Plan for snowy winter weekend
In a one-two punch, the snow falling Thursday night may be followed by an even more potent winter storm Saturday.
"This is looking like the snowiest week of the winter," the National Weather Service in Duluth reported in an update Thursday. "The second storm has greater potential for snow than the first storm."
The winter weather advisory with the first storm expires noon Friday, Feb. 23, with a winter storm watch in effect from 6 p.m. Saturday until noon Sunday.
But the second storm's track is less certain at this time, meaning the Brainerd lakes area may be on the lighter edge of the heaviest snow. It all depends on the storm track. Early indications were the greatest chance for the heaviest snow includes the Twin Cities northeast toward Duluth and into Wisconsin. This weekend storm may include intense snowfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour.
"This system has the potential to bring another 8 or more inches of snow to most of the Northland," the weather service reported. "A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for much of the region from Saturday night into Sunday. Travel is expected to be impacted once again during that time frame, with snow-covered and slippery roads."
Before the second snowstorm arrives, there is the question of how much snow will fall before the weekend begins. Sunrise on Friday, Feb. 23, may reveal 3-7 inches on the ground in the Brainerd lakes area, depending on the storm's path as it moves through Minnesota. As much as 6-9 inches may fall across the North Shore.
"Plan on a slow commute Friday morning with lingering snow and snow-covered roads," the weather service reported, noting motorists are likely to experience low visibility and difficult travel conditions.
Cloudy skies are expected to gradually clear, becoming mostly sunny Friday afternoon—just in time for those who are shoveling. After a crisp Thursday morning with temperatures at 10 below before 8 a.m., the thermometer rose quickly to the mid-20s and remained above 20 degrees into the night as snow began accumulating. The forecast calls for highs in the low 30s into Thursday with partly sunny skies.
Crow Wing County reported its snowplow crews would be on the road as of 4 a.m. Friday.
"Roads are expected to be snow-covered and slippery," Crow Wing County Highway Department stated on its Twitter account. "Give yourself extra time to get to your destination and please give the plows room to work."