Heavy snow, wind target Minnesota: 6-10 inches in Twin Cities; blizzard warning southwest

Thursday morning is already slick under a combination of rain, snow and ice

Mail carrier Dennis Niles braves the blowing snow amid a blizzard.
Mail carrier Dennis Niles braves the blowing snow in December in Osseo, Minn. A complex winter storm brings high winds and heavy snow to Minnesota through Friday.
Jerry Holt | Star Tribune via AP 2020

A complex winter storm will impact Minnesota through Friday with areas of high winds and heavy snow.

The storm is already moving through Minnesota as of Thursday morning. Coming off of Wednesday’s mild weather, morning temperatures across much of the state are in the upper 20s or 30s. So, as of 9 a.m. Thursday, most of the precipitation with this storm is light snow north, and rain switching to snow south, but there have also been a few light spots of freezing rain, including around the Twin Cities. 

weather graphic
8:40 a.m. Thursday radar
National Weather Service

This is making some roads and sidewalks slick, so travel with care.

As the storm continues through Minnesota, most of the precipitation will switch entirely to snow by late morning, although a little rain could still occasionally mix in through the day.

Heavy snow

With many storms, the light to moderate snow Thursday would be all Minnesota would see, and the storm would move off.

Unfortunately, the low-pressure center of this storm is forecast to slide just southeast of the state, then slow or even go stationary while it sits and intensifies on the southeastern edge of Minnesota.

weather graphic
Forecast storm location Friday morning
National Weather Service

That keeps Minnesota on the backside of the storm through much of Friday, with many places seeing their most significant snowfall of the storm Thursday night through Friday morning.

Given the location where the low is expected to develop, the heaviest snow is likely in south-central through southeastern Minnesota, with some places seeing up to a foot of snow.

weather graphic
Forecast snow through Friday
National Weather Service

Even the Twin Cities, which will see at least 6 to 10 inches of snow, can expect a contrast with the higher snow totals probable on the south side of the metro.

High winds

As the storm intensifies, winds also increase. It gets breezier through the day Thursday, then from Thursday night into Friday morning, high winds are expected. The gustiest winds will be in western Minnesota, with many places seeing gusts of 30 to 40 mph, and in the southwestern corner of the state, gusts could top 50 mph.

weather graphic
Forecast wind gusts Friday morning
National Weather Service

Because the combination of high winds and snow are likely to cause whiteout conditions, southwestern Minnesota is under a blizzard warning (in red) from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Friday.  

weather graphic
Warnings and advisories Thursday into Friday
National Weather Service

Where some of the heaviest snow is expected in southeastern Minnesota, a winter storm warning starts at noon Thursday (pink), and other than the Arrowhead, the remainder of Minnesota is in a winter weather advisory (purple).

Most of the snow starts winding down Friday afternoon and clears by Friday evening, and the winds finally start diminishing Friday evening.

Temperatures turn seasonable

The storm does not bring much colder air with it. Thursday remains in the 30s, then highs will be in the 20s and 30s by Friday. 

After the storm finally clears late Friday, the weekend highs turn cooler, putting most of the state in the 20s.

weather graphic
Saturday forecast high temperatures
National Weather Service

However, this is seasonable south and still above average for northern Minnesota, making the temperatures more typical for January.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:48 a.m. Monday through Friday morning.

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