Winter storm takes aim at Minnesota; updated warnings

Winter storm update

The latest computer model information shows significant snow and wind over much of southern Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin late Sunday night through Monday evening.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern from Sunday evening through Monday evening:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday evening through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

Notice that the precipitation could start as a mix of snow, sleet and light freezing rain in southeastern Minnesota Sunday night.

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of snow, sleet or rain.

The NAM model cranks out some double digit snow totals in parts of southern Minnesota by late Monday:

NOAA NAM snow accumulation from Sunday evening through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

The NAM is using a snow to water ratio of 10 to 1.

This is expected to be wet snow, with a ratio closer to 7 or 8 to 1.

A lower snow to water ratio would lower snow totals a bit, but some impressive snow totals are possible.

The highest snow accumulations are expected over southern Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

The Twin Cities metro area is expected to ride the edge of the heaviest snow, with 8 to 12 inches possible in Scott and Dakota counties of the south metro.

The far north metro might see only a couple of inches, with a few inches of snow in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The storm track is critical, and snow projections might have to be tweaked.

Warnings and watches

Here are the watches and warnings related to this winter storm:

NWS Twin Cities

Most of the Twin Cities metro area is in a winter storm watch from 3 a.m. Monday to midnight Monday night for the potential snow total of 3-7 inches.

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…MAJOR WINTER STORM HIGHLY LIKELY MONDAY ACROSS
SOUTHERN/EASTERN MINNESOTA INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN…
…VERY TIGHT SNOWFALL GRADIENT EXPECTED OVER THE METRO SO THE
WINTER STORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR THE METRO…

.A portion of the Winter Storm Warning has been upgraded to a
Blizzard Warning from Mankato to the south and west, including
Fairmont and St. James. The Winter Storm Warning was expanded
slightly southeast. A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from
Gaylord through the Twin Cites metro and Balsam Lake as this area
will be close to a very tight snow gradient.

A strong storm system will bring an area of heavy snow across
south central and east central Minnesota into western Wisconsin
by early Monday morning. Snowfall totals of 8 to 14 inches are
likely by Monday evening in the warning area. Strong winds with
gusts up to 40 MPH during the heavy snow period will lead to
blizzard conditions in a portion of south central MN. Farther
east, winds will be in the 20 to 30 MPH range and cause blowing
and drifting snow.

A wintry mix with a period of freezing rain is also possible
Monday morning from Albert Lea toward Eau Claire, resulting in
light ice accumulation.

Be prepared for difficult driving conditions if you have travel
plans across central or southern Minnesota and western and
northern Wisconsin.

MNZ053-059>063-066-068-WIZ014-211800-
/O.CON.KMPX.WS.A.0002.180122T0900Z-180123T0600Z/
Chisago-Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-McLeod-Carver-
Polk-
Including the cities of Center City, Monticello, Minneapolis,
Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson, Chaska, and Osceola
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
MONDAY EVENING…

* WHAT…Heavy snow possible. Plan on difficult travel conditions,
including during the evening commute on Monday. Total snow
accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are possible.

* WHERE…Portions of northwest Wisconsin and central and east
central Minnesota.

* WHEN…From late tonight through Monday evening.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Winds gusting as high as 35 mph will
cause patchy blowing and drifting snow.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant
snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue
to monitor the latest forecasts.

Scott and Dakota counties of the south metro are in a winter storm warning from 3 a.m. Monday to midnight Monday night:

MNZ069-070-077-078-WIZ015-016-023>027-211800-
/O.CON.KMPX.WS.W.0002.180122T0900Z-180123T0600Z/
Scott-Dakota-Rice-Goodhue-Barron-Rusk-St. Croix-Pierce-Dunn-Pepin-
Chippewa-
Including the cities of Shakopee, Hastings, Faribault, Red Wing,
Rice Lake, Ladysmith, Hudson, River Falls, Prescott, Menomonie,
Durand, and Chippewa Falls
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM MONDAY TO
MIDNIGHT CST MONDAY NIGHT…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions,
including during the evening commute on Monday. Total snow
accumulations of 8 to 12 inches and ice accumulations of a
light glaze are expected.

* WHERE…Portions of northwest and west central Wisconsin and
east central, south central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN…From 3 AM Monday to midnight CST Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Winds gusting as high as 30 mph will
cause patchy blowing and drifting snow.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet
and ice are expected. This will make travel very hazardous or
impossible. The latest road conditions for Minnesota can be found
at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at 511wi.gov, or by calling
5 1 1 in either state.

Winter storm warnings are also in effect Sunday night through Monday in southeastern Minnesota, including Rochester:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service La Crosse WI
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…Hazardous Travel Late This Evening Through Monday…

.Travel will become hazardous late this evening through Monday
evening as a strong winter storm impacts the area. Precipitation
will initially fall as an icy wintry mix or snow, changing over
to all snow by mid morning on Monday. Snow accumulations of 6 to
locally 12 inches are expected, along with icing up to 2/10 of an
inch.

There will be a sharp gradient in snow accumulations on the
east and south edge of the heaviest band. Slight adjustments in
storm track could change snow and ice amounts within this
transition zone.

MNZ086-087-094-095-211800-
/O.UPG.KARX.WS.A.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/
/O.NEW.KARX.WS.W.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/
Dodge-Olmsted-Mower-Fillmore-
Including the cities of Dodge Center, Rochester, Austin,
and Preston
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO
MIDNIGHT CST MONDAY NIGHT…

* WHAT…Heavy snow and mixed precipitation expected. Plan on
difficult to hazardous travel conditions, including during the
Monday morning and evening commutes. Total snow and sleet
accumulations of 6 to locally 12 inches, and ice accumulations
of one tenth to two tenths of an inch are expected.

* WHERE…Dodge, Olmsted, Mower and Fillmore County.

* WHEN…9 PM today to midnight Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Be prepared for significant reductions in
visibility at times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet
and ice are expected. This will make travel very hazardous or
impossible. The latest road conditions for the state you are
calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

Blizzard warnings start 9 p.m. Sunday evening and run through Monday evening for Mankato and areas to the south and west of Mankato:

MNZ074-082-083-091-092-211800-
/O.UPG.KMPX.WS.W.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/
/O.NEW.KMPX.BZ.W.0001.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/
Brown-Watonwan-Blue Earth-Martin-Faribault-
Including the cities of New Ulm, St James, Mankato, Fairmont,
and Blue Earth
356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT
CST MONDAY NIGHT…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions expected. Travel will be very
dangerous to impossible, including during the evening commute on
Monday. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches are
expected.

* WHERE…Brown, Watonwan, Blue Earth, Martin and Faribault
Counties.

* WHEN…From 9 PM this evening to midnight CST Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Winds gusting as high as 40 mph will
cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant
drifting of the snow is likely.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds
and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout
conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If
you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get
stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for
Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at
511wi.gov, or by calling 5 1 1 in either state.

The NWS Twin Cities office has an interactive map to find forecast updates for your specific location.

We’ll monitor changes in the forecast models and give you updates as the storm gets closer.

Updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you can read about weather updates on the MPR News live weather blog.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.