WILLMAR — People shopping on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday will need to use caution on the roads this weekend.
The weather Friday and Saturday looks to be travelers’, retailers’ and shoppers’ worst nightmare on a holiday weekend.
Wintry weather began moving into the area Thursday afternoon, and a combination of rain, freezing rain and snow is expected to last into Saturday.Thursday evening,
Freezing rain was a concern for Thursday evening, said Tyler Hasenstein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen.
Areas south and southwest of Willmar, including Pope, Swift, Chippewa and Renville counties, are likely to see more freezing rain, Hasenstein said. As of Thursday afternoon, they were in a winter weather advisory.
Kandiyohi County and areas east and north are expected to get some snow. They are listed in a winter storm watch.
“We’re not expecting too much snow,” Hasenstein said, but snow totals aren’t likely to be the real story of the weekend’s travel challenges.
With the combination of rain and snow expected on top of snow earlier in the week, “it’s expected to be kind of a mess regardless,” he added.
Precipitation is expected to be light from midnight Thursday through Friday afternoon. Some thunder is possible. Saturday, more rain will move in, and winds will increase to 15-20 mph with gusts to 35 mph.
Precipitation could continue into Sunday, when the storm system moves out.
Highs this weekend are expected to be in the 30s Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Lows will be in the upper 20s Friday and Saturday nights, then drop into the teens Sunday night.
Weather is expected to be relatively quiet at the beginning of next week, Hasenstein said. Highs will be around 30, and lows around 20.
With the snow that fell before Thanksgiving, law enforcement and tow trucks were busy responding to numerous minor crashes. That could continue with the continued precipitation.
Snow totals earlier in the week varied. Olivia reported 3 inches, and Watson and Redwood Falls measured 4 inches.
Snow depths of 4 inches at Bird Island and 6.5 inches were also reported.
Mix of rain and expected to make weekend roads a mess in Minnesota.
A swath of heavy snow is forecast to extend from the Rockies in New Mexico and Colorado to the Plains of the Dakotas to areas surrounding Lake Superior in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, according to Accuweather.
The snow will fall simultaneously over a nearly 2,000-mile-long swath from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest during Friday night and Saturday, Accuweather forecasters said.
Wintry conditions are in store along a 1,000-mile-long stretch of heavy snow along Interstates 90 and 94 alone. Blizzard conditions can occur in part of this swath. The visibility could be so low at times it may be difficult to determine where the road surface actually is.