Winds roar; snow heavy in western, northern MN; wintry mix in metro

A strong low-pressure system is generating window-rattling winds as it spins snow, sleet and rain across Minnesota and western Wisconsin Thursday. A few thunderstorms and some areas of thundersnow have also been reported.

A wind gust of 57 knots (65.6 mph) was measured at Holman Field airport in St. Paul around 9 a.m.:

National Weather Service

Thankfully, it was just a gust, but sustained winds of 28-35 mph will be common in the metro area Thursday with gusts of 45 to 55 mph at times.

Stronger sustained winds and gusts are expected in much of western Minnesota.

Many roads are a mess, and some are closed:

Some power outages have been reported:

The big picture

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale Forecast System model shows the potential precipitation pattern today through Friday:

NOAA NAM simulated radar Thursday through Friday evening, 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 or rain.

The highest snow amounts Thursday into Thursday evening will be in western Minnesota into parts of northern Minnesota. Winds will be howling, as the center of the low-pressure system moves from Iowa into southern Minnesota.

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 and snow potential

Blizzard warnings continue for much of western Minnesota and central Minnesota until 10 a.m. Friday:

NWS Twin Cities

Here are the warning details:

URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN
318 AM CDT Thu Apr 11 2019

…MAJOR WINTER STORM CONTINUES INTO FRIDAY…

.A Blizzard Warning remains in effect west of a line from Redwood
Falls to Saint Cloud. A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect
north of a line from Fairmont to Zumbrota to Eau Claire. A Winter
Weather Advisory remains in effect for portions of south central
Minnesota.

The next band of heavy snow will lift north across central
Minnesota and northern Wisconsin early this morning. Snowfall
rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible with this band.
Warmer air aloft will turn the snow to sleet Thursday morning
along and south of a line from Redwood Falls to Saint Cloud to
Mora. The sleet could turn to rain by afternoon across southern
and eastern Minnesota into western Wisconsin, while heavy snow
continues across western Minnesota.

Storm total snowfall amounts of more than 20 inches are likely
across western Minnesota where the heaviest snowfall is expected.
Amounts of 8 to 16 inches are expected in areas under the Winter
Storm Warning, with amounts decreasing from west to east across
Minnesota into Wisconsin. Additional accumulations of 1 to
4 inches are possible in areas under the Winter Weather Advisory.

Winds will increase tonight with gusts of 45 to 55 mph today.
This will produce areas of blowing snow over much of central and
southern Minnesota into western Wisconsin. Blizzard conditions are
likely across west central Minnesota, but could develop for a
brief time this morning over the rest of central and eastern
Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro, before the transition
to sleet occurs. Travel will likely become impossible across
western Minnesota Thursday, and will be extremely difficult
elsewhere this morning.

MNZ041-047>049-054>058-064-065-073-111630-
/O.CON.KMPX.BZ.W.0004.000000T0000Z-190412T1500Z/
Douglas-Stevens-Pope-Stearns-Lac Qui Parle-Swift-Chippewa-
Kandiyohi-Meeker-Yellow Medicine-Renville-Redwood-
Including the cities of Alexandria, Morris, Glenwood, St Cloud,
Madison, Benson, Montevideo, Willmar, Litchfield, Granite Falls,
Olivia, and Redwood Falls
318 AM CDT Thu Apr 11 2019

…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CDT FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Blizzard conditions. Additional snow accumulations of
12 to 20 inches. Winds gusting as high as 55 mph.

* WHERE…Portions of central, southwest and west central
Minnesota.

* WHEN…Until 10 AM CDT Friday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult to
impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce
visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning
or evening commute. Strong winds could cause extensive damage
to trees and power lines.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

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

Ice storm warnings continue until 7 a.m. Friday in Rock, Nobles and Jackson counties of southwestern Minnesota.

Winter storm warnings continue for the Twin Cities metro area and much of south-central and northern Minnesota plus western Wisconsin until 10 a.m. Friday. Details of the winter storm warning:

318 AM CDT Thu Apr 11 2019

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 10 AM CDT
FRIDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy mixed precipitation. Additional snow accumulations
of 5 to 10 inches and ice accumulations of around one tenth of
an inch. Winds gusting as high as 55 mph.

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

* WHEN…Until 10 AM CDT Friday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Travel could be very difficult to
impossible. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce
visibility. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning
or evening commute. Strong winds could cause extensive damage
to trees and power lines.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet
and ice will make travel very hazardous or impossible.

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 National Weather Service depiction of additional snow from this storm:

NWS Twin Cities

Additional accumulations of snow (and probably some sleet) could range from around 2 inches on the southeast side of the Twin Cities metro area to 3 or 4 inches on the far northwest side of the metro area this Thursday and Thursday night. Some patchy light freezing rain is also possible.

Here’s how the storm looks to the northeast:

NWS Duluth

Huge waves are expected to roll in off of Lake Superior Thursday afternoon and early evening:

NWS Duluth

It’ll be interesting to watch the Duluth harbor cam Thursday!

Winter storm warnings continue in northeastern Minnesota, plus parts of north-central and northwestern Minnesota:

NWS Twin Cities

You can check for forecast updates from the National Weather Service 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.

Snow totals

The snow total at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was 8 inches from Wednesday through 7 a.m. this Thursday. An updated total will be released early this afternoon.

You can check snow accumulations as they are posted by the NWS. Hover over a location on their snow map site to see the snow total and the time of observation. There were already several reports of 8 inches or more from this storm in this morning snapshot:

NWS Twin Cities

Programming note

MPR news will have updates on this winter storm throughout the day.

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.