The winter storm warning issued by the National Weather Service for Saturday and Sunday has been extended to 6 a.m. Monday for Douglas, Todd and Pope counties.
Stevens, Swift, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties make up the rest of the winter storm warning area, where between a half-foot of snow to possibly double that could fall. The highest snowfall accumulations are forecast in the areas closest to the Minnesota state line.
As if that isn't enough, the counties in the winter storm warning area can also anticipate from between a tenth and a quarter inch of ice accumulation. And Sunday may bring periods of strictly rain.
Depending on how much of each form of precipitation falls over the course of the next three days, the latest forecast has the Alexandria area getting between 6-11 inches of snow.
Making this system a complex one to forecast is its duration – it is now expected to hang around through Monday in Douglas County – and the temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, bringing mostly rain and some freezing rain to southeastern Minnesota, while the mix leans in favor of snow in far western Minnesota.
The rain-snow line with a section of mixed precip in between will set up roughly along a line from Long Prairie to Willmar to Redwood Falls, the weather service predicts. West of that line, a wintry mix will persist through Sunday before changing back to all snow.
East of that line, it will become all rain by late Saturday afternoon and continue in that form overnight and into Sunday, before returning to snow Sunday night. An ice storm warning has been issued for Redwood and Brown counties in southwestern Minnesota, where ice accumulations through Sunday morning may range from one quarter to one half inch.
As imagined, this combination playing out across the state will bring icy road conditions.
Snow has been falling in the Alexandria area Saturday morning, and as of 8 a.m., here is the weather service forecast for this area:
Saturday: Snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain between 1-4 p.m., then snow likely after that. High near 32. East wind 5 to 15 mph. Little or no ice accumulation expected. Daytime snow accumulation of 1-3 inches possible.
Saturday night: Snow likely, possibly mixing with freezing rain between 8 p.m. and midnight, then turning back to all snow. Low around 30. Northeast winds of 15-20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch and new snow accumulation of 3-5 inches possible.
Sunday: Rain and snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain before noon. Then rain, possibly mixed with snow, in the afternoon, turning to a mix of snow and freezing rain after 5 p.m. High near 36. Breezy, with a northeast wind of 10-20 mph, gusting as high as 30 mph. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch and new snow accumulation of 1-2 inches possible.
Sunday Night: Snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain. Low around 26. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch and new snow accumulation of 1-2 inches possible.
Monday: Snow. Patchy blowing snow after noon. High near 30. Blustery, with a north northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow, with less than an inch possible. Blustery, with northwest winds of 15-20 mph gusting to 30 mph. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.