BEMIDJI -- It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . winter?

Although we’re still in the midst of spooky season, the past few days in Bemidji have seen a swift change in porch décor, as folks are swapping out their jack-o-lanterns for snow shovels.

Over the weekend, a band of snow moved into the northwestern portion of the state, and Bemidji saw its first snowfall of the season, which brought with it a winter weather advisory from the National Weather Service and a total snow accumulation of 1 to 4 inches.

Snow falls on the Mississippi River between Lake Irving and Lake Bemidji on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)
Snow falls on the Mississippi River between Lake Irving and Lake Bemidji on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

While much of the first snow melted quickly, experts said Tuesday’s wintry mix from the Northern Rockies -- which is estimated to vary from 2 to 5 inches -- should be the first accumulating snow of the season in the Northland.

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The NWS issued a winter weather advisory for portions of central, north central, northwest and west central Minnesota on Tuesday, which will remain in effect until midnight.

But there’s still more to come.

According to the National Weather Service, a “more robust” winter system is expected Thursday, Oct. 22, which has the potential to bring even higher snowfall amounts and “greater impacts,” compared to Tuesday, Oct. 20.

“Our next chance of snow is on Thursday and could be significant…,” a Facebook post from the Beltrami County Emergency Management said. “Double digit snowfall is possible through the end of the week. Travel impacts are expected for Thursday.”

While there is still uncertainty surrounding the weather system, the Facebook post added that, as of Tuesday morning, it appeared Beltrami County was favored to receive heavy snow on Thursday.

However, temperatures will also be a factor, as mixed precipitation would lessen snow totals.

The Beltrami County Emergency Management encouraged folks to pay attention to NWS forecast updates.

Snow falls along the shore of Lake Bemidji on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Diamond Point Park. (Bria Barton / Bemidji Pioneer)
Snow falls along the shore of Lake Bemidji on Saturday, Oct. 17, in Diamond Point Park. (Bria Barton / Bemidji Pioneer)

Safe travel tips

As snow-covered road conditions in portions of Minnesota could make travel difficult, the Minnesota Department of Transportation encourages motorists to check 511mn.org before they travel to see current road conditions and view highway and snowplow cameras along their route.

Hundreds of snowplow operators will be working during the winter storm to keep road conditions as safe and clear as possible. Motorists should remember to slow down, stay alert and stay back at least 10 car lengths and use extra caution when driving near snowplows, a release said.

“Motorists need to be prepared for changing road conditions to be sure their drive is safe and uneventful,” Steve Lund, MnDOT maintenance engineer, said in the release. “When driving near snowplows, remember to be patient and give our operators plenty of room to work so that they can improve road conditions and help you get where you need to be.”

If travel is necessary, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety recommends everyone in the vehicle is dressed for the cold weather. Motorists should keep blankets, water, food, phone chargers and an emergency kit in your vehicle.

Safe winter driving recommendations for all motorists include:

  • Don’t drive distracted.

  • Stay alert for snowplows, which turn or exit frequently and often with little warning. They also may travel over centerlines or partially in traffic to further improve road conditions.

  • Stay back at least 10 car lengths behind the plow. Don’t drive into a snow cloud.

  • Slow down to a safe speed for current conditions.

  • Turn on your headlights and wear your seat belt.

  • Turn off the cruise control.

  • Be patient and remember snowplows are working to improve road conditions for your trip.