Brandon Weatherz: Difficult travel expected in northern communities

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Travel is expected to become difficult in northern Minnesota today. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Koochiching and Beltrami County until noon Friday. North Cass, Itasca, Central and North St. Louis, and South Lake County are in a Winter Weather Advisory in the same timeframe. An area of particular concern are Lake and Cook Counties where an Ice Storm Warning is now in effect until 6 am Friday. This is the area with the greatest chance for significant ice accumulation that could bring dangerous road conditions today.

For the Head of Lake Superior and south, it’s a wet day with showers and isolated thunderstorms. Winds will continue to ramp up out of the northeast with sustained winds around 25 mph and gusts surpassing 40 mph possible. Waves will build on Lake Superior to 9 to 14 feet. Winds shift to northwest on the backside of the system tonight into tomorrow, triggering the cold air that allows snow to take over as the only precipitation type by early Friday morning. The portions of northern Minnesota in the weather headlines have the best chance of a challenging Friday morning commute. Light snow accumulation may begin for the Twin Ports area and much of northwest Wisconsin as well.

The greatest snow accumulations today will be in northern Koochiching County and the far northwest corner of St. Louis County where 6-10” are possible. Snow amounts drop off quickly going south with only an inch or two for the Iron Range. Less than an inch is expected for areas generally south of U.S. Hwy 2. The South Shore takes the focus for additional accumulation Friday through Saturday. The snowbelt will see a widespread 3-6” with locally higher amounts.

Today: Wet and windy. Morning high of 42 with the temp falling into the mid-30s this afternoon. NE wind 15-25 mph G 40. Chance of rain: 100%

Tonight: Rain mixes with and turns to snow. Low 27. SW wind 10-20 mph. Chance of precip: 60%

Tomorrow: Cloudy and breezy with scattered snow showers in the morning. High 30. NW wind 10-20 mph. Chance of snow: 50%

Saturday: Partly sunny and breezy. High 28. N wind 10-15 mph.

Sunday: Partly sunny. High 28. NE wind 2-8 mph.

Monday: Chance for early morning snow, then mostly cloudy. High 30. E wind 5-10 mph.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with a slight chance for snow. High 31. E wind 5-10 mph. Chance of snow: 20%

Wednesday: Cloudy with a chance for snow. High 32. W wind 5-10 mph. Chance of snow: 40%