Winter storm bears down on lakes area | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Winter storm bears down on lakes area

Road conditions to deteriorate rapidly

Posted: March 3, 2013 - 9:56pm

A winter storm warning is in effect for central Minnesota with some of the heaviest snow expected in the Brainerd lakes area.

The National Weather Service in Duluth reported significant snow across much of Minnesota is likely and road conditions will deteriorate rapidly, particularly for Tuesday morning commutes. It’s been a tough storm for meteorologists to get a firm handle on with computer models giving different storm tracks.

“Our confidence is the highest in your area, but this system overall our weather models haven’t had a great handle on it,” said Amanda Graning, National Weather Service meteorologist in Duluth. “As always with any winter storm there is a little give and take, but right now the Brainerd area is looking to be in the bull’s-eye.”

The Brainerd area may get 6 to 9 inches of snow by the time the storm dies out late Tuesday if the predicted storm path is realized. Temperatures favor a heavy, wet snow and conditions may remain sloppy with a warming trend.

Graning said the storm is expected to push in about daybreak Monday, March 4. The snow may be light through the day becoming heavier by late afternoon into the night. Overnight may see the bulk of the snow with residents waking up to the white stuff Tuesday morning.

“Tuesday morning looks to be the most difficult travel time,” Graning said, noting driving from Brainerd to the Twin Cities and points west to North Dakota will likely be tricky.

The winter storm warning took effect 3 a.m. Monday and extends to 4 p.m. Tuesday. The storm is coming in from the west. When it arrives visibility may drop to a half mile at times Monday night and early Tuesday morning. Winds from the east to northeast will add to the mix blowing at 10 to 20 mph with higher gusts.

The weather service predicted the snow may start after 4 a.m. Monday but noted the bulk of the snow arrives later in the day and over night. Monday’s high may reach 27 degrees with winds gusting up to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100 percent, the weather service reported. During the day 2 to 4 inches may fall with another 3 to 5 inches accumulating Monday night. The overnight low may drop to 17 degrees. By Tuesday, the snow is expected to end by noon. Once the snow clears out, shoveling weather should at least be warm with a high Tuesday of 29 degrees. But don’t expect it all to melt right away. Wednesday’s high may top out near 28 degrees.

But by Thursday, Friday and Saturday, temps are expected to rebound to 34 degrees each day. The normal high for this time of year is now 33 degrees. There is a slight chance for more snow Thursday night. By Sunday, temperatures may rise to 37 degrees beneath mostly sunny skies.

“We’re flirting with 40 by the end of the weekend,” Graning said.

Even if shoveling involves heavy, wet snow relief for the winter weary is near at hand. Spring is officially 16 days away.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.