Major winter storm still on track to impact all of the Northland on Christmas Day and into Monday. This storm has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Winter Storm Warning in effect from noon Sunday to noon Monday.

.A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL START TO IMPACT THE NORTHLAND AS EARLY
AS TONIGHT WITH AREAS OF FREEZING DRIZZLE AND LIGHT SNOW.
PRECIPITATION WILL RAPIDLY INCREASE IN COVERAGE AND INTENSITY FROM
SOUTH TO NORTH ON CHRISTMAS DAY AND CHRISTMAS NIGHT. PRECIPITATION
WILL LIKELY BEGIN AS MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW IN MOST AREAS...BUT
WITHIN A COUPLE OF HOURS WILL TRANSITION TO A WINTRY MIXTURE OF
FREEZING RAIN...SLEET...AND SOME SNOW. THE GREATEST RISK OF
FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET IS IN AREAS FROM THE BRAINERD LAKES AND
WALKER AREAS EAST-NORTHEASTWARD TO GRAND RAPIDS... DULUTH...
COTTON...AND PORTIONS OF THE MINNESOTA ARROWHEAD. SIGNIFICANT ICE
ACCUMULATION OF GREATER THAN A QUARTER INCH MAY POSE A SIGNIFICANT
THREAT IN THESE AREAS. PEOPLE IN THESE AREAS SHOULD PREPARE FOR
POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES.

SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATION OF SIX INCHES OR GREATER WILL BE
MOST LIKELY FROM KOOCHICHING COUNTY EASTWARD ALONG THE
INTERNATIONAL BORDER TO GRAND MARAIS AND GRAND PORTAGE. AFTER A 3
TO 6 HOUR BREAK IN THE PRECIPITATION SOMETIME SUNDAY NIGHT...
PRECIPITATION WILL TRANSITION BACK TO ALL SNOW FROM WEST TO EAST
LATE SUNDAY NIGHT AND MONDAY MORNING...WITH SNOW ENDING FROM WEST
TO EAST BY MONDAY EVENING. STRONG WEST TO NORTHWEST WINDS LATE
SUNDAY NIGHT INTO MONDAY MAY CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW...
AND COULD POTENTIALLY RESULT IN POWER OUTAGES DUE TO THE WEIGHT OF
ICE AND SNOW ACCUMULATION ON TREES AND POWER LINES.

CONFIDENCE IS INCREASING IN THE HIGH IMPACTS OF THIS EVENT...YET
THERE STILL EXISTS SOME UNCERTAINTY IN THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE
MIXED PRECIPITATION TYPES...AND HOW FAR NORTH THE TRANSITION ZONE
WILL REACH. AT THIS POINT...IT APPEARS THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL BE
ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHERN MINNESOTA BUT A SMALL SHIFT WESTWARD
IN THE STORM TRACK WOULD LIKELY MEAN MORE ICE THAN CURRENTLY
FORECAST...EVEN ACROSS FAR NORTHERN MINNESOTA.

THE MAIN TAKE AWAY MESSAGE IS...NO MATTER THE EVENTUAL TYPE OF
PRECIPITATION...SLICK AND HAZARDOUS ROADS AND MAJOR IMPACTS TO
TRAVEL ARE EXPECTED ACROSS MOST OF THE REGION DURING ONE OF THE
BUSIEST TRAVEL PERIODS OF THE YEAR. IF YOU HAVE TRAVEL PLANS LATE
THIS WEEKEND AND EARLY NEXT WEEK...BE SURE TO STAY CURRENT WITH
THE LATEST WEATHER INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS WINTER STORM. IF
YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY...CONSIDER
CHANGING YOUR PLANS TO AVOID BEING ON THE ROAD DURING THAT TIME...
WHICH WILL ENCOMPASS THE PEAK OF THE STORM AND DANGEROUS TRAVEL
CONDITIONS IN MANY AREAS. THE HEAVY ACCUMULATIONS OF ICE AND HEAVY
WET SNOW COULD CAUSE POWER OUTAGES IN MANY AREAS...SO BE SURE TO
PREPARE NOW FOR THE POTENTIAL FOR LOSS OF POWER.

 

* LOCATIONS...BIGFORK...THE IRON RANGE CITIES...COTTON...AND
DULUTH.

* TIMING...MIDDAY CHRISTMAS THROUGH MIDDAY MONDAY.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS...UP TO A QUARTER OF AN INCH.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...2 TO 4 INCHES.

* SUSTAINED WINDS...EAST 15 TO 20 MPH CHRISTMAS AND CHRISTMAS
NIGHT. WEST 20 TO 30 MPH ON MONDAY.

* WIND GUSTS...UP TO 40 MPH.

* IMPACTS...SNOW AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS WILL MAKE MANY ROADS SLICK
AND HAZARDOUS...AND TRAVEL COULD BECOME DANGEROUS CHRISTMAS
EVENING INTO MONDAY. THE WEIGHT OF HEAVY WET SNOW AND ICE ON
TREE LIMBS AND POWER LINES COULD PRODUCE NUMEROUS OUTAGES...AND
WINDS WILL LIKELY LEAD TO SNAPPED POWER LINES AND FALLING TREE
BRANCHES THAT ADD TO THE DANGER.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW AND WINTRY MIXED
PRECIPITATION MEANS HEAVY ACCUMULATIONS OF SNOW...SLEET AND
FREEZING RAIN ARE EXPECTED. EXPECT EXTREMELY SLIPPERY AND
DANGEROUS SNOW AND ICE COVERED ROADS. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL...
EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION AND ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO REACH YOUR
DESTINATION. HAVE A WORKING CELL PHONE IN CASE YOU BECOME
STRANDED. KEEP A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT IN YOUR VEHICLE...INCLUDING A
FLASHLIGHT...FOOD...AND WATER. PREPARE NOW FOR POTENTIAL POWER
OUTAGES THAT COULD LAST FOR LONGER THAN A FEW HOURS.