A blizzard warning issued by the National Weather Service stretched across virtually all of southern Minnesota, from Redwood Falls through New Ulm, Fairmont, Mankato and Albert Lea.
Whiteout conditions, caused by strong winds combining with new snowfall and the remnants of what fell last week, affected areas west and south of the Twin Cities from Sunday night into Monday morning.
Travel along Interstates 90 and 35 was forecast to be especially precarious as the current snowpack got a new layer of snow while wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour promised to create “widespread blowing snow and whiteout conditions,” according to the weather service.
For cities in the next layer north, the scenario was a bit more tame but still worthy of a winter storm warning. Temperatures above freezing meant some of the precipitation was forecast to fall more as rain than snow, and there’s less snowpack already on the ground in cities such as Alexandria, Willmar, Madison, Benson and Morris.
Wind speeds in much of west-central Minnesota were still forecast to create “scattered areas of whiteout conditions,” the warning cautioned.
Several counties in northwestern Minnesota also were under a blizzard warning until about dawn Monday. Wind gusts of as high as 50 mph were forecast by the weather service with snowfall of up to 3 inches expected in those areas.
“Travel will be very difficult,” the weather service warning read.
Communities in and around the Twin Cities, the weather service said, were in line for up to 2 inches of new snow through Monday morning. And just like so much of southern Minnesota, the weather service added, exceptionally gusty winds were expected to “cause areas of blowing and drifting snow.”
While Sunday was mild by early-February standards in the metro area, that won’t last long.
The weather service is predicting highs of no more than the mid-teens from Monday into Thursday with lows sticking a toe into minus-Fahrenheit territory.
If it’s any consolation, much of the midweek looks snow-free.