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Blizzard watch slated for Thursday

Published 10:13am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ready for another round? Powerful northwest winds with gusts topping 50 mph in some parts of Minnesota are forecast to blow Thursday.

Freeborn County and places such as Mankato and St. Cloud will fall into a 24-hour blizzard watch starting at 6 a.m. Thursday. Many areas of western Minnesota will enter a blizzard warning, including Willmar, Morris, Fergus Falls and Moorhead.

“A blizzard warning is in effect for Thursday in western Minnesota where confidence is high that winds of 40 mph with gusts in excess of 50 mph will cause considerable blowing snow and whiteout conditions,” the National Weather Service states.

“A blizzard watch is in effect for central and southern Minnesota where there is less confidence in whiteout conditions due to slightly weaker winds and less of a fresh snowpack,” it states.

Eastern Minnesota, including Rochester, Brainerd, Bemidji and the Twin Cities are slated to be in a winter weather advisory.

The National Weather Service forecast for Albert Lea calls for blowing snow Thursday — especially between 3 and 5 p.m. — and winds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts of up to 45 mph. Snow accumulation is expected to be an inch or less. It calls for a high of 29 degrees that occurs in the wee hours but falls to 11 by 5 p.m.

It isn’t often that the high occurs at night and the low occurs at day.

Wind chill values Thursday night are forecast to dip as low as 28 below. The evening calls for 25 to 30 mph winds with gusts as high as 40.

Friday is expected to be partly sunny, with a high of 11 and a northwest wind of 10 to 15 mph becoming a southwest wind in the afternoon of 5 to 10 mph.

Albert Lea experienced strong winds and blowing snow Tuesday. Winds topped out at 7 a.m. at 23 mph with gusts up to 36. Through most of the day, the winds were about 15 mph with gusts up to 28.