Heading out Thursday to see grandparents? Or Friday to see friends for a festive party?
Nope. Scrap those plans.
That’s the latest word from the National Weather Service as the latest – and coldest – weather storm is bearing down on the NWCT area just in time for the holiday weekend.
Christmas travel plans are going to be dramatically impacted, as snow, cold and high winds will make for a “life-threatening” weather situation, according to experts.
Here are the phases.
Phase 1 – Snow, sometimes heavy, arrives in Minnesota on Wednesday morning and hits the Twin Cities around the lunch hour. In all 5 to 8 inches of new powder will drop on most areas, but it’s not the snow amounts that have weather forecasters nervous. It’s what comes next.
Phase 2 – Wednesday night into Thursday, snow will taper, but the temperature will plummet. By 8 a.m. Thursday, the actual temp is forecast to be 8 degrees below zero, with the “feels like” a numbing 32 below zero. By 10 a.m., as the winds rise, that could hit 35 to 40 below.
Phase 3 – Wind, ground blizzard conditions and whiteouts west of the Wright County area. Traveling south or west? Forget it. Winds – SUSTAINED – at 40 mph with gust between 50 and 60 mph will white out areas, blow larger vehicles off roads and create black ice on bridges and culverts. This will last Thursday afternoon through Saturday.
Phase 4 – Consistent “feels like” temperatures 20 to 30 below zero through Saturday and Sunday, with a bit of a reprieve finally coming Sunday night – at 4 below.
Here’s the rundown from the NWS:
...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM WEDNESDAY TO NOON CST THURSDAY... ...WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM THURSDAY TO NOON CST SATURDAY... ...BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON THURSDAY TO 6 AM CST SATURDAY... * WHAT...For the Winter Storm Warning, heavy snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 8 inches. Winds gusting as high as 35 mph. For the Blizzard Warning, blizzard conditions expected. Winds gusting as high as 50 mph. For the Wind Chill Warning, dangerously cold wind chills expected. Wind chills as low as 40 below zero. * WHERE...Portions of central, south central, southwest and west central Minnesota. * WHEN...For the Winter Storm Warning, from 6 AM Wednesday to noon CST Thursday. For the Blizzard Warning, from noon Thursday to 6 AM CST Saturday. For the Wind Chill Warning, from 6 AM Thursday to noon CST Saturday. * IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult or impossible. Widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches. The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...This could be a life-threatening situation if you get stranded traveling late this week. Consider adjusting any travel plans now. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS... Travel should be restricted to emergencies only. If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle. The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5 1 1. Road conditions can also be found at 511mn.org for Minnesota or 511wi.gov for Wisconsin.