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Winter storm takes aim at Minnesota; updated warnings

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Winter storm update

The latest computer model information shows significant snow and wind over much of southern Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin late Sunday night through Monday evening.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern from Sunday evening through Monday evening:

rt121nam
NOAA NAM simulated radar from Sunday evening through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

Notice that the precipitation could start as a mix of snow, sleet and light freezing rain in southeastern Minnesota Sunday night.

The color chart to the right of the loop refers to the strength of the signal that returns to the radar, not to the amount of snow, sleet or rain.

The NAM model cranks out some double digit snow totals in parts of southern Minnesota by late Monday:

rt121namsno
NOAA NAM snow accumulation from Sunday evening through Monday evening, via tropicaltidbits

The NAM is using a snow to water ratio of 10 to 1.

This is expected to be wet snow, with a ratio closer to 7 or 8 to 1.

A lower snow to water ratio would lower snow totals a bit, but some impressive snow totals are possible.

The highest snow accumulations are expected over southern Minnesota:

rt0121stry
NWS Twin Cities

The Twin Cities metro area is expected to ride the edge of the heaviest snow, with 8 to 12 inches possible in Scott and Dakota counties of the south metro.

The far north metro might see only a couple of inches, with a few inches of snow in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The storm track is critical, and snow projections might have to be tweaked.

Warnings and watches

Here are the watches and warnings related to this winter storm:

rt0121stry2
NWS Twin Cities

Most of the Twin Cities metro area is in a winter storm watch from 3 a.m. Monday to midnight Monday night for the potential snow total of 3-7 inches.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service Twin Cities/Chanhassen MN

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...MAJOR WINTER STORM HIGHLY LIKELY MONDAY ACROSS

SOUTHERN/EASTERN MINNESOTA INTO WESTERN WISCONSIN...

...VERY TIGHT SNOWFALL GRADIENT EXPECTED OVER THE METRO SO THE

WINTER STORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR THE METRO...

.A portion of the Winter Storm Warning has been upgraded to a

Blizzard Warning from Mankato to the south and west, including

Fairmont and St. James. The Winter Storm Warning was expanded

slightly southeast. A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from

Gaylord through the Twin Cites metro and Balsam Lake as this area

will be close to a very tight snow gradient.

A strong storm system will bring an area of heavy snow across

south central and east central Minnesota into western Wisconsin

by early Monday morning. Snowfall totals of 8 to 14 inches are

likely by Monday evening in the warning area. Strong winds with

gusts up to 40 MPH during the heavy snow period will lead to

blizzard conditions in a portion of south central MN. Farther

east, winds will be in the 20 to 30 MPH range and cause blowing

and drifting snow.

A wintry mix with a period of freezing rain is also possible

Monday morning from Albert Lea toward Eau Claire, resulting in

light ice accumulation.

Be prepared for difficult driving conditions if you have travel

plans across central or southern Minnesota and western and

northern Wisconsin.

MNZ053-059>063-066-068-WIZ014-211800-

/O.CON.KMPX.WS.A.0002.180122T0900Z-180123T0600Z/

Chisago-Wright-Hennepin-Anoka-Ramsey-Washington-McLeod-Carver-

Polk-

Including the cities of Center City, Monticello, Minneapolis,

Blaine, St Paul, Stillwater, Hutchinson, Chaska, and Osceola

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH

MONDAY EVENING...

* WHAT...Heavy snow possible. Plan on difficult travel conditions,

including during the evening commute on Monday. Total snow

accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are possible.

* WHERE...Portions of northwest Wisconsin and central and east

central Minnesota.

* WHEN...From late tonight through Monday evening.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Winds gusting as high as 35 mph will

cause patchy blowing and drifting snow.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Storm Watch means there is potential for significant

snow, sleet or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue

to monitor the latest forecasts.

Scott and Dakota counties of the south metro are in a winter storm warning from 3 a.m. Monday to midnight Monday night:

MNZ069-070-077-078-WIZ015-016-023>027-211800-

/O.CON.KMPX.WS.W.0002.180122T0900Z-180123T0600Z/

Scott-Dakota-Rice-Goodhue-Barron-Rusk-St. Croix-Pierce-Dunn-Pepin-

Chippewa-

Including the cities of Shakopee, Hastings, Faribault, Red Wing,

Rice Lake, Ladysmith, Hudson, River Falls, Prescott, Menomonie,

Durand, and Chippewa Falls

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM MONDAY TO

MIDNIGHT CST MONDAY NIGHT...

* WHAT...Heavy snow expected. Plan on difficult travel conditions,

including during the evening commute on Monday. Total snow

accumulations of 8 to 12 inches and ice accumulations of a

light glaze are expected.

* WHERE...Portions of northwest and west central Wisconsin and

east central, south central and southeast Minnesota.

* WHEN...From 3 AM Monday to midnight CST Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Winds gusting as high as 30 mph will

cause patchy blowing and drifting snow.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet

and ice are expected. This will make travel very hazardous or

impossible. The latest road conditions for Minnesota can be found

at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at 511wi.gov, or by calling

5 1 1 in either state.

Winter storm warnings are also in effect Sunday night through Monday in southeastern Minnesota, including Rochester:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

National Weather Service La Crosse WI

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...Hazardous Travel Late This Evening Through Monday...

.Travel will become hazardous late this evening through Monday

evening as a strong winter storm impacts the area. Precipitation

will initially fall as an icy wintry mix or snow, changing over

to all snow by mid morning on Monday. Snow accumulations of 6 to

locally 12 inches are expected, along with icing up to 2/10 of an

inch.

There will be a sharp gradient in snow accumulations on the

east and south edge of the heaviest band. Slight adjustments in

storm track could change snow and ice amounts within this

transition zone.

MNZ086-087-094-095-211800-

/O.UPG.KARX.WS.A.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/

/O.NEW.KARX.WS.W.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/

Dodge-Olmsted-Mower-Fillmore-

Including the cities of Dodge Center, Rochester, Austin,

and Preston

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO

MIDNIGHT CST MONDAY NIGHT...

* WHAT...Heavy snow and mixed precipitation expected. Plan on

difficult to hazardous travel conditions, including during the

Monday morning and evening commutes. Total snow and sleet

accumulations of 6 to locally 12 inches, and ice accumulations

of one tenth to two tenths of an inch are expected.

* WHERE...Dodge, Olmsted, Mower and Fillmore County.

* WHEN...9 PM today to midnight Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Be prepared for significant reductions in

visibility at times.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Winter Storm Warning means significant amounts of snow, sleet

and ice are expected. This will make travel very hazardous or

impossible. The latest road conditions for the state you are

calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1.

Blizzard warnings start 9 p.m. Sunday evening and run through Monday evening for Mankato and areas to the south and west of Mankato:

MNZ074-082-083-091-092-211800-

/O.UPG.KMPX.WS.W.0002.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/

/O.NEW.KMPX.BZ.W.0001.180122T0300Z-180123T0600Z/

Brown-Watonwan-Blue Earth-Martin-Faribault-

Including the cities of New Ulm, St James, Mankato, Fairmont,

and Blue Earth

356 AM CST Sun Jan 21 2018

...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO MIDNIGHT

CST MONDAY NIGHT...

* WHAT...Blizzard conditions expected. Travel will be very

dangerous to impossible, including during the evening commute on

Monday. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches are

expected.

* WHERE...Brown, Watonwan, Blue Earth, Martin and Faribault

Counties.

* WHEN...From 9 PM this evening to midnight CST Monday night.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Winds gusting as high as 40 mph will

cause whiteout conditions in blowing snow. Significant

drifting of the snow is likely.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are

expected or occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds

and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout

conditions, making travel extremely dangerous. Do not travel. If

you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get

stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for

Minnesota can be found at 511mn.org and for Wisconsin at

511wi.gov, or by calling 5 1 1 in either state.

The NWS Twin Cities office has an interactive map to find forecast updates for your specific location.

We’ll monitor changes in the forecast models and give you updates as the storm gets closer.

Updated weather information can be heard on the Minnesota Public Radio Network, and you can read about weather updates on the MPR News live weather blog.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.