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Winter Storm's Impact On St. Cloud And Central Minnesota

12/26/2018 - 8:45 AM

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How will St. Cloud and Central Minnesota be impacted by our first big winter storm of this season? It's tough to call for a St. Cloud State University Meteorology Professor Bob Weisman.

He says the biggest wild card in the long forecasted storm is that the cold air available will be limited. So, Weisman says only a relatively narrow area has a shot at keeping most of the precipitation in the form of snow.

In central Minnesota, including St. Cloud, Weisman is expecting 3-6 inches of wet snow, mixed with sleet and freezing rain overnight Wednesday, then a changeover to ice or rain Thursday and a change back to snow at the end of the storm Thursday night.

The area with a higher shot at snow includes Ortonville, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Duluth, and the Arrowhead.

In the Twin Cities, even less would fall as wet snow before the changeover. This is in spite of the fact that central Minnesota should see the heaviest total precipitation. The biggest uncertainty in the forecast is the temperatures at ground level, which may help the precipitation melt on contact.

With the warm air aloft, there is a huge difference between a 30 degree temperature, which would allow any snow to accumulate, or freezing rain to produce a layer of ice, a 32-34 temperature, which would reduce the ice threat but still could allow slush to accumulate if it’s falling hard enough.

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