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North Dakota blizzard takes aim; mostly rain for MSP

One to 2 feet of snow and 60 mph wind gusts possible

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Here we go.

The seasonal upper air pattern has morphed enough to produce the season’s first major winter-type storm system in the Dakotas. Wintry impacts will also affect northwest Minnesota with accumulating snow. The Twin Cities and eastern Minnesota will see mostly rain with this one. All of Minnesota will feel the bite of a much colder air mass as we move toward the weekend.

Winter storm warnings are up for North Dakota. Watches are up for northwest Minnesota.

The storm

Here’s the beast. Watch the low-pressure system wind up and push north from Kansas into northern Minnesota. The elongated low is stretched like taffy early on but consolidates as it deepens to near 994 millibars of pressure over northwest Minnesota.

Rain dominates the storm’s warmer eastern side. Rain to snow rules eastern North Dakota and the Red River Valley. Eventually, the cold air sweeps underneath the system to change what’s left to snow.

Canadian model through Saturday
Canadian model through Saturday
Environment Canada via tropical tidbits

‘Crippling’ blizzard potential for North Dakota

The National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, N.D., isn’t pulling any forecast punches here. This storm has shut down ferocity with 1 to 2 feet of snow and wind gusts between 40 and 60 mph, in open country. Interstate 94 across North Dakota will be no place to be the next few days.

Over 2 feet of snow looks likely across eastern North Dakota. Northwest Minnesota picks up significant accumulation with this system. Most of central and southern Minnesota will see a few flakes, but little if any accumulation Friday night and Saturday.

Here’s the Canadian model snowfall output.

Canadian model snowfall potential by Sunday AM
Canadian model snowfall potential by Sunday morning
Environment Canada via tropical tidbits

Here’s the National Weather Service Twin Cities output for Minnesota.

Snowfall projection
Snowfall projection
Twin Cities National Weather Service

Forecast: Colder!

We’re all going to feel the front blow through Friday. This will be the coldest air so far this season for most of Minnesota.

Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
Temperature forecast for Twin Cities
NOAA via Weather Bell