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Weather: System expected to bring snow

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

You wanted it, well here it is. Winter has returned to the north woods after spending the first half of February hanging out in the French Riviera.

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A winter weather system affected the area earlier this week dropping 2 to 4 inches of sloppy wet snow. Totals were higher to the east and north of Bemidji where 8 inches fell at International Falls and 6 inches were reported across the Iron Range.

A major winter storm is expected to move across the area beginning late tonight. Look for snowfall to total 5-8 inches by Monday morning with the highest totals likely centered along Highway 2. Winter storms can be fickle so a level of uncertainty in the forecast is normal.

This same system was predicted to drop 3 to 7 feet of snow in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. Look for some incredible powder conditions at Mt. Baker Ski Area where base snow cover already stands at 14 to 22 feet.

If that's not enough snow news for you try this: Another major winter storm appears likely to impact parts of Minnesota beginning Wednesday.

This particular storm has the potential to be stronger than the system affecting the area this weekend. It is still too soon to predict the exact path of the storm and snowfall totals that may accompany it. At this point a good bet for the heaviest snow appears to favor the area along a line from Willmar to Duluth.

This second storm will likely result in a plethora of snowfall records. Not necessarily because the snowfall will be unusually heavy but because Wednesday is Feb. 29 - a day that only occurs every four years.

A local example of this Leap Day effect is the record low temperature in Bemidji. While every other February day has a record low of 30 to 50 below zero, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Feb. 29 in Bemidji is "only" 19 below.

TOM SIEMERS is the Pioneer's circulation director.

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