Up to a foot of snow and winds topping 30 miles per hour are in the forecast for Minnesota’s third-largest city and other communities in the southeastern region of the state.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the heavy snow, 8 to 12 inches with possible blizzard-like conditions, should reach Rochester during the day Tuesday and include Albert Lea and other cities in that part of the state.
“Open and flat areas of southern Minnesota and northern Iowa will likely experience the strongest winds Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night, which could lead to blizzard conditions, including low visibilities and large snowdrifts leading to difficult travel conditions,” reads the blizzard watch from the NWS.
“In fact,” the watch continues, “some roads may become impassable Tuesday night. If you have travel plans or activities planned Tuesday and Wednesday, be sure to plan ahead. You may need to change your plans to avoid the worst conditions.”
Much of the snow will have fallen by sunset Tuesday, the weather service said, with wind gusts of 31 mph possible after dark.
The blizzard watch covers the full breadth of southern Minnesota, with varying forecasts of how much snow is anticipated. The deepest amounts are expected in the southeastern “boot” of the state, with 6 to 8 inches in Fairmont to the west and 4 to 6 inches in Mankato. Red Wing could end up with 6 to 8 inches, the NWS said.
As of the Twin Cities, the forecast is somewhat muddled, weather service meteorologist Andy Lahr said Sunday.
“There could be 2-3, maybe 4 inches of snow in the Twin Cities area,” Lahr said. “There is a lot of uncertainty in this area. One computer model has zero, another has a few inches.”
As the hours roll by, Lahr said, the snow or no-snow event for the metro area will be come more clear.
Star Tribune meteorologist Paul Douglas seconded that forecast motion for the Twin Cities, saying, “Tuesday’s potential snowfall is still an enigma wrapped in a riddle. … We could still see a few inches; it may even be plowable. But don’t trust any forecast down to the inch this far out. The science just isn’t there.”
In the meantime, the weather service is calling for highs in the Twin Cities for Sunday and Monday in the low 30s. Temperatures fall off starting Tuesday, when the snow could move in, with a high in the mid-20s and even a bit cooler come Wednesday and Thursday.