The Twin Cities saw on Tuesday what is expected to be back-to-back record warm days before “a potent storm” brings heavy snowfall to parts of the metro area and surrounding communities starting Thursday night and into Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
The Weather Service said Tuesday afternoon that the deepest snow totals are expected in a band stretching from Mankato in south-central Minnesota, clipping several southeast metro suburbs and such southeastern cities as Hastings and Red Wing.
Adding to the reminder that winter is far from done, this week’s record-breaking warmth notwithstanding, “strong winds will accompany this system, along with much colder temperatures,” a statement from the Weather Service read.
As for the best estimate of just how much snow will fall in the Twin Cities area, NWS meteorologist Eric Ahasic said, “We’re now thinking it’s trending toward 8 to 12 inches,” with the south and east metro the most vulnerable.
“This is definitely a potent storm,” he said. “The north metro might not have too much of an impact, while the south metro is busting out the snowblowers.”
A winter storm watch has been issued for the affected areas, although the Weather Service cautioned that its range could be revised northward in the next day or two.
The Buck Hill ski area in Burnsville had just two words to say on Twitter about the looming snowfall: “Bring it.”
In the meantime, the Twin Cities continued to bask in temperatures topping or hovering around record highs.
A temperature of 62 was reached Tuesday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That toppled the all-time high on a Feb. 21 of 59 set in 1930. The forecast high of 58 Wednesday would nudge off the record books the Feb. 22, 1930, reading of 57.
In western Wisconsin, organizers of the American Birkebeiner ski races announced Tuesday afternoon more contingencies to deal with warm weather and rain that has made big swaths of the ski trail system unusable and forced the cancellation of several events.
Plans seem fluid, and already the famed finish of Saturday’s race marathon in downtown Hayward has been called off because of conditions. Several Friday events are canceled, too, including the elite sprints. One scenario if there is no snow worth skiing is a running race and street party in downtown Hayward.
Come Thursday, the cool-down rolls into the region, opening the door for the snow to pile up, with highs in the Twin Cities forecast by the NWS to be barely above 30 for Thursday, Friday and into the weekend.