Hold on to your shovels. Winter storm warning in effect Oct. 22

Snowfall is expected to start between 3-6 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, and could deliver heavy, wet snow up to 6-8 inches of additional snow on top of Tuesday's totals, which had widespread 4-7 inches of record-setting snowfall across the northland.

Fresh snow rests on a ornamental crab apple tree Wednesday, Oct. 21, in Brainerd. The city received 6 inches of snow from the first storm of the season Tuesday. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

It’s round two for early winter.

Another winter storm is expected to deliver fresh powder on top of the snow that fell Tuesday, which was on top of the leaves area residents no doubt thought they had much more time to rake.

Tuesday’s snow delivered widespread 4-7 inches across the region.

“It’s normal to get the first snow in October but weird to see amounts this high and let alone have three rounds of snowfall in a matter of a couple of days,” said Joe Moore, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

RELATED: October surprise - Snow fell across much of the state as winter arrives early
While there was a bit of melting Wednesday, the snowpack on the ground has staying and cooling power and will likely mean the next precipitation Thursday, Oct. 22, will be more snow than rain.


Earlier predictions for a combination of snow and rain event has changed with the temperatures.

“We think this is going to be a mainly snowfall event,” Moore said. And it could have a bit of a punch.

Wadena, Todd, Morrison, Crow Wing, Aitkin counties and the southern half of Cass County are all in a winter storm warning stretching in a band across that state that includes Alexandria and Duluth.

“That’s where we expect the greatest impacts of the storm,” said Moore.

Trees along the road to the Mississippi River landing near Evergreen Cemetery were covered Wednesday, Oct. 21, with fresh snow as the sun peeked through the branches. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The winter storm warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Friday with heavy, wet snow. With leaves still on trees, the new snow on top of Tuesday’s snowfall could mean power outages.

Moore presented the predicted storm’s path and timeline in an online update late Wednesday afternoon. Moore noted the storm could still shift north or south, moving the heavier snowfall amounts. He said it’s more likely if the storm does shift, that it will move south. But he noted there is less confidence with the forecast with this storm than was part of the previous snowfall totals. A strong area of low pressure developing out of Colorado is leading to the increased chances for accumulating snow.


The track through the winter storm warning area could bring another 6-8 inches of snow.

Moore said the snowfall map could change by Thursday morning with the heavier snowfall band shifting. The snow may begin as early as 3-6 a.m. Thursday in the Brainerd lakes area as the storm tracks to the east.

“Once it does get started though, it is going to be heavy,” Moore said. “We are expecting periods of heavy snow with this storm. … By lunchtime we’re looking at probably 4-6 inches on the ground in Brainerd.”

By Thursday afternoon and the evening commute, Moore said most of the snowfall from the event will be on the ground. Between 1-7 p.m. Thursday, the Brainerd area may see 2-3 more inches.

Neighboring Mille Lacs County is in a winter weather advisory, with smaller snowfall amounts expected. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from Leech Lake through the Arrowhead of Minnesota, and from Lake Mille Lacs through the South Shore areas of Wisconsin. Snowfall amounts of 3 to 6 inches are forecast for these areas.

After the snow, comes the wind.

“We’re also going to see northeast winds start to pick up,” Moore said.

Winds may be 10-20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph creating lower visibility.


Snow should taper off by 9-10 p.m. with light off and on snow showers.

Speckled with fresh snow, a tree frames the Mississippi River Wednesday, Oct. 21, in Brainerd. The area was covered with 6 inches of snow from Tuesday's storm. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

On the plus side, Moore said the area isn’t expected to get that cold arctic air mass following the snowstorm, which may happen a month from now.

“So it’s not going to get frigid tomorrow morning, we’re not looking at that snow turning into a block of ice,” Moore said.

Friday temperatures are expected to be above freezing, but motorists should anticipate slippery conditions Friday morning. With the amount of crashes and vehicles off the road Tuesday, drivers are still adjusting to the early winter onslaught with shortened stopping distances and slippery roads.

Moore said those traveling Thursday should check the updated forecast to see how the storm is evolving. Anyone measuring snowfall to report to the weather service should clear off their snowboards or measuring area to get a fresh measurement for the new storm totals.

Motorists should expect difficult travel conditions Thursday.


Snow totals from Tuesday’s storm

  • Baxter — 7 inches

  • Brainerd — 6 inches

  • Little Falls — 7 inches

  • Verndale — 7 inches

  • Camp Ripley — 6.5 inches

  • Pine Rivers — 4.8 inches

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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