Strong winter storm arrives April 4

Potential for heavy snowfall, freezing rain, wind, rain and thunderstorms

Map showing possible storm track and snowfall potential.
The National Weather Service in Duluth is forecasting strong northwest winds, reporting they could lead to near-blizzard conditions Tuesday night, April 4, 2023, into Wednesday morning and the potential for isolated power outages.<br/><br/><br/>
Contributed / National Weather Service

BRAINERD — A strong and prolonged winter storm may bring heavy snow and freezing rain to the lakes area beginning Tuesday, April 4.

Spring seems at hand. Sunday produced sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-40s to help melt the abundant snowpack and red-breasted robins are back in force. But the landscape still abounds with deep snow and high snow banks and now it appears likely more snow will be added with snow totals of 5-13 inches possible along with ice and high winds.

It may not just be a nuisance straining strain backs and snowblowers.

The National Weather Service in Duluth is forecasting strong northwest winds, reporting they could lead to near-blizzard conditions Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and the potential for isolated power outages.

“The strongest wind gusts will be near the shores of Lake Superior, over northeast Minnesota, and inland from Duluth to Brainerd,” the weather service reported Sunday in a hazardous weather outlook. “Gusts of 40 to 60 miles per hour are possible, strongest near Lake Superior.”


Waves may reach 10-20 feet on Lake Superior.

Additional snow, 1-3 inches, may fall late Wednesday into Thursday morning. As with any storm, the details and snow totals may change as the storm progresses or shifts its track.

As of Sunday’s winter storm update, the best chance for heavy snow is over northeast Minnesota with 6 inches or more possible while freezing rain, sleet and rain farther south may lead to minor flooding.

The chance of freezing rain Tuesday night and early Wednesday extends from the Brainerd lakes area to the 1-35 corridor and into Wisconsin.

The storm will start from southwest to northeast. Look for the heaviesty snow and strongest winds from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning before tapering off Wednesday night and ending Thursday night.

The weather service’s highest confidence for 8 inches of snow or more is for Koochiching and the northern parts of Itasca, Cass and St. Louis counties. There is a greater uncertainty about snowfall along a line from Little Falls, Baxter, Brainerd and Aitkin because of the potential for the wintry mix and freezing rain. Confidence is high, at 94%, for a chance of 2 inches of snow or more across Wadena, Cass, Crow Wing and most of Todd and Aitkin counties with Morrison County possibly seeing higher snowfall amounts in the northwest part of the county.

Central Minnesota is part of a winter storm watch in effect from 6 a.m. Tuesday through 6 a.m. Thursday. The watch area extends from central Minnesota north to the international border.

“Snow accumulations of 6 inches or more are possible over north central and northeast Minnesota,” the weather service reported. “Ice accumulations up to a quarter inch are possible, mainly from the Brainerd Lakes into the Twin Ports, North Shore, and into northern Wisconsin.”


“Travel could be very difficult to impossible,” the weather service reported. “Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. … Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.”

This storm comes on the heels of a winter storm that just dumped heavy snow in the Twin Cities and had lightning, thunder and snow in St. Cloud. The heavy snow and strong winds helped to send the eagles’ nest that has been part of the DNR’s EagleCam crashing to the ground Sunday, killing the eagle chick.

With tornadoes ravaging communities, the weather pattern has been volatile early this spring. On Sunday, much of the nation from the West Coast to the Great Lakes as in some sort of weather advisory from fire watches and red flag warnings for fire danger to avalance warnings to tornado watches in Texas and winter storm watches encompasing nearly two-thirds of Minnesota from Willmar to the tip of the Arrowhead.

For the coming week

Look for a cooler Monday with mostly cloudy skies and high temperatures in the upper 30s. There is a chance of snow Monday night but the real potential for the winter storm starts Tuesday. By Wednesday night, it may look and feel like January with lows at 15 degrees and wind chill values potentially dropping to 5 degrees below. Looking at the week ahead, daytime temperatures may be in the lower 30s and cold at night with lows as cold as 5-10 degrees Thursday night and subzero wind chills continuing to make it feel even colder.

Melting days and colder nights are helpful when it comes to flood outlooks.

But for those looking to set up the family egg hunt on Easter, it appears this will be an Easter that may still feel more like winter than spring, although temperatures in the extended forecast out to Saturday call for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-40s.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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