Snow Saturday night as winds really ramp up; howling winds on Sunday

Many locations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin will have window-rattling winds late Saturday night through Sunday afternoon.

And there will be snow, with the heaviest snow from southeastern Minnesota through north-central Wisconsin.

The big picture

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

NOAA NAM simulated radar from Saturday evening through Sunday 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.

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

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.

Snow potential

There’s expected to be a sharp drop in snow amounts to the northwest of the swath of heavy snow:

NWS Twin Cities

“This evening and tonight” in the graphic refer to Saturday evening and overnight Saturday night.

I estimate that the final overnight snow tallies by sunrise on Sunday could range from about two inches in the far northwest corner of the Twin Cities metro area to around six inches in the far southeast. It’ll be hard to measure the snow, due to strong winds!

Notice the band of double-digit snow potential from southeastern Minnesota to north-central Wisconsin.

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6:40 p.m. Update:

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You can check snow accumulations as they are posted by the National Weather Service. Hover over a location on the National Weather Service snow map site to see the snow total and the time of observation.

Howling winds

The winds will really ramp up Saturday night, and very strong winds will continue through Sunday.

That is why blizzard warnings have been issued for a large portion of Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin:

NWS Twin Cities

Keep in mind that you don’t need a lot of 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.

Details of the blizzard warnings, which include Scott and Dakota counties of the south metro from 9 p.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday:

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

…DANGEROUS WINTER STORM EXPECTED TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY…

.A very strong low pressure system is expected for tonight
through Sunday when accumulating snow plus significant blowing
snow will impact travel, including blizzard conditions for much of
southern and western Minnesota and into western WI.

A Blizzard Warning is in effect Saturday evening through Sunday
afternoon for most locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin along and 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 less than an inch in western MN
to 6 to 10 inches along Interstate 90 and into west central WI,
primarily south and east of the Twin Cities. The snow is expected
from late Saturday afternoon through the early morning hours
Sunday, followed by strong winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts to
near 50 mph for most of the day Sunday. This will lead to whiteout
conditions, making travel very difficult and likely 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 12 inches can be expected with localized
higher amounts possible, especially in the Eau Claire area. 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 Weather Advisory is in effect for the counties along and
north of I-94 for the potential of 1 to 3 inches of snow and very
strong wind. Winds could gust as high as 40 to 45 mph which could
lead to very low visibility, blowing and drifting snow, and
dangerous travel.

MNZ067-069-070-074>076-240515-
/O.CON.KMPX.BZ.W.0003.190224T0300Z-190225T0000Z/
Sibley-Scott-Dakota-Brown-Nicollet-Le Sueur-
Including the cities of Gaylord, Shakopee, Hastings, New Ulm,
St Peter, and Le Sueur
302 PM 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
2 to 5 inches expected. Winds gusting as high as 45 to 50 mph.

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

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

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel will be very difficult or
impossible late 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.

The blizzard warning in Carver county of the southwest metro starts at midnight Saturday night.
Minneapolis and St. Paul, plus the northern part of the metro area, are in a winter weather advisory from midnight Saturday night through 6 p.m. Sunday.

Here are the advisory details:

MNZ060>062-240515-
/O.UPG.KMPX.WS.A.0008.190224T0600Z-190225T0000Z/
/O.NEW.KMPX.WW.Y.0019.190224T0600Z-190225T0000Z/
Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-
Including the cities of Minneapolis, Blaine, and St Paul
302 PM CST Sat Feb 23 2019

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO
6 PM CST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 2 inches
expected. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph.

* WHERE…Hennepin, Anoka and Ramsey Counties.

* WHEN…From midnight tonight to 6 PM CST Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions. Blowing
snow could significantly reduce visibility.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads
and limited visibilities due to blowing and drifting snow, and
use caution while driving.

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.

Snow amounts will change if the projected storm track is adjusted.

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9 P.M. Update

The NWS has issued a winter storm warning that includes Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington  and Anoka counties overnight and until 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Here’s the winter storm discussion, followed by the winter storm warning details:

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

…DANGEROUS WINTER STORM EXPECTED TONIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY…

.A Blizzard Warning is in effect through Sunday afternoon for
most locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin along and south of I-94.
This includes portions of the Twin Cities metro, away from more
suburban areas. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect through
Sunday afternoon for Barron, Rusk, Chippewa, and Eau Claire
counties, and from the core of the Twin Cities metro northward
along I-35. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the
counties north of I-94 and west of I-35.

Snow accumulations tonight and Sunday morning will range from 9
to 13 inches southeast of line from Fairmont to Faribault and
Rice Lake. Snowfall rates in that area could exceed 2 inches per
hour. A few thunderstorms are also possible. Amounts will quickly
drop off northwest of that line with 2 to 4 inches expected in
the Twin Cities metro and an inch or less west of St. Cloud and
Redwood Falls.

Very strong northwest winds will develop later tonight across
western Minnesota and spread eastward Sunday. Wind gusts of 50 mph
are expected, which will result in widespread whiteout conditions
in the Blizzard Warning area. Travel will be very dangerous or
impossible. Widespread road closures are expected. DO NOT TRAVEL.

MNZ053-060>062-241100-
/O.UPG.KMPX.WW.Y.0019.190224T0600Z-190225T0000Z/
/O.EXB.KMPX.WS.W.0007.190224T0300Z-190225T0000Z/
Chisago-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-
Including the cities of Center City, Minneapolis, Blaine,
and St Paul
854 PM CST Sat Feb 23 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM CST SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow and blowing snow expected. Total snow
accumulations of 2 to 4 inches expected. Winds gusting as high
as 50 mph.

* WHERE…Chisago, Hennepin, Anoka and Ramsey Counties.

* WHEN…Until 6 PM CST Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Plan on slippery road conditions.
Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.
Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

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.

Here’s the updated warning map:

NWS Twin Cities

“Overnight” in the title refers to the overnight hours of Saturday night.

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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.

Updated road conditions will be posted by the Minnesota and Wisconsin transportation departments.

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.