Blizzard warning issued for west central Minn., wind chills dangerous overnight
Blizzard conditions are developing in west central Minnesota later this afternoon along with dangerous wind chills by nightfall, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
The blizzard warning was issued at 3 p.m. this afternoon and runs through noon Sunday.
A powerful Arctic cold front will move through the region later this afternoon with northwest winds of 30 to 35 mph. Gusts of 40 to 45 mph along the Minnesota River Valley in western Minnesota are expected.
Although little snow fall is expected, these winds will persist overnight and cause blowing and drifting of the current snow pack that is in place. The blowing snow will make poor visibility and lead to whiteout conditions. Some roads may be impassible Saturday night.
In addition, temperatures will plummet overnight, with wind chills of 35 to 40 below zero by Sunday morning. These wind chill values could cause frostbite within minutes.
The combination of these weather elements will make travel extremely dangerous for motorists, especially if stranded. The National Weather Service recommends no travel. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.
The blizzard warning is in effect for the following counties of Douglas, Stevens, Pope, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Yellow Medicine, Renville, Redwood, Brown and Watonwan, and including the cities of Alexandria, Morris, Glenwood, Madison, Benson, Montevideo, Willmar, Granite Falls, Olivia, Redwood Falls, New Ulm and St. James.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for central and eastern Minnesota Saturday evening. Northwest winds of 25 to 30 mph, with gusts near 40 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow. Temperatures will fall overnight with wind chills 25 to 35 below zero by Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks as issued a similar blizzard warning for much of eastern North Dakota through midnight.