Though Brainerd area residents have been ready for spring-like weather for the past couple weeks, Mother Nature decided to pull an April Fools' Day joke.
Aitkin, southern Cass and Crow Wing counties were in a snow and blowing snow advisory throughout Monday and into early Tuesday. Heavier snow was expected to fall south of Brainerd.
The National Weather Service in Duluth forecast between 1-2 inches of snow Monday afternoon and 2 inches of snow late Monday and early Tuesday in the Brainerd area. By late Monday afternoon about an inch of snow had fallen.
In Little Falls, 3-7 inches of snow was expected by Tuesday morning; in St. Cloud 4-8 inches and in Minneapolis 4-10 inches. As of 3:30 p.m. Monday more than 3.5 inches of snow had fallen in Little Falls.
It's a case of deja vu for Brainerd, though on a much smaller scale. On April 2-3 in 2007, 11 inches of snow fell in Brainerd. No where near that amount was expected by Tuesday.
Two students on Monday afternoon caught snowflakes during a heavy snowfall after school at Riverside Elementary School in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
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"Probably all together you'll get 3-5 inches and it's going to be wet," said Mike Stewart, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth. "It's going to make for interesting driving."
Making conditions worse will be the wind, which was 10-15 mph Monday afternoon but was expected to increase to 20-30 mph late Monday and early Tuesday, Stewart said. Travel problems are expected due to reduced visibility of less than one-half of a mile in the heavy snow bands, areas of blowing snow and slush on the roadways.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation listed good driving conditions in Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison and Todd counties and difficult driving conditions in Aitkin and Mille Lacs counties with icy patches, snow and slush on roadways and limited visibility until about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Jenny Seelen, spokeswoman with the MnDOT District 3 office in Baxter, said area road conditions were expected to deteriorate Monday night as the temperature dropped.
MnDOT crews would be working a split shift into Tuesday to keep roadways clear and to apply salt and chemical when needed, Seelen said.
"We're right on the cusp. We could get some more snow or we might not," Seelen said. "This is typical weather where people underestimate it. The main driving lane is open, the passing lane has slush and people are trying to pass and next thing they know they're in the ditch. People need to slow down."
Don't expect the snow to last. Tuesday's forecast is partly sunny skies with a high temperature of 42 degrees.
"The highs are going to be in the 40s the rest of the week," Stewart said. "That's not too bad."
There's a 20 percent chance of rain or light snow Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the weather service reported.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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