On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

How much snow will fall? Do you need to shovel? What to know about the storm

Share story

Tony Francour shovels snow off of his driveway in North Mankato.
Tony Francour shoveled snow off of his driveway in North Mankato last April. Another powerful April snowstorm is set to arrive in Minnesota this week, dumping as much as 2 feet of snow in parts of the state.
Jackson Forderer | Mankato Free Press 2018

Updated: April 10, 6:26 a.m. | Posted: April 9, 7:22 a.m.

You didn't get cocky and put away the shovel, did you? 

For the second year in a row, Mother Nature is unleashing a powerful April snowstorm spanning several days that could dump a foot or more of snow on parts of Minnesota. 

Here's what you need to know about the storm, which is expected to arrive in force by Wednesday. 

How much will fall?

The heaviest accumulations are expected across west-central Minnesota, which could get up to 2 feet of snow. 

Double-digit snowfall totals could run as far north as a Brainerd-Duluth-North Shore line.

The Twin Cities is in line for about 5 inches, while Mankato could end up with 4. Rochester could see just an inch of snow. 

The storm will bring a combination of rain, sleet and snow to southern and central Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin. Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour will be possible at times, while wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph could lead to blizzard conditions in west-central Minnesota. 

A blizzard warning is in effect northwest of a line from Redwood Falls to St. Cloud, while a winter storm warning is in effect for much of central Minnesota. 

Keep in mind, though, that minor variations in the storm track could continue to change the snowfall totals, according to the National Weather Service. 

When will the snow arrive?

An initial band of rain, sleet and snow will move through southwestern Minnesota early Wednesday, turning into all snow by late morning as it heads north. 

Heavy snow is expected to reach western and central Minnesota by evening and continue through Thursday night, gradually tapering off Friday morning. 

Will I need to shovel?

We've heard from a few people who have declared that they refuse to shovel. It is April — and spring — after all. Won't it just all melt? 

Paul Osterman pulls one son in a sled behind him while another follows.
Paul Osterman pulled his son John, 4, in a sled behind him with James, 10, following closely behind as they made their way toward Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato last April.
Jackson Forderer | Mankato Free Press

A seven-day outlook does show the Twin Cities climbing back to the mid-40s and 50s by next week. But the weather service says yes, you will likely need to shovel because the show could stick around for a few days. 

How common are April snowstorms?

Fairly common. 

According to the Department of Natural Resources' climatology office, "the transition from winter to spring can spawn some rather strong storms and given the right conditions, can also tap into the leftover cool air from the winter."

The 24-hour state record for snowfall in April dates back to 1933, when the old Pigeon River Bridge crossing in Cook County saw 28 inches in one day on April 5. 

Meanwhile, the largest April snowstorm on record in the Twin Cities happened just last year, when 15.8 inches fell between April 13-16. 

In fact, the Twin Cities had two major storms last April — the first was April 2-3 when 9 inches fell. That puts it at No. 9 on the top 10 list.