Storm severity downgraded for Twin Cities, while blizzard conditions expected to south

The storm forecast for the Twin Cities was downgraded to a “winter weather advisory” Thursday afternoon, but folks to the immediate south of the metro still faced a winter storm warning, and a bit further still to the south and west, a blizzard...

Storm severity downgraded for Twin Cities, while blizzard conditions expected to south

The storm forecast for the Twin Cities was downgraded to a “winter weather advisory” Thursday afternoon, but folks to the immediate south of the metro still faced a winter storm warning, and a bit further still to the south and west, a blizzard warning was in effect.

Meteorologist Alexandra Keclik of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen said at 4:30 p.m. Thursday that expected snowfall totals for the Twin Cities metro area have decreased. The south and western metro “may get close to 3 to 5 inches, but the north and east, they’ll likely only see 1 to 2 inches,” she said. That was sure to disappoint snow lovers, who earlier in the week were hoping for a possible 12 to 18 inches in the metro.

The snow is expected to start after 10 p.m. in the metro area, with the heaviest downfall occurring during the late morning hours on Friday, then decreasing into the evening Friday, Keclik said.

Temperatures will fall into the upper 20s on Thursday night, with 20s forecast for all day Friday.

The wide range of snowfall totals in the metro notwithstanding, “the Friday morning and afternoon commutes are expected to be significantly impacted,” the Weather Service said in a statement earlier Thursday.

Much greater depths are anticipated for south-central and southeastern Minnesota. A blizzard warning is in effect for all of the lower range of southern Minnesota, including the cities of Worthington, Mankato, Rochester and Red Wing. Some districts including Austin, were already calling off school for Friday, and in Rochester, winter parking restrictions were being put into place. Raymond Grumney Graphic: Interactive: Snowfall forecast

    Ramsey, Dakota, Scott and Washington counties remain under a winter storm warning, and more snow is expected to fall there than in the north and east metro, but the severity of the storm will be less in those counties than to those in the blizzard territory to the south.

    In anticipation of the storm and the havoc it might have on electrical power lines, Xcel Energy said Thursday that it has crews and equipment poised to respond to any service interruptions. More than 200 Xcel crew members are ready to be tapped throughout the metro area and elsewhere in Minnesota.

    The utility said its customers also can kick into preparation mode to make the best of any possible loss of electricity: sign up for power failure notifications through the “My Account” feature on the Xcel website; stay away from downed power lines and report them to Xcel at 1-800-895-1999; and keep on hand items such as a battery-powered radio or television, flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit.

    The storm is pushing out some rare February warmth. Wednesday brought a sixth recent day of record highs in the Twin Cities, where the temperature got to 58, breaking the mark of 57 from 1930.

    In St. Cloud, Wednesday’s high of 55 tied the 1961 record for that date, and in Eau Claire, Wis., a high of 57 tied a 1930 record.

     

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