WILLMAR – Those living in central Minnesota are going to need a parka and a shovel to get through the next week. A major snowstorm, which could dump several inches of snow, followed by brutal cold will make the next several days some of the hardest winter weather the area has seen in some time.
A winter storm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, taking effect at 12 p.m. Sunday and running through 12 p.m. Monday. It covers a large swath of the state, running from the northwest tip to the southeast corner, cutting through the center of the state, including Kandiyohi, Renville, Lac qui Parle, Swift and Chippewa counties. A line of counties north and south of the warning area are under a winter weather advisory.
According to the weather service, accumulating snow is expected for all of central and southern Minnesota and into western Wisconsin starting Sunday afternoon. The snow will continue into Monday morning, with the heaviest accumulations to fall in west central Minnesota and into the Twin Cities. Those in the warning area could see 6 to 8 inches, while those in the advisory are forecasted to receive 3 to 6 inches.
High winds will also add to the storm’s impact, gusting to 45 mph. Blowing snow is a real possibility, the weather service reported, causing very difficult travel conditions. The storm is expected to impact at least the Monday morning commute. Updated road conditions can be found at www.511mn.org.
Once the snow stops frigid and dangerous temperatures move in. A wind chill watch will be in effect from Tuesday morning through Thursday morning for the same area impacted by the winter storm.
The weather service is forecasting wind chill values anywhere from 35 below zero to 60 below zero in western and central Minnesota. These wind chills can cause frostbite in as little as five minutes on exposed skin, the weather service said.
Air temperatures are expected to remain cold, below zero or a few degrees above, through Friday. Saturday’s forecast includes a warm up, with a high near 27 degrees, though there is a chance of snow.