The National Weather Service in Duluth is anticipating a pair of storms in the Brainerd lakes area starting with a fast downfall of wet, heavy snow Wednesday, Nov. 27.
“Unless the storm track shifts further west we expect snowfall amounts to range anywhere from 0-5 inches,” said Steve Gohde, observing program leader with the National Weather Service in Duluth.
Gohde said Crow Wing County is under a winter storm watch and may get the brunt of that prediction.
“We split Cass into north and south, and right now, neither of those are in the winter storm watch at this time,” Gohde said Monday, Nov. 25.
The storm is expected to hit early Wednesday morning and wind down starting at noon. Those traveling outside of Crow Wing or Cass counties should take extra precautions, as the roads will be sloppy with wet, wind-driven snow and drifts near open areas.
“The Wednesday morning time frame is going to be pretty nasty east of you with heavy snowfall and rains in the early morning hours lasting through midday with strong northeast winds off Lake Superior affecting most areas,” Gohde said. “The I35 corridor can be tricky from Duluth to the Twin Cities area. Anyone traveling may want to keep a close eye on the forecast.”
People are advised to plan their traveling to avoid encountering this storm system. Temperatures Wednesday after the snowfall will reach the mid to upper 20s with lows in the teens. Thanksgiving Day is expected to be cold with another bigger and longer storm on its heels.
“After midnight Friday night into Saturday, right now it looks like a big swath stretching from the North Dakota border from west to east and it looks like all of eastern North Dakota, central Minnesota over to all of Wisconsin,” Gohde said. “It is a large system. It's not going to clear out until what looks like after the weekend is over. It's a longer duration event as well.”
Again, Gohde said Monday it was too early to predict snowfall amounts, but the storm has the moisture and “ingredients” necessary for heavy snowfalls. Temperatures following the storm could continue to drop into the single digits.
Gohde said the state is currently well below its average monthly snowfall.
“Normal seasonal values so far for snowfall for the month is about 6 ½ inches for November,” Gohde said. “We've had 1.4 inches. We're behind on snowfall but we had an early cold snap and made some ice out there. The average daily snowfall is about 3/10 of an inch.”
In retrospect, the Brainerd lakes area has had plenty of extreme snowfall numbers by comparison. In 1983, the November monthly snow total was 28.5 inches, with 27 inches in 1988.
In preparation for winter weather leading into the Thanksgiving Day weekend, Gohde reminds travelers to keep a charged cell phone, pack an emergency kit and drive safely.
“With this being kind of one of the first snow events of the season, folks always have to remember winter driving techniques,” Gohde said. “Take it slow, leave extra room between vehicles.”
Gohde also recommends checking in regularly for official weather forecasts.