Valley recovers from slick Sunday

Windy, newStorm brings mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain to region

The St. Croix Valley should see gradually improving weather today as a low-pressure system responsible for a slippery end to the weekend continues moving east.

A National Weather Service winter weather advisory for the Twin Cities area, including Washington County, expired at 9 a.m. today. That was little comfort to residents facing a slow, slippery commute into both St. Paul and Minneapolis this morning. Gusty northwest winds caused some blowing and drifting snow on roads in open areas.

Driving conditions deteriorated across parts of northern and western Minnesota. The state Department of Transportation website reported the closings of Interstate 94 in both directions from the North Dakota state line to Minnesota 29 and U.S. Highway 10 from the North Dakota state line to U.S. Highway 59. The NWS said parts of western Minnesota remained under a blizzard warning this morning.

In the Valley, however, forecasters expect snow showers to wind down today and winds to diminish late in the afternoon and evening hours, according to NWS meteorologist Lisa Schmit.

“We have a few light snow showers, but the snow is over for the most part,” she said. “The northwest winds are a concern right now. By noon, that should be improving. The snow showers will taper off this afternoon and the winds this evening.”

Snowfall amounts in the region from late Saturday through this morning were three to five inches, Schmit said. The heaviest snowfall from the weekend storm was in northwest Minnesota, which saw 10 to 18 inches from Alexandria to Fergus Falls, and parts of the Dakotas, where 20 inches was reported, she added.

Schmit said warmer air aloft working into the storm resulted in more rain and freezing rain in the metro area and less snow. She added that snowfall amounts decreased rapidly as the storm moved into Wisconsin.

“The precipitation type was a challenge with this storm,” she said.
But Schmit added that moisture from the weekend storm should help ease drought conditions in several areas of the state.

“Actually, the liquid rain we had over the weekend, every little bit helps. We’re running right about normal for snowfall. That works in battling the drought,” she said.

Schmit also said as low pressure exits the region, temperatures will be mild to start the week before colder air moves in for the weekend.

“We’re not getting a strong push of Arctic air with this system,” she said.

Highs today are forecast near 28. Skies will gradually become partly cloudy tonight with a low near 10. Sunshine returns Tuesday with highs near 30. Skies turn cloudy Tuesday night with a low in the mid-teens Wednesday will be cloudy with a high near 34. The next chance of snow is Wednesday night, wtih lows falling to the low 20s.

A chance of snow lingers Valentine’s Day Thursday, with highs in the upper 20s. Colder air returns Thursday night with lows in the middle single digits.

Contact Erik Sandin at erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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