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Winter may finally be on its way

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It could be a white Christmas after all.

The National Weather Service in Duluth on Friday issued a winter storm watch for Saturday night through Sunday for northeast Minnesota, including the Brainerd lakes area.

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The watch includes the counties of Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison and Todd counties. Mike Stewart, meteorologist with the weather service, said between 7 to 9 inches of snow are possible for Brainerd.

“It looks like a pretty significant storm,” Stewart said. “Why we’re getting so much, compared to last year, is because this system is tapping into Gulf moisture. That’s what usually gives us heavier snow.

“Last winter, we could never tap into that moisture from the Gulf. It didn’t happen until March, when nobody wanted it.”

Stewart said snow is expected to start between 6-9 p.m. Saturday night, with the heaviest snow falling around midnight. Snowfall should taper off Sunday afternoon.

With winds gusting to 20 mph Friday night and 20-25 mph Sunday, Stewart said there’s a good chance of blowing and drifting snow. He advised people to not travel Sunday.

“I wouldn’t go out,” Stewart said. “The conditions aren’t going to be well. Let the road crews get to it first.”

If you must travel, the weather service advised motorists to have a winter survival kit in the vehicle and to have a supply of household essentials including food, medicine and baby items.

Unlike the first dusting in the area on Thanksgiving Day, Stewart said this snowfall should stay around for a while as temperatures are expected to remain cold. The high temperature on Monday is expected to be 14 degrees, followed by 24 degrees Tuesday, 28 degrees Wednesday and 8 degrees Thursday.

While the long-range forecast isn’t yet clear, Stewart said there’s a chance of the snow staying through Christmas.

“I think people were getting a little worried when we lost our snow from before,” Stewart said.

MATT ERICKSON, Night Editor, may be reached at 855-5857 or matt.erickson@brainerddispatch.com.

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