Howling winds tonight and Sunday; who gets the heavy snow?

A strong low pressure system will bring very high winds to Minnesota and Wisconsin Saturday night and Sunday.

Some areas will also see heavy snow.

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

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, via tropicaltidbits

Notice the wintry mix over southeastern Minnesota Saturday evening. The snow should end by sunrise on Sunday in the metro area, but the strong winds will stay with us though most of the day.

The heaviest snow Saturday evening into Sunday is expected to be from southeastern Minnesota into north-central Wisconsin:

NWS Twin Cities

I expect an additional 3 to 5 inches of snow in the Twin Cities metro area from Saturday evening through the overnight hours of Saturday night.

A closer look at southeastern Minnesota:

NWS La Crosse

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.

Warnings

A blizzard warning begins at midnight Saturday night in central Minnesota, and begins at 9 p.m. in the south metro (Carver, Scott and Dakota county) and at 6 p.m. in southeastern Minnesota. The blizzard warnings end at 6 p.m. Sunday:

NWS Twin Cities

Details of the blizzard warning:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
244 AM CST Sat Feb 23 2019

…DANGEROUS WINTER STORM EXPECTED TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY…

.A Winter Weather Advisory continues through Saturday morning for
portions of west central Wisconsin through southeastern
Minnesota, specifically along and east of a line from Blue Earth
to Faribault in Minnesota, continuing to River Falls and Bloomer
in Wisconsin. Snowfall accumulations of up to around 2 inches
along with up to a tenth of an inch of ice accretion can be
expected through Saturday morning.

A stronger system is expected for Saturday night through Sunday
when accumulating snow plus blowing snow will impact travel,
including blizzard conditions for much of southern and western
Minnesota.

A Blizzard Warning is in effect Saturday evening through Sunday
afternoon for most locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin south of
I-94. This includes southern portions of the Twin Cities metro,
away from more suburban areas. Within the Blizzard Warning, snow
accumulations will range from 1 to 3 inches in the west near the
South Dakota border to 6 to 8 inches along Interstate 35 and east.
The snow is expected from late Saturday afternoon through the
early morning hours Sunday, followed by strong winds of 25 to 35
mph with gusts to near 50 mph for most of the day Sunday. This
could lead to whiteout conditions, making travel very difficult or
impossible in the open areas of western, central, and southern
Minnesota, and far western Wisconsin.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect Saturday evening through
Sunday afternoon for St Croix, Barron, Rusk, Chippewa, and Eau
Claire counties. Within the Winter Storm Warning, snow
accumulations of 6 to 9 inches can be expected with localized
higher amounts possible. The snow is expected Saturday evening
through Sunday morning, followed by strong winds of 20 to 30 mph
with gusts to 40 mph for most of the day Sunday. This may produce
areas of blowing and drifting snow, making travel difficult for
portions of far southeastern Minnesota into west central
Wisconsin.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the counties along I-94
for the potential of 1 to 4 inches of snow and very strong wind.
Winds could gust as high as 40 to 45 mph which could lead to very
low visibility and dangerous travel.

MNZ067>070-074>076-082-083-091-231645-
/O.CON.KMPX.BZ.W.0003.190224T0300Z-190225T0000Z/
Sibley-Carver-Scott-Dakota-Brown-Nicollet-Le Sueur-Watonwan-
Blue Earth-Martin-
Including the cities of Gaylord, Chaska, Shakopee, Hastings,
New Ulm, St Peter, Le Sueur, St James, Mankato, and Fairmont
244 AM CST Sat Feb 23 2019

…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO
6 PM CST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions expected. Total snow accumulations of
3 to 6 inches expected. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph.

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

* WHEN…From 9 PM Saturday to 6 PM CST Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult or
impossible Saturday night into Sunday.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are
expected. 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.

Keep in mind that you don’t need falling snow to prompt a blizzard warning; here’s the NOAA blizzard warning definition:

Blizzard Warning

A Blizzard Warning means that the following conditions are occurring or expected within the next 12 to 18 hours.
1) Snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to 1/4 mile or less for 3 hours or longer
AND
2)  Sustained winds of 35 mph or greater or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater.
There is no temperature requirement that must be met to achieve blizzard conditions.

There’s plenty of snow on the ground all across Minnesota. Some of that snow cover will be picked up by the fierce winds Saturday night into Sunday.

A winter storm watch begins at midnight Saturday for the north metro. That watch could become an advisory or warning at some point.

You can check the latest forecasts from the NWS offices in the Twin CitiesGrand Forks, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., La Crosse, Wis. and Duluth.

Temperature trends

Highs will reach the lower 30s in much of eastern Minnesota today, with 20s to the west.

Sunday highs will be in the teens in most areas, with some lower 20s east:

The metro area could start out in the lower 20s early Sunday morning, followed by falling temps. Twin Cities metro area highs only reach about 10 degrees on Monday, followed by mid teens Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs are expected to reach the upper teens Thursday, and 20 on Friday.  Those are all well below our Twin Cities average high this time of year, which is in the lower 30s.

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.