Wind, cooler air blows into Valley

          The St. Croix Valley remains under a wind advisory until late tonight as a low-pressure system moves out of west-central Minnesota and a cold front pushes through the eastern part of the state.

The wind advisory lasts until 10 p.m. today with sustained northwest winds near 35 mph expected, along with gusts up to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen.

The gusty winds started early today and will persist into the evening hours, forecasters said.

“Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles,” said an NWS statement. “Use extra caution on east-to-west oriented roadways, including Interstate 94 from Alexandria to St. Cloud.”

The statement added that western Wisconsin would see winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph this afternoon.

“These winds will slowly diminish this evening,” forecasters added.

That same low-pressure system and cold front brought sharply cooler air to the Valley and an early-season winter storm to parts of northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

The Valley forecast calls for partly sunny skies late today with a high near 50. Windy conditions continue tonight with west winds of around 20 mph and a low near 34.

Friday will be partly sunny and breezy highs struggling to reach the upper 40s and northwest winds of 15 to 20 mph with gusts hitting 30 mph. Friday night will be breezy and cold with lows near 30 and northwest winds 10 to 17 mph with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Saturday sees cloudy skies with highs only in the upper 40s and northwest winds around 10 mph. Saturday night will be clear and cold with lows falling to the upper 20s.

Sunday will be sunny and cool with highs in the low 50s. Sunday night will be partly cloudy and not as cold with lows in the middle 30s.

Meanwhile, forecasters said the intensifying storm the brought high winds to the Valley is expected to bring snow across parts of northern Minnesota today with 6- to 12-inch accumulations possible. Winter storm warnings and advisories are in effect for northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The storm is forecast to move into Canada tonight.