Blizzard warnings west, snowy and dicey morning rush hours ahead Wednesday

Stronger storm system cranks up snow and wind across Minnesota later Tuesday night

Heavy snow in parts of the Twin Cities metro area
Layla Smith (right) helps Anika Carlson (left) clear snow from her car in south Minneapolis on Dec. 11, 2021.
Tim Evans for MPR News, file

Here we go again.

Our next winter weather maker cranks up with snow and wind across Minnesota through Wednesday. Light snow is already falling across parts of northern Minnesota as of Tuesday afternoon. Snowfall will increase in coverage through Wednesday across Minnesota.

The latest forecast model trends suggest a stronger storm that may dump heavier snowfall totals across Minnesota through Wednesday.

Here’s the breakdown of our inbound weather system.

Storm track and timing

A low-pressure system tracks from near Sioux Falls, S.D., to the Twin Cities into Wisconsin over the next 24 hours. NOAA’s NAM 3 km resolution model tracks the system and increased snow coverage between 3 p.m. Tuesday and 6 p.m. Wednesday.

NOAA NAM 3 km model
NOAA NAM 3 km model 3 p.m. Tuesday to 6 p.m. Wednesday
NOAA via tropical tidbits

As you can see on the loop above, snowfall will increase across northern Minnesota through Tuesday evening. The Twin Cities may see a few snow showers early in the evening, with the bulk of the snow arriving later in the evening through the overnight hours into Wednesday.

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Also, note the tightening pressure gradient behind the surface low. That means winds will crank up pretty quickly across Minnesota tonight. Gusts will reach 50 mph in open areas.

Wind forecast
Wind forecast
NOAA

Snowfall totals

Tuesday’s forecast model runs suggest a stronger system. Many forecast models are cranking out heavier snowfall totals across Minnesota compared to Monday’s forecasts.

The Canadian model is on the conservative side of many solutions. It suggests snowfall totals as far south as the Twin Cities could reach 2 to 5 inches. A wider band of 4 to 8 inches looks increasingly likely across northern Minnesota. Lake enhancement and lake effect snowfall should push totals into the 6 to 12-inch range along Lake Superior.

Snowfall projection
Canadian model snowfall projection through Wednesday
Environment Canada via pivotal weather

The latest forecast model trends suggest Tuesday morning’s snowfall projection from NOAA for Minnesota could be revised upward. Here’s the graphic from Tuesday morning.

weather graphic
Forecast snowfall through Wednesday
National Weather Service

Warnings and advisories

Winter weather advisories cover most of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Blizzard warnings are up for the Red River Valley and much of western Minnesota. Again, if current forecast model trends pan out, I would expect winter storm warnings may be added across parts of northern Minnesota later Tuesday afternoon.

Including the cities of Ada, Twin Valley, Halstad, Moorhead, Breckenridge, Fergus Falls, Elbow Lake, Hoffman, Ashby, Herman, Barrett, and Wahpeton

1151 AM CST Tue Jan 4 2022

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM CST WEDNESDAY...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Total snow accumulations of 1 to 5 inches. Winds gusting as high as 45 mph.

* WHERE...The Ada to Fergus Falls corridor.

* WHEN...From 6 PM this evening to 9 AM CST Wednesday.

* IMPACTS...Widespread blowing snow will significantly reduce the visibility. The hazardous conditions will impact the Wednesday morning commute.

Icy and dicey Wednesday morning rush hours

Temperatures will be falling by Wednesday morning. Increasing snow and high winds will make for a very challenging rush hour Wednesday morning.

Expect local icing and snow-packed roads. Plan on much longer commute times Wednesday morning, and near blizzard to blizzard conditions in open areas in central and western Minnesota.

Stay safe Minnesota.