The Brainerd lakes area could see 9-13 inches of snow by Sunday morning, with the heaviest snow occurring from mid-afternoon Saturday through daybreak Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
This storm has the potential for a top-15 highest two-day snowfall total in recorded history for Brainerd, according to the weather service.
All of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin is under a winter storm warning from Saturday morning through Sunday morning for what the weather service is calling a powerful Thanksgiving weekend winter storm. A prolonged period of heavy snow is expected through Sunday afternoon, with widespread 8+ inch accumulations.
Residents can expect to wake up Saturday morning to one to three inches of snow on the ground, said Bryan Howell, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Snow is forecast to become steadier late morning into early afternoon Saturday, with the heaviest snowfall from mid-afternoon Saturday through daybreak Sunday, Howell said.
“Anything during the day on Sunday would probably be an additional inch or less, but there still could be blowing snow, especially during the morning hours,” he said.
For people traveling to or from the lakes area after a long holiday weekend, Howell said that because of the long duration of this winter snow event and the likelihood of heavy and blowing snow, plows might not get out to take care of the snow until Sunday evening.
Crow Wing County said on its Facebook page that snowplows will begin plowing operations at 8 a.m. Saturday and continue into the evening. Snowplows will not be able to keep up with the falling snow throughout the day. Roads will be snow covered and difficult travel should be expected.
The weather service said one to two inch per hour snowfall rates are possible Saturday afternoon through Saturday night. Blowing and drifting snow is expected along the North Shore, where blizzard conditions and 20+ inches of snow are possible along with lakeshore flooding near the Twin Ports area. The area may see a mix of freezing drizzle at times.
For motorists, travel will become dangerous, if not impossible, particularly near Duluth north along the North Shore on Highway 61 Saturday into Sunday, the weather service said, and power outages are likely.
This storm has a potential for a top-10 highest two-day snowfall total in recorded history for Duluth.