No stopping it now; Area to get dumped on again today as another system lines up

Published 7:17 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Today’s winter storm system could dump as much as 7 inches of snow on the Austin area by day’s end, with another significant system gearing up Friday to continue the month-long headache caused by shoveling, slipping and shivering.

The National Weather Service in LaCrosse, Wis., on Tuesday issued a winter storm warning that went into effect at 3 a.m. this morning and extends to 6 p.m. this evening. Total accumulations are expected to range from 5 to 7 inches with slippery travel expected. The storm will bring significant reduced visibility. As much as an inch of snow per hour could fall.

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If that wasn’t bad enough, the NWS is keeping its eye on another system that could bring more snow beginning on Friday and continuing through Saturday and Sunday, according to NWS meteorologist Jeff Makowski.

He said the system could bring snow, rain, or a wintry mix.

“It’s a bit too early to say” what form the precipitation will take, he added, “but there is definitely potential for significant weather.”

A wide band of precipitation will cover central and southern Minnesota, south into Iowa and take in almost all of Wisconsin, he added. The chance of precipitation falling in the form of snow increases in the northerly portion of the band.

Chances for precipitation start at 50 percent on Friday and grow to 90 percent on Saturday, and then fall — slightly — to 70 percent on Sunday, according to the NWS. Wind is expected to be a factor, beginning on Saturday and extending through Sunday, with gusts up into the 30 mph range.

Temperatures will hover from the mid- to high 20s on Friday and warm to the low 30s on Saturday. Temps will then begin to dip slightly on Sunday into the 20s before cooling for a high in the teens on Monday.

Makowski said there is a good chance the next two weeks will continue to bring precipitation and cooler-than-average temperatures.

To date, Austin is not in danger of breaking its snowfall record for February, which was set in 1945 at   24.4 inches. As of Tuesday, 10.5 inches had fallen in Austin.

“(But) over the next week to 10 days, we will be on the wetter side,” he said. “And it will be an active period for weather.”