Heavy rain and t-storms will be followed by wind and heavy snow

Winter travel impacts likely late Friday and Friday night
Meteorologist Shawn Cable has the latest on the developing winter storm.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 2:27 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:53 PM CDT
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  • A powerful spring storm system will bring thunderstorms with heavy rain Thursday night and Friday, followed by heavy snow and strong wind late Friday and Friday night.
  • A Winter Storm Watch is in effect Friday afternoon and Friday night. 4+ inches of wet, heavy snow is possible. Strong wind gusts could create blizzard conditions, especially while snow is falling.
  • Our first 50 degree temperature of 2023 is possible Sunday.
  • Another spring storm could bring more rain and snow next week.

The first wave of our next system will move in tonight, bringing showers, thunderstorms, and locally heavy rainfall. The overall threat for severe weather is low; however, a couple of storms could produce marginally severe hail and strong wind gusts, especially across southwestern Minnesota and northwestern Iowa. Heavy rainfall amounts of a half-inch or more will be possible. Temperatures will only drop into the mid to upper 30s tonight, so ice and freezing rain should not be an issue for most. The exception will be locations along and north of US Highway 212, where some freezing rain and light snow will be possible from late this afternoon through tonight and into Friday morning.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms will continue into Friday. As the center of this system moves across Iowa on Friday, colder air will arrive on the backside of the system, changing rain to heavy, wet snow. At the same time, strong 35 to 45 mph wind gusts will develop, creating blowing snow that could create blizzard conditions at times.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for much of central and southern Minnesota from Friday afternoon through Friday night. As of right now, I think snowfall amounts will be somewhere in the 3 to 5 inch range in the Mankato area, with lesser amounts south and significantly higher amounts possible north and west. With a spring storm system like this, the amount of snow we ultimately get will depend on when the rain changes to snow. If the changeover happens Friday afternoon, we could get 4 to 6+ inches of snow. If the colder air is slower to arrive, and the rain doesn’t change to snow until Friday evening, we could end up with 3 inches or less. Whatever the case, there will be significant travel impacts from late Friday afternoon through Friday night due to the wind and blowing snow. Snow will end by daybreak Saturday.

We are also going to be closely monitoring the potential for some localized flooding with the system. Overall liquid precipitation amounts of 1 to 2 inches will be possible, which will cause runoff into rivers and streams. Also, with the recent cold, some of the ground is frozen and will not easily absorb the moisture. This could lead to ponding and some localized flooding.

The system will exit rather quickly late Saturday night, leaving us with a relatively low-key weekend. Saturday will be cold, with highs in the 30s, but strong southerly flow will help temperatures climb into the upper 40s to low 50s by Sunday. Sunday could be our first 50 degree day of 2023. Unfortunately, the mild air will only stick around for about a day. More cold is expected for early next week. We are also tracking another spring storm system that will have the potential to bring more rain and snow by the middle of next week. The Weather Team will be watching everything very closely and will keep the updates coming.