5-12 inches of snow predicted, storm's track is uncertain for Crow Wing and Cass counties
Areas could see more or less snow by Thursday night
So just how much snow are we expecting?
There's a lot of uncertainty in this area. We could see a shift in either direction at this point.
For the Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Crosslake and Pine River areas — well, it’s hard to say for sure right now, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
But 5-12 inches of snow are forecast for the lower three-quarters of Crow Wing County.
“There's a lot of uncertainty in this area,” Bryan Howell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth, said late Tuesday morning, Feb. 21. “We could see a shift in either direction at this point …”
From Pequot Lakes to Pine River, any little shift in the storm track will raise or lower snow amounts, he said.
“So that's one of the areas we're concerned about. So right now we've got 5 to 12 inches. The 12 inches is going to be more towards the Brainerd area, potentially over towards Lake Mille Lacs, with the lower amount as you head into the northern part of Crow Wing County to southern Cass.”
Here’s what we do know:
- This storm was to start Tuesday night and go through Thursday night.
- There’s that sharp line where areas north won’t see anything and areas south will see a lot of snow. The exact location of that line wasn’t known with 100% certainty late Tuesday morning.
- Crow Wing County is part of a winter weather advisory and 5-12 inches of snow is possible by 6 p.m. Thursday. Moderate impacts are expected.
- A first round of 1-4 inches of snow was expected to fall Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday morning, followed by a lull. This comes after the several inch snowfall Monday, Feb. 20.
- A second round of heavier snowfall is expected Wednesday night to midday Thursday, tapering off Thursday afternoon and night. A winter storm watch will start at noon Wednesday for the lakes area, but that could be upgraded sooner.
“This is where we're going to see those dangerous travel conditions, especially as we head into Thursday morning,” Howell said. “So the Thursday morning commute is going to be pretty messy.”
- Winds will start to gust, blowing snow.
“Wind gusts are going to be blowing 30 to 40 mph leaving the blowing and drifting snow strongest from about mid afternoon Wednesday through late evening Wednesday,” Howell said.
There are no wind chill advisories for the Brainerd lakes area, but that could change Thursday and Friday mornings.
“This is going to be more of a drier snow. So this is going to be right to blow around. So that's going to help with those whiteout conditions,” he said.
- The brunt of the storm may drop up to 2 feet of snow south of the Brainerd lakes area, with the entire central and southern part of the state projected to be hit.
“In terms of the track, the track has been remarkably consistent from run to run here for almost a week at this point,” Howell said. “So if there's any change at this point, it's just going to be a little wobble and it's not going to be that far of a shift north or south. We're not expecting any significant shifts at this point.”
- The storm has been named “Winter Storm Olive.”
Visit www.pineandlakes.com for updated information on this powerful storm system as its track is more certain.
- Tuesday night: Snow before 2 a.m., then a chance of flurries between 2 and 3 a.m. Low around 1. Blustery, with a northeast wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around an inch is possible.
- Wednesday, Feb. 22: A chance of flurries between 2 and 4 p.m., then a slight chance of snow after 4 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 14. Blustery, with a northeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
- Wednesday night: Snow, mainly after midnight. Widespread blowing snow, mainly after 5 a.m. Low around 1 below zero. Blustery, with a northeast wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches is possible.
- Thursday, Feb. 23: Snow, mainly before noon. Widespread blowing snow, mainly before 8 a.m. High near 6. Blustery, with a north wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is possible.
- Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14 below zero. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
- Friday, Feb. 24: Mostly sunny, with a high near 8. Northwest wind around 5 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
- Friday night: A slight chance of snow before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4 below zero. South wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
- Saturday, Feb. 25: Partly sunny, with a high near 19. South wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
- Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 1 below zero. West wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
- Sunday, Feb. 26: Sunny, with a high near 29. South wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
State Farm Insurance shared an email with tips for drivers during winter storms.
With Winter Storm Olive predicted to bring some of the heaviest snowfall and blizzard conditions in more than 12 years to parts of the state, travel will likely become difficult — if not impossible — in some areas, the news release says.
Nearly 25% of yearly weather-related crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. Road conditions are expected to deteriorate, and State Farm is urging those who must drive to prepare their vehicles for safe travel.
Drivers should do these three things:
- Prepare trunks with a winter survival car kit.
- Fill up the fuel tank and make sure tires are fully inflated.
- Talk to your insurance agent about emergency roadside assistance coverage.
Here’s what should be in your winter survival car kit:
- Hats, gloves, scarves and wool socks.
- Hand and foot warmers.
Stay visible and connected
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Bright cloth to tie on your car or flares.
- Phone charger.
- Jumper cables or external battery charger.
- Small snow shovel and ice scraper.
- Fire extinguisher and wiper fluid.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.