Winter storm watch issued in advance of weekend snow

One way or another, this storm is going to hit hard in southern Minnesota.
Publish date:
snow, plow

This weekend's snowstorm is still more than 48 hours away from making a major impact on Minnesota, but it's on a path that could bring blizzard conditions to southern parts of the state. 

A winter storm watch has been issued for parts of northern Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and western Wisconsin.

The watch is just east and south of the Twin Cities metro area and includes the cities of Faribault, Red Wing, Rochester, Waseca, Owatonna, Blue Earth and Albert Lea. 

"A potent winter storm will arrive from the Plains Saturday and move into the Great Lakes on Sunday. Significant accumulating snow along with strong winds can be expected over much of southeastern Minnesota into western Wisconsin Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon. A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for areas along and east of a line from Rice Lake to New Richmond Wisconsin, continuing to Faribault to Delavan Minnesota. Snow accumulations of 6 to 9 inches can be expected along with wind gusts up to 45 mph. Areas of blowing snow along with the accumulating snow may lead to hazardous driving conditions."

Here's more from the La Crosse office of the National Weather Service on what computer models are currently projecting for Saturday night into Sunday morning. 

"Currently have 4 to 9 inches of snow in the forecast. However, there are signals that there could be higher totals. The main question is where exactly this band will be located. With the highest probabilities west of Mississippi River and north of Interstate 90, opted to issue a Winter Storm Watch starting at 6 PM Saturday night."

The narrow band of very intense snow along with winds gusting up to 45 mph will cause blizzard/whiteout conditions. 

Even in areas where less snow falls, strong winds will cause significant blowing and drifting. In fact, there could be parts of the state where no snow falls, but the fluffy snow from Wednesday's storm will be blown around with ease. 

Sign up for our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

Light snow will be possible, mainly in western and central Minnesota on Friday afternoon/night before the main event rolls in to southern Minnesota on Saturday night. 

Here's a look at the simulated future radar from the GFS computer model. You'll see a wave of snow move through Friday night and then the much darker blue represents the narrow band of intense snow Saturday night into Sunday morning. 


The storm track will likely change some between now and when it hits, so stay tuned for forecast updates.

Next Up

Jaden McDaniels

Wolves lose to Magic on Cole Anthony's buzzer-beater

The Wolves blew a 20-point lead as the Magic defeated the Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

J.A. Happ

Twins sign veteran J.A. Happ to add to the rotation

The left-hander will get a one-year, $8 million deal from the Twins.

storm the capitol rally st. paul minnesota state capitol

BCA finds 'no criminal wrongdoing' among those at 'Storm the Capitol' rally

Inflammatory comments were made by speakers, but no charges will be brought.

Screen Shot 2021-01-18 at 12.27.04 PM

Man's vehicles crushed by hit-and-run driver weren't fully insured

The goal is to raise $25,000 to help the south Minneapolis resident.

Joe Biden

Key points from Joe Biden's first speech as POTUS

The 46th president called for unity at a time America is facing huge challenges.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 20

The 111 ICU patients is the fewest in Minnesota since there were 109 COVID patients in intensive care on Oct. 1.


Here's what Amy Klobuchar said at Joe Biden's inauguration

The Minnesota senator was one of the leader organizers of the inauguration.

covid-19, vaccine

All of this week's COVID vaccine pilot program appointments are filled

Nearly 6,000 Minnesotans who are 65 and older registered for appointments between noon Tuesday and Wednesday morning.

Lane kueng thao chauvin

Osterholm affidavit ahead of George Floyd trial warns of COVID worsening in March

Prosecutors want to delay the Chauvin trial due to a public health threat.


Winter storm warning issued with 12+ inches of snow possible

The heavy snow will likely miss the Twin Cities by 50-80 miles.

Winter storm could dump heavy snow on MN this weekend

The last big storm went south. This one is more likely to hit parts of Minnesota.

Update on possible winter storm over Thanksgiving weekend

The storm is still over the Pacific Ocean so it's still too early to give an exact forecast.

snow, snowing

NWS calls weekend snowstorm 'one of the strongest' this winter

Heavy snow is expected in southeast Minnesota, but the storm track could change.

snow, snowplow

Weekend winter storm: It's coming, but where will it hit?

The bulk of the storm could hit Saturday night and Sunday.

Winter storm watch issued for south-central, southeast MN

The Twin Cities is on the edge of the watch box.

snow, snowplow

Twin Cities added to winter storm warning: Snow totals rising

It's been a yo-yo of a forecast from a difficult to predict winter storm.

Winter storm watch: Big snow totals expected this weekend

More than a foot of snow could fall in and around the metro.