First snow brings winter reminder
BEMIDJI – The first glimpse of winter swept into the region Thursday, bringing with it snow, chilling winds and an advisory against unnecessary travel.
Less than two weeks since the official start of autumn, a low pressure system pushed from central Minnesota into the state’s northern stretches.
The state’s Department of Transportation advisory for motorists followed a winter weather warning from the National Weather Service, but the Bemidji area missed the worst of the unseasonably bitter weather.
Numerous schools further west canceled classes, and the Red Lake School District closed early Thursday.
The hardest hit region appeared to be from Thief River Falls to Roseau, where tree limbs snapped from the weight of wet snow on leafy branches and caused some power outages, the weather service reported.
Six to 8 inches of snow was expected in the hardest hit areas.
In Bemidji, snow pellets decreased visibility and blanketed cars. Winds gusted as high as 40 mph.
The weather service forecast includes a 50 percent chance of snow today, but less than an inch of accumulation is expected.
Temperatures are forecast to reach 40 on Saturday, and push into the mid to upper 40s through next Wednesday.
MnDOT issued its travel advisory Thursday morning as snow plow crews headed onto northwest Minnesota highways.
Rain and blowing snow created difficult to hazardous road conditions in the region, prompting officials to urge motorists to check road conditions, be patient, stay behind snow plows by at least five car lengths, reduce speeds and stay alert.
To check road conditions, visit www.511mn.org online or call 511.