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1st snowfall could bring 6-10 inches

Nothing lasts forever. With a winter storm in the forecast the end of this week, Minnesotans are acutely aware this adage applies to a pleasant autumn with above-average temperatures. Current projections indicate 6-10 inches of snow possible betw...

Although the forecast continues to change, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday afternoon its confidence increased in central Minnesota seeing snow Thursday night into Saturday. Source: National Weather Service
Although the forecast continues to change, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday afternoon its confidence increased in central Minnesota seeing snow Thursday night into Saturday. Source: National Weather Service

Nothing lasts forever.

With a winter storm in the forecast the end of this week, Minnesotans are acutely aware this adage applies to a pleasant autumn with above-average temperatures. Current projections indicate 6-10 inches of snow possible between Thursday night and Saturday for much of central Minnesota through the Arrowhead Region.

"Our first snowfall is going to be pretty much a whopper of a storm," said Carol Christenson, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Duluth. "Winter won't come in gently. It will come in with a blast and remind us that we still live in Minnesota."

Christenson said NWS is trying to get the word out as early as possible about the storm, especially because of the unseasonably warm fall weather much of the state is experiencing.

"It's been exceptionally warm," she said. "Some areas have yet to receive a killing freeze."

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Nick Eades, manager of Ace Hardware in Brainerd, said his store experienced an uptick in shovel, sand and salt sales Tuesday as word spread of the likely impending storm. He said snowblowers started to sell in August, but as the winter season approached sales increased on winter items.

"We've sold lots of shovels today," Eades said. "We had one gentleman walk out with five of them."

Eades said people don't seem afraid to prepare for winter this year, in part because of the leisurely fall without much threat of snow.

"We've had such a nice, warm fall," Eades said. "We have to pay for the nice fall."

Often, the first snowfall arrives in the state in late October or early November, Christenson said, placing this storm "a bit late" in comparison.

Although confidence in the storm's likely location has increased slightly, the NWS reported possible storm locations range over nearly 800 miles, stretching from the northern Texas Panhandle to central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.

"First we expect rain, and then we expect snow," Christenson said. "So there is going to be a period of time where the snow will not stick."

The warm ground early in the snow season makes it trickier to forecast snowfall totals, and it's early enough the forecast could change. Colder temperatures are expected to prevail in the Northland following the storm, however, increasing the likelihood what does fall will remain on the ground.

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"It's going to be quite cold," Christenson said. "Low temperatures could be down into the 20s, 10 to 20 degrees cooler than now."

Bill Leatham, meteorologist at NWS in Duluth, reported the average first snowfall date for Brainerd going back to 1950 is Nov. 12. If it snows this week, that's five to six days later than average. The earliest snowfall date on record in the last 66 years was Oct. 14, occurring in 1997 when 1 inch of snow fell. Two years later saw the latest snowfall on record in that time, occurring Dec. 16.

Related Topics: WINTER STORM
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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