Brainerd lakes area residents and most of the Northland have a potential to see 4 inches or more of new snow accumulation by Friday night, Jan. 14.

A prolonged period of snowfall will affect much of the Northland for Thursday into Friday night, reports the National Weather Service in Duluth. Accumulating snow will impact both work commutes Thursday and Friday. The weather service reports the track of the system remains in question, which may have an impact on where the highest snowfall totals will occur. “Considerable uncertainty still exists within the models, but confidence is increasing in that much of the region will see impacts from this system,” the weather service reports.

The storm is expected to hit Wednesday night with a brief period of freezing rain before the precipitation turns to snow. Icy road conditions are expected. The snowfall is expected to continue Thursday through Friday night.

The Brainerd lakes area has a 57% chance to receive 4 inches or more snow. The higher percentages of snow is farther north and along Lake Superior. Big Falls and Silver Bay have a 70% chance to see 4 inches or more of snow.

Regional outlook

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Areas outside of the Brainerd lakes area appear to be in the same boat, weatherwise. Todd, Morrison and Mille Lacs counties, along with central and southern Minnesota are expected to see several inches of snow and strong northwest winds Wednesday through Monday, according to the National Weather Service in Twin Cities.

At the Wadena Municipal Airport, the weather service reports an expectation for a wintry mix Wednesday night through Friday. Chance of precipitation is between 50-60% throughout the storm period. Snow likely will be patchy and blowing Thursday night into Friday.

RELATED: What will a La Nina winter bring to the lakes area?

Brainerd lakes area detailed forecast

Wednesday night: A chance of freezing rain before 1 a.m., then a chance of rain or freezing rain between 1-2 a.m. and then a chance of rain, snow and freezing rain after 2 a.m. Increasing clouds, with a temperature falling to near 28 by 10 p.m., then rising to around 35 during the remainder of the night. Light and variable wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the evening.

Winds could gust as high as 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50% for the remainder of the night.

Thursday: A chance of rain, snow and freezing rain before 8 a.m., then a chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35. Breezy, with a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. At night, snow is likely mainly after 7 p.m. Mostly cloudy with a low around 22. Blustery, with a north wind of 15 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Friday: Snow likely. Patchy blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 29. Blustery, with a north wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. Snow likely, mainly before 7 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 14. Blustery, with a northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

Weekend: Temperatures highs are expected to be near 21-22, with lows around 8 degrees. Wind gusts Saturday could be as high as 20 mph and are expected to calm down Sunday.

Driving tips for winter driving:

  • Clear snow and ice from windows and lights.

  • Brake early. Leave twice the amount of room for stopping.

  • Don’t use cruise control in wintry conditions.

  • Don’t cut in front of other vehicles.

  • Take it slow, delay travel if feasible.