More snow on the way?Published 10:07am Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Blizzard watch in effect for Thursday; 5 to 9 inches possible
By Jason Schoonover and Trey Mewes
Monday’s snow may have just been round one.
After 2.1 inches of snow was recorded at the Austin Wastewater Treatment Plant Monday, the National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch for Mower County from 6 a.m. Thursday through 6 a.m., Friday, as a wintry mix, heavy snow and high winds could make for poor travel conditions.
While NWS is warning the likelihood for dangerous weather is increasing, there’s still uncertainty about where the worst conditions will hit and what type of precipitation will fall. NWS meteorologists forecast 5 to 9 inches for the Austin area, but some computer models show snowfall could get as much as 18 inches in the area.
“The trends are pointing towards higher amounts of snow right now,” said Andrew Just, NWS meteorologist.
Just said the storm has yet to hit the Pacific Northwest, which has made accurately predicting where the storm will hit difficult.
However, winds could reach 25 to 30 mph with 45 mph gusts in southeast Minnesota, causing blowing, drifting and reduced visibilities. With wetter snow due to higher temperatures, road conditions could become extremely dangerous, with even worse whiteout conditions.
“Road conditions could be very bad Thursday and Thursday night,” Just said.
Temperatures Thursday are expected to reach around 34.
The winter won’t let up after that. Temperatures are expected to fall to the mid-20s Friday, followed by highs in the mid-10s Saturday and Sunday. Just said the cold snap is expected to continue through the rest of February.
While there have been nearly 50 days with temperatures below zero and one day of extreme blowing snow, the Austin area hasn’t seen many big snow storms this winter.
However, Austin has had many small snow storms this winter. According to the NWS data tracked at the Austin Wastewater Treatment Facility, there have been 29 events of more than 0.1 inches of snow and 10 snow events of more than 1 inch of snow, but only two events of more than 3 inches and none more than five.
Last winter, there were five snow storms with more than 3 inches of snow, two storms of more than 5 inches and one of 10-plus inches.
According to NWS, 27.3 inches of snow have fallen this winter — including 10 inches in both December and January — compared to 46.3 inches last winter.