All of western Minnesota and a large chunk of central Minnesota has been placed in a winter storm watch for Wednesday as a storm system that came onshore in the Pacific Northwest overnight is expected to move east and bring big changes to the Upper Midwest just in time for Christmas.
The National Weather Service still isn’t 100% confident in the exact storm track, and because of that there remains uncertainty for where the heaviest snow and accumulations will occur. For now, the Twin Cities and southeast Minnesota are not included in the winter storm watch, though that could easily change.
Note: We’ll have updates on snowfall forecasts and the storm track from Sven Sundgaard and Novak Weather throughout the day Tuesday.
Just because the metro isn’t included in the watch right now doesn’t mean it’s not going to snow in the Twin Cities, and it appears as though there will be at least 1-4 inches of snow in the metro, which would provide a white Christmas.
The blue line in the image below represents the snowfall range for a given area the weather service is currently projecting. It shows 1-4 inches for the metro.
But as the Duluth office of the National Weather Service points out, “uncertainty in forecast snowfall amounts remains dependent on the storm track and may change as more information becomes available.”
Models are still all over the place, showing anywhere from 2-12 inches in the Arrowhead of Minnesota and up to 9 inches just south of Duluth, the NWS notes in the Duluth forecast discussion.
Here’s a good look at what might happen. This is the NAM 3KM computer model guidance, which shows the storm impacting pretty much the entire state.
Blizzard conditions in parts of Minnesota
“Confidence is increasing in strong northwest winds of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts over 50 mph possible in western Minnesota,” the NWS says, noting that blizzard conditions are possible in the open areas of Minnesota.
Joining the snow and brisk wind will be temperatures that start out around 30 degrees Wednesday before plummeting during the day and dropping below zero overnight into Thursday. Wind chill values will be well below zero on Christmas Eve.