AS I WRITE THIS MID-MORNING Wednesday, the view outside my office window is one of a landscape layered in new snow, about five inches. The light snow of earlier has stopped.
All appears calm, until I look closer. I notice snow sweeping off my neighbor’s roof. I see, too, treetops swaying, a trio of exposed squirrel nests nestled among branches. Another neighbor’s political flags extend in the wind, bannering messages I’m weary of seeing long after the 2020 election has ended. Buffeting my front steps, dried hydrangea heads wave in the rhythm of the morning wind.
For days now, we’ve been lectured by weather forecasters and officials alike not to be lured into complacency. This lull in an anticipated historic winter storm here in Minnesota is expected. Southern Minnesota braces for storm’s second punch after overnight snow. That Minnesota Public Radio headline and similar headlines have played across media outlets for days.
I lean into believing the National Weather Service predictions about this multi-day event that could rank among our top five winter storms. It’s not only about the quantity of snow, possibly topping 21 inches, but also about the wind. As a prairie native, I understand how quickly winds of even 25 mph can create white-out blizzard conditions, making travel dangerous and impossible. Winds are expected in some places to top 50 mph. Our governor has already declared a peacetime emergency.
When my husband left for work Wednesday morning, I asked him to remain weather aware, reminding him that this storm is about the wind as much as the snow. He works as an automotive machinist in a rural location, typically a 35-minute commute. Unlike me, Randy leans into believing storm predictions are more hype than reality. Sometimes he’s right. Time will tell. Regardless, I inquired whether his phone was fully-charged and whether a sleeping bag was still in the van. It was and it was. And I asked him to text when he arrived at work and when he leaves later today. He did and I expect he will. Roads this morning were worse in sheltered areas, he reported.
By noon our winter storm warning transitions into a blizzard warning in effect for 24 hours. It’s not often my county of Rice, just south of the Twin Cities metro along Interstate 35, enters blizzard status. I expect this designation in southwestern Minnesota and other primarily open land area parts of the state, but not here.
Whatever happens, we’ve been warned by the National Weather Service, Twin Cities, on their Twitter page Wednesday: There seems to be some confusion this morning because the sun has come out. Does this mean all we got is a measly 3-5” and it’s over? Nope! As we’ve talked about for days, round 2 is on the way and it will pack a punch! Expect an ADDITIONAL 10-15” by tomorrow morning.
© Copyright 2023 Audrey Kletscher Helbling