Buckle up, Minnesota.
A powerful arctic front barrels south across Minnesota Wednesday night. The front blows in on gusty northwest winds of 45 mph.
Loose, powdery snow on the ground across much of Minnesota will go airborne. A good, old-fashioned ground blizzard will reduce visibility to near zero by late Wednesday night in western Minnesota.
Subzero temperatures plunge south behind the front. It looks like this will be the coldest air mass so far this winter for parts of Minnesota.
The geography of western Minnesota makes for prime blizzard country. Combine an open landscape with 6 to 10 inches of fresh powdery snow and winds to near 50 mph and you have the anatomy of a ground blizzard. Here’s the latest blizzard warning zone.
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
619 AM CST Wed Jan 23 2019
…GROUND BLIZZARD POSSIBLE TONIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY MORNING…
.A Blizzard Warning has been issued for western Minnesota from
Wednesday night through Thursday morning as very dangerous travel
conditions are expected. Strong northwest winds with gusts of
35 to 45 mph will develop behind an arctic front late Wednesday
evening. Due to a deep snowpack, widespread blowing snow with
whiteout conditions appear likely across western Minnesota.
In central and southern Minnesota the winds will be a bit
lighter, and there is some question about the condition of the
snowpack. A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect for blowing and
drifting snow Wednesday night through Thursday morning.
Bitterly cold air mass
The air mass behind tonight’s arctic front will produce the coldest mornings of the winter so far in the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota.
Right now it looks like temperatures will bottom out between minus 10 and minus 15 in the Twin Cities Friday morning. Wind chills in the negative 20s will be common across southern Minnesota.
Cold through next week
Once the arctic air dome arrives it can be hard to displace in midwinter. It looks like next week could be even colder than this week.
Moderation in February?
The longer range upper air maps suggest we may see a milder Pacific flow return after the first week in February.