BEMIDJI -- Plans for holiday travel could be further impeded by negative circumstances this week as a winter storm warning has been issued for portions of north central and northwest Minnesota early Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening.
The storm could possibly extend into Thursday, with strong winds and total snow accumulations of 2 to 6 inches possible.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch at 4:20 a.m. Tuesday spanning from the Baudette to Bemidji to Wadena corridor, according to the advisory. That includes Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Becker and Wadena counties along with Baudette, Red Lake, Redby, Ponemah, Bagley, Clearbrook, Bemidji, Alida, Ebro, Lake Itasca, Long Lost Lake, Lower Rice Lake, Roy Lake, Upper Rice Lake, Park Rapids, Wolf Lake, Wadena and Menahga.
The watch was upgraded to a winter storm warning on Tuesday afternoon, and is in effect from 6 a.m. Wednesday morning to midnight Wednesday evening.
"Blizzard conditions are possible with total estimated snow accumulations of 2 to 6 inches and a light glaze of ice is possible. Winds could gust as high as 50 to 60 miles per hour," the storm advisory said. "Plan on possible blizzard conditions and slippery road conditions, widespread blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The dangerously cold wind chills as low as 35 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes."
According to the National Weather Service's Hazardous Weather Outlook statement issued at 6:01 a.m. Tuesday, the weather event will occur during the Wednesday morning rush, and will also fall during a busy holiday travel period.
"A strong winter storm will move into the region late tonight, arriving first in the Devils Lake region, then spreading into the Red River Valley before sunrise Wednesday morning," the weather outlook said. "A wintry mix is possible before the snow and strong winds kick in, which could bring a light glaze of ice. Once the snow and strong winds arrive, blizzard conditions are possible, especially in open country."
The outlook estimates that snow and strong northwest winds will continue into Wednesday, and possibly Wednesday evening in some areas. Wind gusts of 45 to 60 mph are possible with snowfall amounts of 2 to 6 inches. The higher snowfall totals look more likely across northwest Minnesota.
The NWS advises people to continue to monitor the latest forecasts for updates.
According to a Facebook post from the Beltrami County Emergency Management, "tonight into Wednesday a strong winter storm will be taking aim at Minnesota. Not a lot of snow, but a lot of wind. Blizzard conditions are possible. Travel on Wednesday will be impacted. Mixed precipitation is possible with a glaze of ice and 2-6” of snow, more north."
Precautionary preparedness actions include slowing down and using caution while traveling. For the latest road conditions, visit 511mn.org or call 511.