Just days after more than a foot of snow fell in parts of Cass and northern Crow Wing counties, more snow is on the way.
A lot more.
The National Weather Service in Duluth issued a winter storm warning for Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties effective 7 p.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Saturday.
Mike Stewart, meteorologist with the weather service, said the storm, moving out of the central plains states, will drop 8-14 inches of snow by Saturday morning in the Brainerd area.
"It's going to be a doozy of an early spring storm," Stewart said.
3-5 p.m. Thursday: 40 percent chance of snow, 20 mph winds, temperatures in the upper 30s.
6 p.m.-midnight Thursday: 60 percent chance of snow, 20 mph winds, temperatures 32-33 degrees.
1 a.m.-5 a.m. Friday: 60-70 percent chance of snow, 24-25 mph winds, temperatures 31-32 degrees.
7 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday: 70-80 percent chance of snow, 21-23 mph winds, temperatures 31-32 degrees.
3-5 p.m. Friday: 90 percent chance of snow, 21-23 mph winds, temperatures 33 degrees.
The winter storm watch extends from Lac Qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties along the South Dakota border in southwestern Minnesota to Cook County in the extreme northeastern part of the state. The east-central part of the state, including Wadena County, and the Twin Cities area is in a winter storm watch, with 7-10 inches of snow possible. Areas around Duluth are in a blizzard warning.
Travel in central Minnesota could be hazardous during the winter storm, Stewart said, with winds as high as 35 mph expected Thursday and Friday.
Lyndon Robjent, Crow Wing County Highway engineer, said he has been in on conference calls with the National Weather Service and will be monitoring the storm to determine when highway crews will be working.
Crews and equipment, fresh from clearing snow Sunday and Monday, will be ready for whatever snow comes Thursday night and Friday, he said.
"This is pretty late though," Robjent said. "Usually we get a humdinger in March, like last year. To have one this big in April is unusual."
Recent snowfall, though a burden for travelers and a nuisance for those wanting warm spring weather, will have a long-term benefit for the Brainerd area.
Most of Crow Wing County has been listed as abnormally dry in the U.S. Drought Monitor, the lowest level of drought conditions that have plagued the area the last three years.
Sunday's snow coupled with the possibility of more Thursday will go a long way to erasing moisture deficits, said Pete Boulay, assistant state climatologist with the Minnesota State Climatology Office.
"The more these storms keep coming at us, the more we start with a clean slate later this spring," Boulay said. "It was definitely something we needed with that swath of snow Sunday and it looks like this next one will be a good thing, too."
The snow probably won't last through next week, Stewart said, as high temperatures are expected to creep into the mid-50s by Monday.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.
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