Last weekend, we were dealing with a winter storm. The weekend before that it was arctic air that numbed us, with a Sunday low of 13 below zero in the Twin Cities, followed by an afternoon “high” of zero. A blizzard hit much of Minnesota during the final weekend of February. This is from the Minnesota State Climatology Office summary of that blizzard:
After 8 PM on Saturday, the winds began increasing within the band of the heaviest snow, and by early Sunday morning, as the low pressure system underwent rapid intensification, the entire state began experiencing very strong winds, with gusts of 40-55 mph common. This led to instant blizzard conditions in open areas across southern and southeastern Minnesota, where the new snow and the abundant existing snow were easily lofted by the intense winds.
The snow and wind led to extraordinary drifting in open areas, with many open-country roads covered with 5 to 8 feet of drifted snow. Images of isolated 15 and 20-drifts flooded social media. The harsh conditions ended up closing virtually all roads in the southern 1/5 of the state. Spunout cars became stranded for over 12 hours across southern and southeastern areas, and Governor Tim Walz declared a State of Emergency in Freeborn and Steele Counties of south-central Minnesota, where National Guard troops and equipment had to be activated to rescue many of the motorists. The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team had to be rescued, and ended up sheltering in the Watonwan County Jail, in St. James, MN. On Sunday, even as the snow subsided, the winds continued gusting up to 50 mph, producing whiteout conditions. Some people who had ventured onto area lakes to go ice fishing became surrounded by snow drifts and were stranded.
Our weather will be much quieter and pleasant this weekend, although some people around Minnesota and western Wisconsin are experiencing spring flooding problems.
Dense fog west
Dense fog advisories run until late Saturday morning in parts of northwestern Minnesota:
Details of the advisory:
URGENT – WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Grand Forks ND
743 AM CDT Sat Mar 16 2019
West Polk-Norman-Clay-Kittson-West Marshall-Wilkin-Towner-
Cavalier-Pembina-Benson-Ramsey-Eastern Walsh County-Eddy-Nelson-
Richland-Western Walsh County-
Including the cities of Crookston, East Grand Forks, Ada,
Twin Valley, Halstad, Moorhead, Hallock, Karlstad, Lancaster,
Warren, Stephen, Argyle, Breckenridge, Cando, Langdon, Cavalier,
Walhalla, Drayton, Pembina, Neche, St. Thomas, Fort Totten,
Maddock, Leeds, Minnewaukan, Devils Lake, Grafton, Park River,
New Rockford, Lakota, Mcville, Aneta, Tolna, Grand Forks,
Cooperstown, Finley, Hope, Mayville, Hillsboro, Hatton, Portland,
Valley City, Fargo, Lisbon, Enderlin, Gwinner, Milnor, Forman,
Rutland, Wahpeton, Edinburg, Adams, and Lankin
743 AM CDT Sat Mar 16 2019
…DENSE FOG ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 11 AM CDT THIS
* VISIBILITY…One quarter mile or less at times.
* IMPACTS…Driving may be difficult. Roads and sidewalks may
become slick. Use caution at uncontrolled intersections,
railroad crossings, and truck entry points as other vehicles
will be difficult to see. Do not use cruise control on slick
A Dense Fog Advisory means visibilities will frequently be
reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving, slow down, use
your headlights, and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.
You can check with the Grand Forks, N.D. NWS office for updates.
There’s a dense fog advisory until 10 a.m. this Saturday for Lincoln, Pipestone and Murray counties of southwestern Minnesota. According to the NWS, some areas of freezing fog have developed this morning along and west of a line from Alexandria to Willmar to Redwood Falls.
Light snow chances
There is a chance of scattered light snow showers in parts of west-central and southwestern Minnesota this Saturday. There will be a chance of some scattered light snow showers in northern and central Minnesota overnight Saturday night and Sunday morning. That chance of light snow showers also expands into southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area Sunday morning.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern Saturday evening through Sunday evening:
Saturday afternoon highs will be in the 30s across most of Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Northwestern Minnesota could see some upper 20s.
Sunday (St. Patrick’s Day) will feature highs in the 30s:
Our average high on March 17 is 42 degrees in the Twin Cities.
Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to be around 40 on Monday, followed by lower 40s Tuesday and mid 40s Wednesday. We could reach around 50 Thursday, followed by mid 50s on Friday.
The last time the Twin Cities official temp at MSP airport hit 50 degrees or above was on Nov. 1, when it was 51 degrees.
A flood warning continues “until further notice” for areas near Sand Creek in Jordan in the southwest Twin Cities metro area:
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
1124 AM CDT Fri Mar 15 2019
…The flood warning continues for the following rivers in
Sand Creek at Sand Crk Jordan affecting Scott County
Middle Fork Zumbro River at Pine Island 1S / Mdl Frk Zumbro R
affecting Goodhue County
There is ongoing flooding as a result of recent rainfall
and snowmelt. The Sand Creek in Jordan has an ice jam and
will continue to experience moderate flooding.
Do not drive cars through flooded areas. Turn Around…Don`t Drown.
Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or your local radio or TV station
for the latest information concerning this flood event.
1124 AM CDT Fri Mar 15 2019
…Flood Warning now expected to end further notice…The Flood
Warning continues for
The Sand Creek at Sand Crk Jordan.
* until further notice.
* At 10:00 AM Friday the stage was 11.5 feet.
* Record flooding is occurring and Record flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 10.0 feet.
* Forecast…The river will continue to fall to a stage of 10.3 feet
by tomorrow morning.
The flood statement will probably be updated today by the NWS. You can get flood warning updates by clicking on any location on the NWS Twin Cities site. Areas with flood warnings are shaded green on their main page, and here’s how the map looked Saturday morning:
You can click on any location on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service site to get hydrographs of recent and forecast river levels.
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.