Travel could be 'impossible' Monday, NWS warns
After an extended period of mild days with above-average temperatures in the Brainerd Lakes area, the National Weather Service warned blizzard conditions were possible Monday, Dec. 4. with travel "very difficult to impossible."
A winter storm watch is in effect for much of north-central Minnesota from Monday afternoon until Monday evening. This affects north and south Cass, Crow Wing, north Aitkin and Wadena counties. The watch includes the cities of Walker, Grand Rapids, Pine River, Brainerd and Hill City. Todd County is under a winter storm warning Monday, with severe winter weather expected. Morrison and Mille Lacs counties are both under winter weather advisories Monday.
Total snow accumulations of 3 to 6 inches are possible, NWS said. Winds could gust as fast as 40 miles per hour, causing white-out conditions as the northwesterly wind blows the snow around. Drifting snow could also be a factor.
The NWS forecast stated a low-pressure area would develop over Wyoming and Colorado Sunday night, which would then move through the Upper Midwest by the night of Monday, Dec. 4, and Tuesday morning.
Forecaster Dean Melde of the Duluth NWS office said the storm was expected to begin late Sunday and through most of Monday as rain, switching over to snow late Monday afternoon. Peak intensity for the Brainerd area would be during the evening hours Monday, he said. However, there was little risk of freezing rain, he said.
"We expect a fairly quick transition from rain to snow," he said. "We think temperatures will stay near or above freezing tonight and through much of the day tomorrow."
While the forecast calls for Monday's high temperature to be 43 degrees, it's expected to plummet with a low Monday night of 13 degrees. The rest of the week looks to be much closer to normal temperatures for December in Minnesota, with highs of 17, 18 and 19 degrees forecast for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
A 20 percent chance of snow lingers into Tuesday, mainly before 5 p.m., and Thursday also could bring snow.
According to NWS records, the record high snowfall for Dec. 4 in the Brainerd area occurred in 1970, when 8 inches fell.