Update on Strong Winter Storm Targeting the Northland on Christmas Day
If you have plans of traveling on Christmas Day in Northern Minnesota or Northern Wisconsin, forecasts are continuing to point to a messy winter storm that will make travel difficult, or even dangerous.As the storm draws closer, the details are starting to become more clear. The bad news for those hoping to travel is that not much is changing in that forecast. There is still no complete certainty on exactly where the rain, ice, and mixed precipitation will fall or when it might change to snow, but there is growing clarity on that. Here is the latest breakdown from the National Weather Service:
UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for this storm, effective from Christmas Morning through Monday morning. See the official statement here.
The storm system looks to make its first appearance on Saturday night, bringing light freezing drizzle, mixed precipitation, and snow with it.
Light snow/mixed precipitation will grow heavier in intensity through the day on Sunday. Freezing rain and mixed precipitation are most likely south of Highway 2. North of this line, snow is more likely, with 6 inches of snow possible in places like the Iron Range, Arrowhead, and other parts of Northern Minnesota. The graphic to the right from the NWS shows cities like Duluth, parts of the Arrowhead near Lake Superior, Grand Rapids, Brainerd, St. Cloud, Moose Lake, and Northern Wisconsin seeing the mixed precipitation/sleet/freezing rain.
For this area, freezing rain may be the biggest issue with this storm. Significant icing could lead to dangerous travel conditions and power outages due to ice-covered trees and power lines.
Precipitation will change to all snow by Christmas Night for the areas experiencing mixed precipitation or freezing rain. The Duluth area could see 2-4 inches of snow by the end of this storm, depending on when the changeover to all snow occurs.
Snow is expected into Monday, tapering off through the midday hours. Windy conditions during the day as the storm moves out of the area will lead to blowing and drifting snow, continuing to make for difficult travel. Again, final snowfall totals for the Duluth area are expected to be in the range of 2-4 inches, the Iron Range and Arrowhead could see 4-6 inches, while areas south of Duluth could see less than an inch of snow.
Here is the latest snow projections from the National Weather Service for this storm: