UPDATE: Blizzard Conditions Expected, Powerful Winter Storm Headed Toward St. Michael
The winter storm watch has now been upgraded to a warning from Saturday night at midnight to 6 p.m. Monday for the entire Wright County area.
UPDATE 9:39 a.m. Sunday —
The National Weather Service's latest information for Wright County released early Sunday morning states blizzard conditions are expected for the area.
Around 7 a.m. Sunday, the weather service also stated thunderstorms are possible along with the winter storm.
The area is still under both a winter storm warning and a hazardous weather outlook.
The short term forecast from the National Weather Service beginning Sunday morning is:
.NOW... MOISTURE STREAMING NORTH OUT OF IOWA WILL CONTINUE TO PRODUCE MAINLY LIGHT SNOW...WITH SCATTERED AREAS OF FREEZING DRIZZLE OR ICE PELLETS ACROSS MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN HALF OF MINNESOTA INTO THE 9 AM HOUR. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS IN THE ONE HALF INCH...TO NEAR TWO INCH CATEGORY WILL BE ENCOUNTERED OVER MOST OF THE REGION PRIOR TO 10 AM. HEAVIEST AMOUNTS WILL OCCUR WEST OF A LINE...FROM MILACA TO NEW PRAGUE TO WELLS. A GLAZING OF ICE SHOULD ALSO BE EXPECTED OVER MUCH OF THE REGION...ASSOCIATED WITH SCATTERED FREEZING DRIZZLE. DRIVERS ARE URGED TO CURB THEIR SPEED...AND ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO REACH THEIR DESTINATIONS. ADDITIONAL SNOWFALL IS ANTICIPATED ACROSS THE REGION INTO AT LEAST THE MID-AFTERNOON HOURS.
The latest winter storm warning states:
...WINTER STORM IS NOW BEGINNING... ...A BLIZZARD IS EXPECTED TONIGHT AND MONDAY OVER WESTERN MINNESOTA... .
A SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM IS BEGINNING TO IMPACT THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. FOR WEST CENTRAL AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA...HEAVY SNOW IS EXPECTED TODAY THROUGH THIS EVENING. BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE THEN EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THIS EVENING AND PERSIST THROUGH MONDAY NEAR THE MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY AS WINDS GUST AS HIGH AS 45 MPH. FOR SOUTHERN AND EASTERN MINNESOTA AND WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN...A PERIOD OF HEAVY PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TODAY. THE PRECIPITATION WILL TAPER OFF LATE THIS AFTERNOON BEFORE ANOTHER AREA OF MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW DEVELOPS ALONG A LINE FROM ALBERT LEA TO RED WING AND EAU CLAIRE THIS EVENING.
A WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM TODAY INTO MONDAY ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM NEW ULM THROUGH THE TWIN CITIES METRO TO LADYSMITH...WITH A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY SOUTH OF THERE. A BLIZZARD WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA THROUGH THE MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY FOR TONIGHT AND MONDAY.
TOTAL SNOW ACCUMULATIONS WILL RANGE FROM 7 TO 12 INCHES IN LOCATIONS THAT RECEIVE ALL SNOW...MAINLY WEST CENTRAL AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA. LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS OF OVER A FOOT ARE POSSIBLE NEAR THE SOUTH DAKOTA BORDER. WHERE MIXED PRECIPITATION OCCURS FURTHER SOUTHEAST... TOTALS WILL GENERALLY RANGE FROM 3 TO 8 INCHES.
Original Post, 10:53 p.m. Saturday —
National Weather Service now predicts the St. Michael area and Wright County will get seven to 11 inches of snow as the powerful storm "Orko" sweeps across Minnesota.
A winter storm warning is in effect for Wright County from midnight Sunday through 6 a.m. Monday, the weather service announced around 8 p.m. Saturday.
A "wintry mix" of snow, freezing rain and sleet tonight, is expected to be followed by snow and rain Sunday, and heavy snow up to 11 inches Sunday night into Monday morning. Strong winds on Sunday night will make for "blizzard conditions" with hazardous travel conditions.
The snow accumulations of seven to 11 inches are possible in locations across Wright, Stearns, Carver, McLeod and Meeker counties. Parts of the Twin Cities are expected to receive four to eight inches. Snow accumulations for this storm will increase from south to north.
The weather service's "urgent winter weather message" for Wright County released around 8 p.m. tonight states:
...WINTER STORM FROM LATE NIGHT THROUGH MONDAY... .A SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM WILL IMPACT THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH MONDAY. HEAVY SNOW IS EXPECTED ACROSS WEST CENTRAL AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA... AND IS POSSIBLE ACROSS EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND MUCH OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT. BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE IN WESTERN AND PORTIONS OF SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA LATE SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY. A WINTER STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FROM LATE TONIGHT INTO MONDAY ALONG AND NORTH OF A LINE FROM NEW ULM THROUGH THE NORTHERN TWIN CITIES METRO TO LADYSMITH... WITH A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY SOUTH OF THERE. A BLIZZARD WATCH IS IN EFFECT FROM WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA THROUGH THE MINNESOTA RIVER VALLEY FOR LATE SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY.
UNCERTAINTY REMAINS THIS EVENING AS TO HOW MUCH ACCUMULATING SNOW WILL BE LOST TO MIXED PRECIPITATION ACROSS SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA AND WESTERN WISCONSIN ON SUNDAY... BUT CONFIDENCE REMAINS HIGH THAT HEAVY SNOW WILL FALL ACROSS WEST CENTRAL AND CENTRAL MINNESOTA INTO PORTIONS OF WEST CENTRAL WISCONSIN. THE HIGHEST SNOW TOTALS WILL BE NORTHWEST OF A REDWOOD FALLS TO CAMBRIDGE LINE. SOUTH AND EAST OF THAT LINE... SOME FREEZING RAIN... SLEET AND RAIN COULD MIX WITH SNOW FOR A PERIOD OF TIME ON SUNDAY... TRANSITIONING BACK TO ALL SNOW SUNDAY NIGHT. LOCATIONS THAT RECEIVE ALL SNOW CAN EXPECT TOTALS OF 7 TO 12 INCHES... WITH LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE. WHERE MIXED PRECIPITATION OCCURS... TOTALS WILL GENERALLY RANGE FROM 3 TO 8 INCHES... WITH LOWER AMOUNTS NEAR THE IOWA BORDER.
SUNDAY EVENING... STRONG NORTHWEST WINDS WILL DEVELOP ACROSS WESTERN MINNESOTA... AND PERSIST THROUGH MONDAY AS THEY BUILD INTO SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA. SUSTAINED WINDS OF 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS AS HIGH AS 40 MPH CAN BE EXPECTED. THESE WINDS WILL LEAD TO BLOWING SNOW AND POSSIBLE BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ACROSS THOSE AREAS LATE SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY.
...WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM CST MONDAY...
A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 6 PM CST MONDAY.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS: 7 TO 11 INCHES.
* TIMING: SNOW WILL BEGIN LATE TONIGHT... AND BECOME HEAVY ON SUNDAY... THEN TAPER OFF TO SNOW SHOWERS SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY. WINDS WILL INCREASE MONDAY MORNING AND CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW.
* MAIN IMPACTS: HEAVY WET SNOW WILL CAUSE POOR DRIVING CONDITIONS ON SUNDAY... AND THE STRONG WINDS WILL LEAD TO BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW ON MONDAY. TRAVEL WILL LIKELY BE DIFFICULT THROUGH MONDAY AFTERNOON.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT... FOOD...AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.