BEMIDJI -- Minnesotans could see one last snowstorm of the decade, as snow and rain are expected to pour down across the state over the weekend and into Monday.
Beltrami County Emergency Management issued a statement Friday afternoon indicating a "major winter storm" likely would hit the region. The agency said there could be widespread snowfall of 8 to 12 inches across Beltrami County. It also said that if warmer weather moved in, it could result in light, freezing rain.
The local agency issued a warning to those spending time on the lakes. It said they should have a plan to get off the ice before the heavy snow starts to fall.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation also issued a word or two of advice for travelers.
"If you must travel, reduce your speed, make sure your headlights are on, and be aware of changing road conditions," a statement from MnDOT said.
According to the National Weather Service office in Grand Forks, Bemidji will be in a winter storm watch from Saturday through Sunday night, though the harsh weather could last even beyond that warning period.
In contrast to the seasonally pleasant weather on Friday, the snowfall likely will start on Saturday, with an inch to 3 inches of accumulation possible. Saturday night could bring another 2 to 4 inches of accumulation with wind gusts up to 21 mph. By Sunday, the high is expected to be above freezing at 35 degrees, resulting in a mix of rain and snow. Sunday could also see gusts of wind of up to 29 mph.
"The wind is really going to be cooking on Sunday, so there is a possibility that we could drop into blizzard conditions," said Greg Gust, a meteorologist with the weather service in Grand Forks. "Typically we don't in the Bemidji area, but as it walks away, some of the open county could see some proper wind gusts and brief blizzard conditions."
The inclement weather won't necessarily end with the weekend. The National Weather Service reports that Monday could bring a chance of snow mixed with freezing rain. Wind gusts on Monday could reach 23 mph.
Northern Minnesota isn't the only region preparing for one last storm of the year. Gust said the Twin Cities area could receive a quarter inch of ice and sleet. The Star Tribune reported that Delta Air Lines was offering waivers to travelers in some areas of the Midwest who may need to make changes as a result of the weather. The waiver includes the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
Like Bemidji, eastern North Dakota, including both Fargo and Grand Forks, is in a winter storm warning from Saturday through Sunday night. In fact, as of Friday, a nationwide graph on the National Weather Service's website showed the winter storm warning covering large swaths of Nebraska, the Dakotas, as well as large portions Minnesota.