A fresh coating of snow over the weekend coupled with freezing fog that left trees sparkling with rime frost has turned Minnesota into a winter wonderland Monday, but that wonderland will disappear with the wicked side of Old Man Winter preparing to attack later this week.
Tuesday looks good, but Wednesday will bring the beginning of a rather nasty 48 hours of winter weather. Temps are expected to plummet Wednesday afternoon with the passage of an Arctic front, and the National Weather Service expects lows to drop into the negative 20s Wednesday night into Thursday morning and against Thursday night into Friday morning.
What's worse is that the bitter air temperatures will feel much colder because of brisk winds.
"Wind Chill Advisories will likely be needed both Thursday and Friday across much of the area, and wind chill warnings may even be needed Thursday morning as apparent temperatures look to approach -35 to -40 across western and central Minnesota," says the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service in Monday morning's forecast discussion.
Some light snow could accompany the cold front as it passes Wednesday afternoon, but a bigger impact will undoubtedly be blowing snow. It could be windy enough with enough fresh snow from the weekend system to blizzard conditions.
"Winds look a little weaker still farther to the south across southwest and south-central Minnesota, but a fairly fresh snowpack of 8-12 inches from Sunday's storm could lead to some additional blowing and drifting snow concerns across these areas," the forecast discussion notes.
Bottom line: If it gets windy enough or if snowfall amounts with Wednesday's frontal passage trend heavier, the weather service says "headlines for blizzard/near-blizzard conditions may have to be considered Wednesday."
The NAM weather model radar simulation is currently suggesting fairly widespread accumulations of 1-2 inches of snow with the frontal passage Wednesday.
As is the case with any storm, take these models with a grain of salt and pay attention to what the National Weather Service forecasts as the system gets closer.
Minnesota looks to rebound from the Arctic cold at some point Friday into the weekend.