Here it comes again; The punches keep coming with a possible 6-10 inches of snow this weekend
Published 7:26 am Friday, February 22, 2019
It just doesn’t get any better.
After Wednesday’s storm dumped over six inches on the area, another storm is ramping up for this weekend and there’s already talk of a third storm early next week.
“The confidence is there that we’re going to have impactful winter weather,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Shey. “There could be mixed precipitation, icing and there is still a threat for heavy snow and strong winds.”
Email newsletter signup
According to Shey, this system looks to break into two parts starting Friday night with a possibility of freezing drizzle, mixed with snow becoming all freezing drizzle after 5 a.m. Saturday.
On Thursday, the area was placed under a winter storm watch from 6 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m. Sunday.
Temperatures will reach into the low 30s Saturday, creating conditions for both rain and snow. That combination will turn to snow, mainly before 3 a.m., that could be heavy at times, accompanied by patchy blowing snow after 10 p.m. There’s also a chance for freezing rain during the time of heaviest snowfall.
Five to nine inches are possible throughout the night.
Making these conditions even more tricky are the winds that will pick up Sunday out of the west at 25 to 29 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph. The system will eventually give way to partly sunny conditions Sunday.
However, Shey cautions this storm may not be like the others due to the higher temperatures predicted with this storm. Snow amounts could vary one way or the other.
“This will be more of the wet, heavy variety,” Shey said. “The snow amounts we’re least confident in. These warmer type storms a few degrees difference in temps could make a difference. We could be looking more in that six to 10 inch area.”
According to the NWS, there is a 50 percent chance of snow Monday into Tuesday, but Shey doesn’t think it will be as impactful as other storms the area has suffered throughout February, and as we draw closer to spring, storms will become more difficult to predict just because of changing temperatures.
“The warmer temps gives us a little more of a mixed precipitation threat,” Shey said. “It adds a new variable. Predicting impact becomes more difficult.”
Wednesday’s storm once again hit motorists hard. According to the Minnesota State Patrol’s Twitter feed, between 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday there were 68 crashes statewide (13 with injury) and 105 vehicle spin outs and three jack-knifed semis.
In the metro area, this recent bout with Mother Nature broke the record for the snowiest February on record, amassing 30.4 inches for the month according to a Minnesota Public Radio story. The previous record was set in 1965 at 26.5.
With the potential of more snow on the way, Austin Police Chief David McKichan issued a reminder that a snow emergency is in effect and residents should be mindful of where they park their vehicles as it affects the abilities of snow plow crews to clear the streets.
“If the snow plows can’t get through, then the streets can’t get cleaned, and that affects all of us,” he said.
No parking is allowed between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. on streets covered by the ordinance. Information on the snow emergency ordinance can be found at www.ci.austin.mn.us/public-works/engineering.
McKichan said that those streets not covered under the snow emergency ordinance are subject to the even/odd parking rule, in which vehicles must park on the side of the road with even addresses on even dates and odd addresses on odd dates. The even/odd rule runs from 8 a.m. the first day until 8 a.m. the next day.
Because of the heavy snow amount and the need to get it cleared from the streets, McKichan warned that vehicles found to be in violation of the even/odd rule, thus preventing snow plows from clearing that side of the street, will be cited and towed at the same time. Vehicle owners are responsible for paying for the citation as well as the towing cost.
Approximately 30 vehicles have been towed since the snow emergency was declared, according to McKichan.
Austin Police Lt. John Mueller also stated that the APD has been receiving complaints from schools about paths on corner lots not being shoveled, preventing kids easy access to school buses. Those with properties on corner lots are required to shovel paths to the street to allow for pedestrian access.
— Michael Stoll contributed to this story