WINTER STORM: Blizzard conditions, significant snow, hazardous travel conditions expected

A winter storm warning and blizzard warning will go into effect as a winter storm is expected to bring significant snowfall and hazardous travel conditions.
Snow is moving in, with heavy snow and strong winds. Winter Storm & Blizzard Warnings are in effect.
Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 7:16 AM CST
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Two rounds of snowfall will move into the area starting this afternoon with blizzard conditions and extremely hazardous travel conditions expected with significant snowfall in the area.

Today will be day 1, round 1 of the incoming winter storm as an Alberta Clipper (a strong low pressure system that will move into the area from Alberta, Canada) moves through Minnesota. This pressure system will bring in moderate snowfall to the area with snow starting between 12 and 1 pm this afternoon. Snow will continue through the remainder of the day as winds are projected to increase up to 30 mph with gusts up to 40 mph by late tonight. Snow will slowly start to fizzle out, coming to a lull by the early morning hours on Wednesday. Snow totals by 7 am Wednesday morning will likely range from 4 to 9 inches stretching from northern Iowa into central Minnesota.

Day 2/ Round 2 of the winter storm will move in through the afternoon hours on Wednesday as a Colorado Low merges with the back end of the Alberta Clipper. This will lead to a drastic increase in winds along with the heaviest snow to come. We will continue to see areas of light snow to scattered flurries from 7 am Wednesday through 3 pm Wednesday. The heavier snow will move in between 3 and 4 pm Wednesday afternoon and continue to bring significant impacts to the area the remainder of Wednesday and Thursday. As the Colorado Low merges with the back end of the Alberta Clipper, winds are expected to increase up to 35 mph with gusts ranging between 40 and 50 mph. Some areas may see stronger winds and wind gusts. Due to the strong winds expected along with the significant snow, a blizzard warning will go into effect at 3 pm Wednesday afternoon and remain in effect through 6 pm Thursday evening. These conditions will lead to extremely hazardous travel conditions and will likely lead to no travel advisories and/or closed roads at times late Wednesday into Thursday morning. We will not just be dealing with significant snow and strong winds, we will also be dealing with major drifting at times and drastically reduced visibility at times. Snow will continue through the overnight hours and into Thursday. By 7 am Thursday morning, we could see an additional 10 to 15 inches of snow from northern Iowa into southern and central Minnesota (this is on top of the 4 to 9 inches we could see Tuesday into Wednesday morning).

Round 2 of the significant snowfall will come to an end late Thursday morning. Despite the snow coming to an end, the winter storm warning will remain in effect until 3 pm Thursday while the blizzard warning will remain in effect until 6 pm Thursday. The warnings will remain in effect due to the strong winds expected to stick around. The strong will continue to lead to drifting, blowing snow, and reduced visibility. Winds will slowly start to calm down Thursday night into Friday despite remaining breezy at times. By the time the snow wraps up late Thursday morning we could see an additional 1 to 4 inches across the area. This will lead to a grand total ranging from 12 to 21 inches from northern Iowa into southern and central Minnesota. The lowest totals will be over northern Iowa while the highest totals will be situated over south central Minnesota/the MSP area.

Friday will be the coldest day of the week with morning temperatures hovering around -12 before rising into the single digits by the afternoon hours. Skies will teeter between partly cloudy and mostly cloudy with a chance for some very light snow to light flurries possible through the mid to late afternoon hours. Winds will remain breezy but not nearly as strong as Wednesday and Thursday. Friday night will remain bitter as temperatures continue to hover in the single digits by Saturday.

This weekend will be on the calmer and quieter side with sunshine throughout Saturday and most of Sunday. Temperatures will hover in the low to mid-20s through the weekend. We will see a gradual increase in cloud coverage through Sunday afternoon ahead of our next round of precipitation that could move into the area late Sunday night and throughout Monday. Due to temperatures at the surface mixed with warmer temperatures above our heads, we could see a freezing rain/snow mix late Sunday night into Monday.

Temperatures by Monday will hover in the low to mid-30s which means we may continue to see a rain, freezing rain, and snow mix throughout the day. As temperatures drop into the upper-teens and low-20s by Tuesday morning, we will see a transition from the wintery mix to light snow possible before it all clears out late Monday night.

The remainder of next week will be relatively seasonal with temperatures hovering in the upper-20s and low to mid-30s with a mix of cloudy skies and pockets of sunshine.