A spring snowstorm will wallop parts of southern and southeastern Minnesota and west-central Minnesota on Easter Sunday, with heavy snow and high winds making for dangerous conditions well into Monday.
Late Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a winter-storm warning for southeastern Minnesota, reflecting its increasing confidence that the storm is on track. The area under the warning, which runs from 7 a.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday in eastern Minnesota, includes the metro counties of Dakota, Scott and Washington.
The heaviest snow — up to 8 to 10 inches, maybe 11 inches in some spots — will fall in the southeastern corner of the state and into west-central Wisconsin, with Rochester “in the bull’s-eye,” the NWS said.
The Twin Cities metro area will also be in the storm’s path; the forecast calls for about 5 inches at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with an inch or two less in the northwestern suburbs and an inch or two more in the southeastern suburbs, said Caleb Grunzke, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
Areas as far north as Duluth could get up to a couple of inches, he said.
The snowfall is expected to begin early Sunday as rain and continue, heavily at times, overnight Sunday.
Temperatures will start the day in the mid-to-upper 30s, sinking to the mid-20s by noon. The snow will be wet and heavy, possibly causing tree damage or power failures, the NWS said.
Snowfall will taper off by early Monday. Winds gusting up to 40 mph could move some around if it’s not too heavy to lift.
The ground will remain white for at least a couple of days. The forecast calls for temperatures to stay in the mid- to upper 30s, with mostly cloudy skies, on Monday and Tuesday. But from there, with the strong April sun shining by midweek and temps climbing into the 50s by Friday, melting should proceed quickly, the NWS said.
If it seems like Minnesota has been getting a lot of these weird April snowstorms in recent years, you’re half right. There were April snowstorms in 2018 and 2019, too — but snow in April isn’t all that weird, Grunzke said. This year will be the fourth in a decade (the other was 2013) that at least 5 inches of snow have fallen in April.
“We did get some snow [in April] in 2017, but it wasn’t anything to get excited about,” he said.
The record late date for substantial April snow was in 1984, when 6.6 inches fell in the Twin Cities on April 29. Snow after that is pretty rare, although 3 inches fell on May 20, 1892.
This storm could break the record for April 12, which is 6 inches in 1962, and will easily come in at least second.
The NWS is advising against travel on Easter Sunday, but then again Gov. Tim Walz has already advised against travel as part of the effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
On the bright side, with many churches already streaming their services on video this year, people who want to attend church on Sunday won’t have to miss it.