Paul Douglas: Get ready for significant travel impacts with the coming snow and cold
A round of heavy snow is bearing down on Central Minnesota and that is going to be followed by unseasonably cold temperatures through the week.
The Twin Cities National Weather Service says a prolonged winter storm is likely late Sunday night through Tuesday night with significant snow accumulation and areas of blowing snow. The wind could be especially troublesome in areas outside the metro.
WCCO Meteorologist Paul Douglas says it’s too soon for specific amounts but expect it to be one of the bigger snowfalls of the winter so far.
"There is a very good chance of a plowable snowfall early next week, with a focus on accumulating powder Monday and Tuesday,” Douglas says. “This will be a long-duration snow event at fairly cold temperatures (single digits and teens), which will mean powdery accumulation. That's perfect for snow-lovers, but very difficult for commuters and MnDOT crews, because salt doesn't work well at temperatures below 20F.”
Douglas says travel is going to be especially impacted by the storm.
“I suspect getting around the first few days of next week will be very difficult, no matter how much falls,” Douglas explains. “It's still early to pin down specific snowfall amounts, but most of Minnesota will pick up at least four to five inches, with a band of 8 to 14 inches possible. Where, exactly, the axis of heaviest snow will set up is still up in the air. It could be over the metro, or over central Minnesota - but this promises to be one of the bigger snowfalls of the entire winter season.”
Sunday looks by far to be the warmest day in sight but with some heavy winds that could gust up to 30 mph. And that’s just the pregame for the storm and cold to follow.
“Soak up low 40s Sunday afternoon because next week will look and feel more like early January than early February," Douglas warns.
Highs are expected to be in the low teens starting Wednesday with overnight lows dropping below zero. For a little perspective, the average high for this time of year is closer to 30 degrees. Above zero.