Snow, wind could bring blizzard conditions; Ice, wet snow may not blow

Published 6:55 am Monday, March 2, 2015

March came in like a lamb on Sunday, but southern Minnesota could see the lion late Monday and Tuesday.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for Mower County for 3 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, but it could upgrade to a blizzard warning.

“We’re still trying to figure out exact snow totals and how much wind totals will be in that area,” NWS meteorologist Jeff Boyne said.

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The Austin area could see about 2 to 4 inches of snow starting around midnight Monday, with the heaviest coming Tuesday morning. Sleet and freezing rain are also possible, and snowfall totals could be lower if the area sees more ice and sleet.

The biggest issue could be the wind. Winds are expected to increase to 23 to 28 mph Tuesday with 30 to 40 mph gusts, which could cause blowing, drifting and reduced visibilities.

Blizzard-like conditions are possible, and a blizzard warning is slated to last from 9 a.m. from 9 p.m. Tuesday in Freeborn County, where similar snowfall totals are expected, but where wind gusts could reach 45 mph.

However, Boyme said the snow will likely be heavy and wet.

“The snows tomorrow are going to be much wetter with high water content,” he said.

Because of this, the snow may not blow as easily, which is one reason for the delay in the decision to upgrade to a blizzard warning.

“It’s heavier and just doesn’t move as readily,” he said.

“If it was all light snow it would be an easy decision right now,” he added.

Monday’s high will be 23 with a low of 19, and Tuesday will see a high of 28, before dropping to a low of minus 2 with wind chills near 19.

Blustery conditions will continue Wednesday with 15 to 20 mph winds with 28 mph gusts. Wednesday will reach a high of about 6 degrees with a low of 12 below.

However, warmer conditions are expected this weekend as highs could reach 30 on Friday, 33 on Saturday and 34 on Sunday.