WILLMAR — The time has come to close the windows, turn on the heat and dig out the sweaters. The first major fall storm has arrived and could even bring the area its first glimpse of snow.
According to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Willmar will have chances of precipitation from Thursday night through Saturday night. While it should start with rain, and perhaps even a stray thunderstorm, by Friday morning it could possibly change over to some snow showers, depending on the temperatures and storm track. The forecast for Saturday is calling for likely snow showers, which could end up dropping less than an inch on lawns.
The high temperature for Thursday was near 55 degrees. Friday's high could drop into the upper 30s, with a low of 30 Friday night. Saturday during the day could be even colder, with a high of only 34. Sunday is only expected to reach around 37. The first three days of next week also look to be on the chilly side, with highs in the mid-40s and lows in the 30s.
The historical average temperature for Minnesota on Oct. 11 is 61 degrees, according to Accu Weather.
Adding another layer to the incoming weather system is high winds. Winds could reach between 15 to 20 mph Friday, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Friday night could see winds around 20 mph, with gusts reaching 30 mph. The winds continue through Saturday night, with sustained winds speeds between 10 to 20 mph and gusts between 30 and 35 mph.
While the weather in west central Minnesota isn't pleasant, it could be worse. Counties in north central North Dakota were under a blizzard warning from Friday morning through Saturday morning, with even more under a winter storm warning. The weather service is forecasting winds between 40 and 60 mph and anywhere from one to three feet of snow, with even higher local amounts possible. Flood warnings have also been issued for the Red River.