A new winter storm is now taking shape over the Midwest and is expected to bring heavy snow and strong winds to the Upper Midwest. Moderate Impacts from this storm are expected from Des Moines north to the Twin Cities with isolated areas potentially receiving major impacts meaning there will be major disruptions in day to day life and there might be some property damage. The storm is expected to begin forming tonight and everyone must be ready for when it does come as it will be severe.
Current Information & Forecast
A low pressure system is currently developing over Southwestern Wisconsin and over the next few hours will begin organizing bringing some rain and snow to the region. By around 6pm CST the system will begin to rapidly strengthen and the rain will change to snow and become relatively heavy. Winds will also begin to pick up in Iowa and later Minnesota and could as high as 50-60mph. By 11pm CST as the storm storm continues to strengthen, snow will over take most of Minnesota and Iowa and last all through the night and well into the morning. It won’t be until late Friday morning that snow will lift over Eastern Iowa and Southern Wisconsin as the storm dips south over Missouri. However, the snow will not lift along the I-35 corridor until late Friday night and this region is expected to receive the heaviest snow. Ahead of this storm, Blizzard Warnings are currently in effect for a large area including extreme Northwestern Missouri, the Western half of Iowa, Southwestern Minnesota, Eastern South Dakota and Eastern Nebraska. A small region in Southeastern Minnesota is currently under a Winter Storm Warning and Winter Storm Watches are in effect for most of Missouri and Wisconsin, the rest of Iowa and Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota.
Impacts will very from region to region. The heaviest snow will fall over Southern Minnesota (south of the Twin Cities) and Northern to Central Iowa. Here 8-12″ of snow are expected, though it will be over a large time span meaning periods of heavy snowfall (>1″ an hour) does not seem likely. However, gusty winds between 30-40mph are possible which will cause drifting, blowing snow and periodic blizzard conditions. A more certain area to receive blizzard conditions is West of this region along and East of the Missouri River. Here lighter totals of 2-6″ of snow are expected, though winds will be howling at around 60mph. Power outages are very likely and significant tree damage is also possible. Blowing snow will create near impossible driving conditions, especially since the highest winds are expected at night. Do not drive during this time as very dangerous driving conditions and accidents are almost certain. Stay home and prepare for extended time there until the conditions let up.
North of this region in Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, lighter snow totals of less than 4″ are expected. However, gusty winds can not be rule our here and 40-50mph winds gusts are possible in Western Minnesota while 20mph wind gusts are expected on the eastern side. in Wisconsin, totals of 3-4″ are likely but winds will be lighter here as well ranging from 10-20mph wind gusts. Missouri will experience mainly less than 3″ of snow across the state but winds will increase southeast (where 10-20mph gusts are expected) to northwest (where 50mph winds gusts are expected with Blizzard Warnings in effect). Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will mainly experience scattered snow showers with less than an 2″ of snow across the states but gusty winds are possible in Illinois reaching up to 20-25mph.
Be prepared for when this storm arrives, prepare for power outages and potentially some tree damage and by no means go driving in the worst conditions. Listen to local weather authorities and the National Weather Service for the latest information and follow Force Thirteen US Twitter and YouTube channels for the latest updates. Be ready when this storm comes and most importantly, be safe.