Heavy snow, bitter cold on the way
The National Weather Service (NWS) is predicting significant snowfall starting today, Dec. 28, and extending into the weekend that could bring up to a foot of snow at lower elevations.
A Winter Storm Watch is in effect from Dec. 28 until Dec. 31 for all of Stillwater County, with between 8 to 14 inches of snow possible and blowing snow that is expected to create large snow drifts and significantly impact visibility.
“The late week snow is a significant concern because it matches a known pattern for producing heavy snow in the region. Recent events that match this pattern were January 16-20, 2012, and Christmas 1996,” according to a NWS statement issued Tuesday.
Snowfall is expected to be heavy Friday night in lower elevations. With snow will come cold air, dropping temperatures below zero and possibly creating issues with blowing and drifting snow.
Wind chill as low as 30 below zero is also expected.
In Columbus, there is an 80 percent chance of snow Friday and a 70 percent chance Saturday. High temperatures on those two days will reach 7 degrees and 15 degrees respectively, with lows of five and 10 below zero, according to the NWS.
Travel conditions are expected to remain difficult all week, much like they have been recently.
Between last Wednesday, Dec. 20, and last Friday, Dec. 23, there were 32 crashes reported to the Stillwater County dispatch, with the majority occurring on I-90. Of those, at least six involved some kind of road blockage, one required I-90 traffic rerouting, one involved a school bus with children on it and at least five were rollovers.
SNOWFALL SO FAR
Columbus has seen 14.2 inches of snowfall so far in December, compared to the normal amount of 7 inches. Nine of those inches came from Dec. 21, 22 and 23.
Mystic Lake’s 36.5 inches of snow so far this month is more than double the normal amount of 15 inches. Rapelje’s December snowfall of 18 inches is well above the normal amount of 6.9 inches.