Heavy snow northern Minnesota Saturday night and Sunday; then windy and colder

Sub-zero wind chills Monday

St. Louis County snowplow
A St. Louis County snowplow clears a road north of Duluth in March 2013.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News 2013

A winter storm is still on track to deliver heavy snow to portions of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin Saturday evening into Sunday and Sunday night. I suspect that some roads will be impassable on Sunday due to the heavy snow and strong winds.

Forecast models agree that this weekend’s winter storm will hit northern Minnesota the hardest. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s North American Mesoscale (NAM) forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern from 6 p.m. Saturday through 11 p.m. on Sunday:

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NAM simulated radar 6 p.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Sunday
NOAA, via Tropicaltidbits.com

NOAA’s High-Resolution Rapid-Refresh (HRRR) model shows a similar precipitation pattern:

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HRRR simulated radar 6 p.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Sunday
NOAA, via Tropicaltidbits.com

Notice the tight spacing of the isobars Sunday and Sunday night, indicating very strong winds.

Snow forecasts

Snow totals from Saturday evening through Sunday evening are expected to be in the 6 to 10 inch range in much of northwestern Minnesota:

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Snow forecast Saturday evening through Sunday evening
National Weather Service

North-central and northeastern Minnesota will probably see many 8 to 12 inch totals from late Saturday night through Sunday and into Monday, with more than a foot of snow close to Lake Superior:

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Snow forecast Saturday night into early Monday
National Weather Service

Central Minnesota will tally some 4 to 6 inch amounts overnight into early Sunday.

Periods of snow are possible Saturday evening and overnight Saturday night in the Twin Cities metro area. The north metro, including Anoka County, could see an inch or two by Sunday morning. Lighter amounts are expected in the south metro. The metro area could also see a few light snow showers and sprinkles on Sunday.

You can hear updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the Minnesota Public Radio News network, and you can see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Updated Minnesota road conditions can be found here. Wisconsin road conditions can be found here.

Warnings and advisories

Winter storm warnings start at 6 p.m. this Saturday in several northwestern Minnesota counties that border the Red River. Winter storm warnings start at 9 p.m. Saturday in Roseau and Bemidji and continue through Sunday evening. Winter weather advisories (shaded blue) cover portions of central Minnesota:

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Warnings and advisories
National Weather Service

Winter storm warnings cover much of north-central and northeastern Minnesota from late Saturday night through Sunday night:

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Warnings and advisories
National Weather Service

A blizzard warning starts at 5 a.m. Sunday in portions of Cook County closest to Lake Superior.

Here are details of the blizzard warning:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Duluth MN 240 PM CST Sat Dec 4 2021 MNZ021-050845- /O.CON.KDLH.BZ.W.0001.211205T1100Z-211206T1200Z/ Southern Cook- Including the city of Grand Marais 240 PM CST Sat Dec 4 2021 ...BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 5 AM SUNDAY TO 6 AM CST MONDAY... * WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Total snow accumulations of 10 to 16 inches. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph. * WHERE...Southern Cook County. This includes the Tribal Lands of the Grand Portage Reservation. * WHEN...From 5 AM Sunday to 6 AM CST Monday. * IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The worst conditions should be during the day on Sunday. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 5 1 1. Road conditions can also be found at 511mn.org for Minnesota or 511wi.gov for Wisconsin.

Here are details of the winter storm warning in northeastern Minnesota, with “tonight” referring to Saturday night:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE National Weather Service Duluth MN 240 PM CST Sat Dec 4 2021 MNZ020-037-050845- /O.CON.KDLH.WS.W.0005.211205T0600Z-211206T1200Z/ Southern Lake-Carlton and South St. Louis- Including the cities of Two Harbors, Silver Bay, and Duluth 240 PM CST Sat Dec 4 2021 ...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 AM CST MONDAY... * WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 6 to 10 inches, except 10 to 16 inches for the higher terrain of the North Shore. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph. * WHERE...Southern Lake and Carlton and South St. Louis Counties. This includes the Tribal Lands of the Fond du Lac Band. * WHEN...From midnight tonight to 6 AM CST Monday. * IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The worst conditions should be during the day on Sunday. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food, and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency. The latest road conditions can be obtained by calling 5 1 1. Road conditions can also be found at 511mn.org for Minnesota or 511wi.gov for Wisconsin.

No advisories or warnings have been issued for the Twin Cities metro area as of Saturday evening, but a few western Wisconsin counties are in winter weather advisories late Saturday evening and overnight Saturday night:

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Warnings and advisories
National Weather Service

Advisory maps may be updated by the NWS overnight and early on Sunday. You can hear updated weather information for Minnesota and western Wisconsin on the Minnesota Public Radio News network, and you can see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Temperature trends

Sunday highs will range from the 20s in far northern Minnesota to 40s in the far south:

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Sunday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Winds ramp up on Sunday and Sunday night:

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Forecast peak wind gusts Sunday p.m. into Monday
National Weather Service

Temperatures will plummet Sunday night, and Monday highs will be in the single digits to the north, with teens south:

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Monday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Wind chill temps will be well below zero on Monday in many locations.

Back to forecast highs, Twin Cities highs are projected to reach the lower 20s on Tuesday, followed by upper 20s Wednesday then mid 30s Thursday and Friday.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on MPR News at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:39 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.

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