Heavy snow spreads across Minnesota Sunday afternoon and evening; incredibly cold this coming week

Most of the Twin Cities metro area hasn’t seen a big (4 inches or more) snowfall this winter. The 2018-2019 season snowfall total of 12.5 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is 19.7 inches behind our normal pace to this point in the season.

Our Twin Cities snow drought is about to end.

The big picture

Snow will move into western Minnesota Sunday morning, then spread across eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin during the afternoon hours. Snow continues Sunday night into early Monday.

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

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday morning through Monday afternoon, 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.

Heavy snow areas  

The greatest snow accumulations (generally 6 to 9 inches) are expected from west-central Minnesota through the Twin Cities metro area into southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

Here’s the National Weather Service snow forecast from Sunday through Monday morning:

NWS Twin Cities

In the Twin Cities metro area, the accumulating snow is expected to be mainly from mid-afternoon on Sunday through the overnight hours of Sunday night.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for most of central and southern Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin from Sunday afternoon through the overnight hours of Sunday night. It’s for heavy snow and blowing snow:

NWS Twin Cities

The winter storm warning begins at noon on Sunday in west-central Minnesota.

The winter storm warning for the Twin Cities metro area runs from 3 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday:

National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
336 PM CST Sat Jan 26 2019


.A potent clipper system is still on track to shift southeast from
the Dakotas into Iowa then to Michigan Sunday through Monday. This
system will bring accumulating snow to all of central and southern
Minnesota into western Wisconsin Sunday afternoon through Monday
morning. The greatest snow accumulations look to occur from west
central Minnesota through the Twin Cities metro to around the Eau
Claire area, with lesser amounts towards northern Minnesota,
southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

Therefore, Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for all of
central and southern Minnesota through western Wisconsin, with the
exception of a small portion of southwestern Minnesota south of
the Minnesota River. In these areas, a Winter Weather Advisory has
been issued.

Snowfall amounts in the warning area can be expected to range from
6 to 9 inches. Snowfall amounts in the advisory area can be
expected to range from 3 to 6 inches.

This system is expected to cause significant travel impacts,
especially Sunday night through the Monday morning commute.
Continue to monitor the latest forecasts and statements.

Washington-McLeod-Sibley-Carver-Scott-Dakota-Nicollet-Le Sueur-
Rice-Blue Earth-Waseca-Steele-Freeborn-
Including the cities of Foley, Elk River, Cambridge, Center City,
Monticello, Minneapolis, Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson,
Gaylord, Chaska, Shakopee, Hastings, St Peter, Le Sueur,
Faribault, Mankato, Waseca, Owatonna, and Albert Lea
336 PM CST Sat Jan 26 2019


* WHAT…Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 8
inches expected.

* WHERE…Portions of central, east central and south central

* WHEN…From 3 PM Sunday to 6 AM CST Monday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult. Patchy
blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute. The
cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite
on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.


A Winter Storm Warning for snow means severe winter weather
conditions will make travel very hazardous or impossible. If you
must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your
vehicle in case of an emergency.

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.

You can check the latest forecasts, warnings and advisories from the NWS offices in the Twin Cities, Grand Forks, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., and La Crosse, Wis .

Here’s a discussion about the snowfall in northeastern Minnesota:

NWS Duluth

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

Incredibly cold this coming week

A wind chill warning continues Saturday evening through Sunday morning in north-central and northeastern Minnesota.

Sunday afternoon highs will stay below zero in about the northern third of Minnesota, with mostly single digits above zero elsewhere. The exception will be southwestern Minnesota, where some spots will see upper teens to lower 20s:

The Twin Cities metro area should top out around 10 degrees on Monday, then the extremely cold air moves in. The metro area will see high temps in the single digits below zero on Tuesday. Our high on Wednesday is expected to be around -12, after a Wednesday morning low of about -23. The low Thursday morning could also be about -23, followed by an afternoon high around -4. Metro temps finally rise into the positive numbers on Friday, and we could reach 20 degrees next Saturday. That’ll feel nice after several days of arctic cold!

Minnesota and Wisconsin will see dangerously cold wind chills Tuesday through Thursday:

NWS Twin Cities

We’ll have more details on the wind chills in the coming days.

-20s are rare in the Twin Cities

I checked weather data for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to see how often we’ve dropped to -20 or colder.

The last time the temp at MSP airport hit -20 was on December 18, 2016.

I found these readings of -20 or colder at MSP airport in my search through the past 20 winters:

  • -20 Dec. 18, 2016
  • -20 Jan. 5, 2014
  • -23 Jan. 6, 2014
  • -22 Jan. 16, 2009
  • -21 Jan. 15, 2009
  • -24 Jan. 30, 2004
  • -22 Jan. 9, 1999

If we hit -23 at MSP airport this coming week, it will tie our coldest low temp since 2004.  If we drop to -24, it will tie our coldest low temp since 1996.

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.

  • Geoffrey Bell

    I see the comment about how rare -20s are in the Cities. Has that changed in recent (20-30 year) history?

  • JonasGrumby

    This is unacceptable Ron!