highs will reach the upper 70s to near 80 this afternoon, then the cold front will push south Thursday bringing an end to our early October warmth.

Brief lucky break in Karlstad: Winds eased overnight

After a fortunate respite from 40mph+ wind gusts Tuesday, winds eased last night and today. Winds in the northwest Minnesota “fire zone” have been running around 6mph overnight and early today. Humidity also increased from 17% to near 30% Tuesday evening…then ran as high as 70% this morning.

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Source: NWS

Those changes greatly reduce the “extreme fire behavior” we saw Tuesday afternoon.

As the storm deepens and approaches from the Dakotas today, look for northeasterly winds to increase into the 15-30 mph winds again today and tonight.

Hopefully fire crews can get the upper hand on hot spots before the NE winds pick up again this afternoon.


  • Craig

    I wonder if TWC will name this storm? SnowCon 7?

  • Chris B. Critter

    “Fire and ice

    You come like a flame,

    Then you turn a cold shoulder.”