A one-two punch of winter coming
It’s late February and winter looks to finally be arriving.
A significant winter storm is expected to move across northern Minnesota late Saturday, dropping 3 to 5 inches of snow in the Brainerd area and 4 to 6 inches further north, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.
A second storm is on its way Tuesday and could be even more powerful, said Steve Gohde, observing program leader at the National Weather Service in Duluth.
“It’s a one-two punch,” Gohde said. “Sunday’s storm will be like straight jab. The next one more like an upper cut.”
Snow is expected to start falling about 6 p.m. Saturday, Gohde said, and be heaviest between 6 a.m. - noon on Sunday. The heaviest snow is expected to fall north of Highway 200, along a line from Park Rapids to Duluth.
A winter storm watch was issued late Friday afternoon for all of northern Minnesota, including Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing and Wadena counties. The weather service reported road conditions are expected to deteriorate rapidly Sunday. Snow and blowing snow, aided by gusts up to 20 mph, could cause drifting in areas.
Another strong low pressure system looks to track right on the heels of the weekend storm, with snow starting again Tuesday, Gohde said. It is too early to estimate the amount of snow possible with the system, he said.
“It’s less than a 24-hour break and it starts again,” Gohde said. “That one looks more significant because it’s carrying more moisture from the south.
“We’re finally in an active pattern. With this short-term drought, maybe we can switch that right off with these two systems. This could give us our first chance for above normal precipitation for a month since August.”
For this February 3 inches of snow has fallen on Brainerd. The average for the month is 5.4 inches. In 2010 7.7 inches of snow had fallen in February. For the 2011-2012 winter, Brainerd has only received 16.5 inches of snow,
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5857.