Winter storm warnings begin Wednesday evening across much of Minnesota; metro area will see snow and rain

Twin Cities metro area temperatures were in the upper 20s Christmas afternoon. It was much colder last Christmas in the Twin Cities, when our official high temp was only 4 degrees!

Mild temps are on tap for Wednesday and Thursday, then colder air rushes in on Friday.

Snowstorm update

A strong low pressure system will impact the upper Midwest from Wednesday into Friday. It’ll have plenty of moisture to work with, so some areas will see a lot of snow. On the right side of the storm track, many locations will see rain for a period of time, so snow totals will be lower.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern Wednesday through Friday:

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Wednesday through Friday, via tropicaltidbits

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 and rain.

Snow totals are likely to be highest over much of western, central and northern Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

A winter storm warning begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday and runs through Friday morning across most of western, central and northern Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

Here are details of the central Minnesota portion of the winter storm warning:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
244 PM CST Tue Dec 25 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNINGS ISSUED FOR PARTS OF WEST CENTRAL AND
CENTRAL MINNESOTA WEDNESDAY EVENING THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING…

.A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for areas along and west
of a line from Granite Falls, to St. Cloud, and Mora from Wednesday
evening through Friday morning.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect for Redwood, Renville,
Wright, Sherburne, and Isanti counties due to uncertainties of
the amount snowfall, and where the rain and snow line develops.

Snow will begin advancing into southwestern Minnesota late
Wednesday morning, with intensity increasing by evening. Snow,
possibly heavy at times, will continue through late Thursday
night before intensity tapers off. Occasional light freezing
drizzle is possible but not expected to make a major impact vs.
the snow. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 13 inches are likely in
the warned area, with lesser amounts in the watch area.

Along and east of a Granite Falls, to St. Cloud, and Mora line,
warm air aloft will surge northward late Wednesday night and
Thursday which will turn the snow to rain until Thursday evening.
There is still some question as to where that sharp cut off from
snow to rain will set up, so the Winter Storm Watch includes a few
counties along that line.

MNZ041>045-047>050-054>058-064-260445-
/O.UPG.KMPX.WS.A.0012.181227T0000Z-181228T1200Z/
/O.NEW.KMPX.WS.W.0011.181227T0000Z-181228T1800Z/
Douglas-Todd-Morrison-Mille Lacs-Kanabec-Stevens-Pope-Stearns-
Benton-Lac Qui Parle-Swift-Chippewa-Kandiyohi-Meeker-
Yellow Medicine-
Including the cities of Alexandria, Long Prairie, Little Falls,
Princeton, Mora, Morris, Glenwood, St Cloud, Foley, Madison,
Benson, Montevideo, Willmar, Litchfield, and Granite Falls
244 PM CST Tue Dec 25 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM WEDNESDAY TO NOON CST
FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Periods of heavy snow likely Wednesday night, through
Friday morning. Some freezing drizzle possible. Total snow
accumulations of 8 to 13 inches and minor ice accumulations.
Winds could gust as high as 35 mph.

* WHERE…Portions of central, and west central Minnesota.

* WHEN…From Wednesday evening through Friday morning.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult. Patchy
blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening
commute.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow…and or
sleet…and ice are expected or occurring. Strong winds are also
possible. This will make travel very hazardous. If you must
travel…keep an extra flashlight…food…and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency.

Northern Minnesota winter storm warnings also begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday:

NWS Duluth

Details of the northeastern Minnesota portion of the winter storm warning:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Duluth MN
531 PM CST Tue Dec 25 2018

…A LARGE WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT THE NORTHLAND WEDNESDAY NIGHT
INTO FRIDAY MORNING…

.A winter storm will impact the Northland Wednesday night into
Friday morning bringing heavy snow to far northern Wisconsin and
much of north central and northeast Minnesota. A wintry mix will
be possible Thursday into Thursday night over parts of northern
Wisconsin and possibly west into Pine and southern Aitkin
Counties. A shift in the storm track could affect expected
precipitation type and snow amounts so continue to keep track of
the forecast.

MNZ010-011-018-019-025-026-033>038-WIZ001-261145-
/O.UPG.KDLH.WS.A.0011.181227T0000Z-181228T1200Z/
/O.NEW.KDLH.WS.W.0015.181227T0000Z-181228T1800Z/
Koochiching-North St. Louis-North Itasca-Central St. Louis-
North Cass-South Itasca-South Cass-Crow Wing-Northern Aitkin-
South Aitkin-Carlton and South St. Louis-Pine-Douglas-
Including the cities of International Falls, Ely, Bigfork,
Hibbing, Walker, Grand Rapids, Pine River, Brainerd, Hill City,
Aitkin, Duluth, Pine City, Hinckley, and Superior
531 PM CST Tue Dec 25 2018

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM WEDNESDAY TO NOON CST
FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 12
inches.

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

* WHEN…From 6 PM Wednesday to noon CST Friday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very difficult to
impossible. Blowing snow will significantly reduce visibility.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet
and ice 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 511 in
either state.

What about the metro area?

A winter storm watch includes Wright county, Sherburne county and Isanti county from Wednesday evening through Thursday night.  No watches or warnings have been issued for the 7 county Twin Cities metro area.

Snow will probably move into the Twin Cities metro area around mid-afternoon on Wednesday, and continue through the evening. Snow and low visibilities could slow down the late afternoon/early evening commute on Wednesday. The snow is expected mix with rain overnight Wednesday night and eventually change over to all rain in the metro area. Periods of rain are likely on Thursday, which will melt some of the metro area snowfall from Wednesday and Wednesday night. Rain in the metro area Thursday evening changes to snow at some point Thursday night, with periods of snow into early Friday. Snowstorm accumulations in the 7 county metro area could be in the 2 to 5 inch range, with the highest totals on the northwest side and the lowest totals far southeast. There is a chance of some light freezing rain at times Thursday night. This is all based on the expected temperature profile in the atmosphere, so check forecast updates.

As always, updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you will also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

You can check the latest forecasts, watches and warnings from the NWS offices in the Twin CitiesDuluth, Sioux Falls, SD and Grand Forks, ND.

Updated road conditions will be posted by the Minnesota and Wisconsin Transportation Departments.