Pre-Thanksgiving storm may disrupt travel in Minnesota, Midwest

2:28 PM, Nov 24, 2010   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The pre-Thanksgiving storm will bring some unpleasant travel conditions to Minnesota and the rest of the Midwest.

The new storm will develop rapidly Wednesday and move through Minnesota Wednesday afternoon and exit the area by Thursday evening. Snowfall will be light here in the Twin Cities metro and the rest of southern Minnesota with accumulations from Wednesday evening through Thursday morning of 1 to 2 inches.

The main issue in southern Minnesota including the metro will be freezing drizzle and gusty winds - the combination of ice accumulations on tree branches and powers lines combined with gusty winds could lead to some power outages late Wednesday into Thursday.

Anticipating worsening weather, many Minnesotans moved up Thanksgiving travel plans. "I've been hearing there's going to be a storm coming so I figured it would be good to head out a little early," said Monica Sample, a student at U of M - Morris.

Sample spoke with her mother who picked her up a day early for her trip home to Maplewood.

Another student, Brittany Hajicek, came to the same conclusion. She left Dallas, Texas a day early Tuesday morning, with plans to drive 20 straight hours to her grandmother's house in Bismarck, North Dakota, "because tomorrow there's a storm coming."

Hajicek made a brief stop at the rest area in Avon, Minnesota with five hours to go. "The energy drinks and caffeine help," she said.

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Snow with this next storm will be heavier in northern Minnesota and North Dakota with snowfall accumulations of 3 to 8 inches along a line from Fargo to Brainerd to Duluth and points north - strong gusty northwest winds Wednesday evening and Thursday could cause near blizzard conditions in the Red River Valley of northwestern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota including the Fargo, Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Crookston, Thief River Falls and Grand Forks areas.

Right now it appears the most difficult travel Wednesday afternoon through Thanksgiving Thursday will be on Interstate 94 from Alexandria to the North Dakota border and Interstate 35 from Hinckley to Duluth.

The weather will calm down over the weekend but another storm is on the way for Sunday and Monday.

Twin Cities Metro Area Extended Outlook Friday through Monday: Sunny to partly cloudy both Friday and Saturday with lighter winds - highs will be in the low 20s Friday and near 30 degrees Saturday. A mix of clouds and sun on Sunday with a chance for freezing drizzle mixed with snow Sunday evening - highs in the low 30s. Cloudy and windy on Monday with light freezing drizzle mixed with light snow on Monday - some light snow accumulations possible - highs in the low 30s.

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