A looming winter storm is expected to arrive beginning late Sunday across a broad swath of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area, forecasters said Sunday.
The National Weather Service in Chanhassen issued an updated forecast calling for anywhere from 3 to 7 inches of snow to accumulate starting from Sunday night and stretching into the Monday evening commute in the Twin Cities.
One additional ingredient is anticipated to make conditions even more challenging for metro inhabitants. "Wind gusts as high as 35 mph will cause patchy, blowing and drifting snow," the weather service said in a statement issued shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday.
For points south, folks there should see even more snow and more robust winds, according to the NWS.
A blizzard warning has been posted for much of southern Minnesota, with 8 to 14 inches the anticipated range of depth for areas in and around Mankato, Fairmont, St. James.
The NWS statement explains why it is playing the blizzard card: "Gusts up to 40 mph during the heavy snow period will lead to blizzard conditions in a portion of south-central Minnesota. Farther east, winds will be in the 20 to 30 MPH range and cause blowing and drifting snow."
Also, the weather service has put the Albert Lea area on warning to be prepared for freezing rain to create "light ice accumulation."
That aside, the forecast envisioned more than a foot of snow for southern Minnesota by Monday evening, falling in a broad band running from Sioux Falls, S.D., east and north to Mankato, Fairmont, Albert Lea, Rochester, Red Wing and Eau Claire, Wis.
The amount of snowfall will gradually decrease to the north and west, with just an inch or so in St. Cloud, Hinckley and Duluth. Northwestern Minnesota, well-seasoned for lots of snow this winter and every winter, will get little or no snow this time.
The snow isn’t expected to begin falling until late Sunday, right after the Vikings championship game victory.
With Monday’s high near 32 in the metro, the snow is likely to be heavy and wet, unlike the light, fluffy snow the area got last week.
Sunshine will return Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs in the mid-20s in the metro area.