Storms dumps heavy snow on Valley

Blowing snow, newWeather closes schools, snarls morning commute

The St. Croix Valley remains under a winter storm warning until 6 p.m. today as a slow moving system dumped heavy snow on the region, forcing schools to close and making a mess of the morning commute.

Although the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen had no snowfall reports from Washington County observers, meteorologist Joe Calderone said accumulations of up to one foot in places was likely.

“We’ve been calling for amounts here in the metro of 7 to 12 inches. This wasn’t unexpected,” he said.

Snow began falling overnight and continued this morning, leading Independent School District 834 officials to close schools and cancel activities today. Among the activities affectd was tonight’s special Varsity and Friends concert.

Washington County Engineer Wayne Sandberg said Washington Public Works plows were out at 4 a.m. today and no major problems were reported. He added that the decision to close schools resulted in less traffic this morning.

“The schools being closed really helped us,” he said.

Calderone said the storm got better organized Monday evening as it moved into the metro area.

“Things started to come together about 6 to 7 o’clock last night,” he said.
Calderone said snow would slowly taper off today as the storm system gradually moves east.

“We’ll have steady snow probably through at least the mid-afternoon. The low-pressure center is straddling the Minnesota-Iowa border. It’s kind of a slow mover,” he said.

Snow should taper off to flurries by early evening and end about 9 p.m. today, Calderone said.

Highs near 30 are expected across the Valley today, but lows are forecast to fall to the single digits tonight, according to the NWS forecast.

Sunshine returns Wednesday with highs near 31 and light north to northwest winds. Sandberg said Wednesday’s forecast should help crews clean up roads.

Calderone said the snow from today’s storm is not likely to last long with highs in the middle to upper 30s expected by week’s end and a rain-snow mix forecast for the weekend.

“By the time we get to Thursday and Friday, the highs get to 35 to 37,” he said. “It may melt during the day and re-freeze at night.”

The milder air is expected to last through the weekend, bringing with it the chance of mixed precipitation, Calderone said.

“During each period, it will end up being a rain-snow mix threat,” he said.