Strengthening winds are leading to blizzard conditions over much of west central Minnesota.
A blizzard warning remains in effect for much of west central Minnesota and the warning has been extended until 4 p.m. this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
The warning covers the area along and west of a line from Granite Falls to Alexandria and includes cities of Morris, Starbuck, Benson, Madison and Canby. The blizzard warning area extends into the Red River Valley in northwest Minnesota and into South and North Dakota.
Northwest winds are expected to increase this morning to 25 to 30 mph, with gusts over 40 mph. This will cause significant blowing snow and visibilities in open country will often be just a few hundred feet. Brief periods of falls snow are also possible at times and this will be when whiteout conditions will be most prevalent. The wind will begin diminishing later this afternoon.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for the remainder of west central Minnesota, central Minnesota and southwest Minnesota. This includes the area from Lake Mille Lacs and Staples to St. Cloud to Willmar and Litchfield to Redwood Falls.
Light snow will continue at times through the morning with accumulations up to one inch. Of greater concern will be the strengthening wind this morning. Northwest wind will increase to 20 to 35 mph and produce blowing show in open country.
Finally, for south central Minnesota, a wind chill advisory continues until noon today. This covers the area along and south of a line from New Ulm to Mankato to Owatonna, and includes the Interstate 90 corridor. Gusty winds and temperatures near zero will result in wind chills of 20 to 30 below this morning.