National Weather Service issues winter storm warning for Saturday-Sunday event
WILLMAR — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for this evening and into Sunday for much of west central and central Minnesota.
The forecast calls for the weather event to develop into a winter storm with snowfall from 5 to 8 inches, strong winds, frigid temperatures and blizzard conditions west of a line from Alexandria to Willmar to Mankato.
Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, Swift, Pope, Kandiyohi, Meeker and Stearns counties are included the storm warning area, which also includes a portion of the Twin Cities metro area, the arrowhead part of the state and northwestern Wisconsin.
The storm warning is from 6 p.m. Saturday to midnight Sunday. Forecasters expect snow to be heavy at times from late this afternoon to Sunday afternoon.
Significant blowing and drifting snow is expected as strong northwest winds to develop behind the system. Wind speeds from 15 to 25 mph and gusts to 35 mph are expected on Sunday afternoon in west central Minnesota. The winds will create near blizzard conditions in open areas. The wind chill is expected to be -15 to -20 degrees.
Yellow Medicine and Renville counties are included a winter weather advisory area. The forecast for that area calls for 3 to 5 inches of snow and northwest winds from 15 to 25 mph. Residents of those areas can also expect significant blowing and drifting snow as winds increase, creating near blizzard conditions in open areas.
The blowing snow is expected to subside late Sunday evening as the winds diminish.
Snowfall Friday wasn’t heavy but it resulted in slick roads and caused havoc with weekend travelers.
Local and regional law enforcement officers were busy responding to numerous accidents, including at least one roll-over near Willmar, and vehicles in ditches.
Information about whether there were injuries involved with those mishaps was not available Friday night.
The State Patrol was investigating a fatal accident that was reported at 5:49 p.m. on state Highway 12 in Wright County. No information was available.
Road crews were out sanding roads and will likely be kept busy the rest of the weekend if the predicted snowfall becomes a reality.