Heavy snow expected to roll across southern Minnesota Thursday morning

  • Updated: February 22, 2012 - 6:15 PM

Recent snows have reduced wildfire danger

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Kate Silver of Lakeville and everybody else hereabouts got a reminder that winter might still get the last laugh. One to three inches of snow – fantastic for building snowmen, not so great on the business end of a shovel or gumming up a snowblower chute – fell Monday and into Tuesday. Much turned to slush.

Heavy snow is expected to roll across southern Minnesota Thursday morning with the potential to bog down travel along Interstate 90 and disrupt school schedules, while sparing the Twin Cities.

The storm, traveling southeastward from North Dakota and on into Iowa and western Wisconsin, is expected to drop its heaviest load of snow along the Minnesota-Iowa border.

Some forecast models Wednesday were indicating double-digit depths, said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Franks. The storm has "high-end potential," Franks said. The deepest snow was expected to fall in an east-west band perhaps only 20 to 30 miles wide, although its exact location was uncertain Wednesday.

Recent snows across the state after an extremely dry fall and winter have eased earlier fears of an unusually early and severe wildfire season. Most of the state had some snowcover Wednesday, less than a week after roughly half the state, including all of central Minnesota, showed none.

Some small fires were reported on the outer edges of the Twin Cities last week.

"We're looking at a pretty much normal March now," said Jean Goad, spokeswoman for the Interagency Fire Center, based in Grand Rapids. A slow snowmelt followed by rain would be ideal, she added. The national Climate Prediction Center has identified a trend toward above-normal precipitation for most of Minnesota in March.

BILL MCAULIFFE

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