The first round of highly anticipated snow arrived late Thursday and early Friday.
A quick half-inch to 2 inches was expected before the snow tapered off, the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities said. Then steady snow was expected to start mid- to late Friday morning.
“That will impact both commutes,” said Chris Franks, a Weather Service meteorologist in Chanhassen.
That second wave was forecast to include heavier bands of snow across the state. By the time it ends Saturday morning, 6 to 10 inches of snow is likely to be piled up along a line from Marshall to Mankato to the Twin Cities and Red Wing.
Places like Morris, Willmar and St. Cloud and along Interstate 90 could see up to 8 inches, the National Weather Service said.
And if the snow wasn't enough, then the cold really arrives.
Saturday and Sunday, the coldest December temperatures since 2000 will grip the state, with the mercury sinking to near 20 below, Franks said.
“This is more typical for January, but we have had some good ones [cold snaps] in December,” Franks said.
Winds gusting to 30 miles per hour will create windchills of 30 to 45 below by early Sunday morning and make for difficult travel. The consistency of the snow will be similar to the fluffy variety that fell last weekend, meaning it will blow around, Franks said.
“It won’t be enough to be a true blizzard, but it will be a big problem keeping the roads open,” he said.
With the dangerous conditions combined with arctic cold, the Weather Service warned drivers to keep blankets, food, water and flashlights in their cars in case of an emergency.
Xcel Energy said it has crews and equipment ready to respond to potential electric outages. The utility also suggested keeping battery-powered radios, a first-aid kit and a phone that does not require electricity at the ready. Residential customers should call 1-800-895-1999 should their power go out.
“Motorists and airline passengers may want to explore an alternate or more southern routes as confidence is high that there will be widespread, major travel disruptions with this storm,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
Bloomington middle- and high-school students will be released 20 minutes early Friday.
“By dismissing secondary schools 20 minutes early, our school buses can stay on schedule, given the challenges of the weather and traffic in difficult conditions,” a notice to parents read. Elementary school students will leave at their normally scheduled time.
By Monday, a 30-degree temperature jump is in the forecast. Highs by midweek are expected to be in the mid- to upper-20s, which is typical this time of year.