The National Weather Service has issued Blizzard Warnings for portions of southwest Minnesota. Strong northwest winds will develop tonight and cause blowing and drifting snow. The strongest of these winds will be late tonight and very early on Thursday morning which will likely cause blizzard and whiteout conditions.
A Blizzard Warning means severe winter weather conditions are expected or will be occurring. Falling and blowing snow with strong winds and poor visibilities are likely. This will lead to whiteout conditions, making travel conditions very dangerous, if not impossible. Those who travel should have an emergency winter survival kit in the vehicle. If you get stranded, stay in the vehicle. Hancock and Winnebago County Emergency Manager Andy Buffington explains why.
This system is bringing with it, winds that could reach 50 miles per hour. Wind chills are expected to dip to -35 degrees. This would cause frostbite to exposed skin in less than 10 minutes.
The winds are expected to diminish from mid-morning Thursday to the afternoon hours. Blowing and drifting snow will continue even in areas where the warning is not in effect. The winds will further diminish around sunset, but remain strong enough to cause wind chill values between -20 to -35 degrees Thursday night into Friday morning.
Here in the Forest City area, a Winter Weather Advisory will go into effect beginning at 2am on Thursday and remain until 6pm that evening. A Wind Chill Watch will go into effect at 6pm on Thursday and remain in effect until 9am on Friday.
Winds in the area are expected to increase tonight to as high as 37 mph. This will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow. These conditions will remain throughout the day on Thursday when the Wind Chill Watch will go into effect. The arctic front will move into the state tonight with strong gusty winds from the northwest that are developing behind the front. Some of these winds could gust in excess of 45 mph at times. With temperatures falling throughout the day, wind chills may drop to -35 in some locations.
The winds may pose a problem for travelers, especially high profile vehicles in open areas. Travel is not recommended especially with blowing and drifting snow that may cause whiteout conditions.
Stay with KIOW and kiow.com for the latest developments on this potentially hazardous arctic storm.