St. Cloud, central Minnesota brace for mammoth storm

St. Cloud, central Minnesota brace for mammoth storm Click to Enlarge Photo:

Feb 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - A Winter Storm Warning for St. Cloud and much of central Minnesota has been issued as a major winter storm threatens to drop up to a foot of snow across the St. Cloud area by Wednesday evening.

The warning runs from 3 p.m. Tuesday until 6 p.m. Wednesday for much of central Minnesota and western Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service. The area covers a region north of a line from Canby through Fairbault to Zumbrota, including the Twin Cities metro area as well as St. Cloud.

WINTER STORM WARNING: Read the warning issued by the National Weather Service for the Tuesday storm expected to bring up to 12 inches of snow for St. Cloud, surrounding areas

Forecasters expected portions of central Minnesota to collect between 10 and 15 inches of snowfall before Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, a Blizzard Warning for areas west of St. Cloud for all areas on a line west of Benson through Alexandria was cancelled Tuesday afternoon.

For St. Cloud, periods of heavy wet snow were expected to begin Tuesday afternoon, collecting anywhere from 1 to 2 inches during the afternoon and early evening hours, the NWS reported. There should be a brief changeover to sleet and freezing rain Tuesday evening before transitioning back to all snow by Tuesday night. The bulk of the snowfall was expected to happen during those overnight hours, including approximately 3 to 5 inches of new accumulation by early Wednesday morning.

ROAD CONDITIONS: Follow the latest changes on Minnesota's roads through the Minnesota Dept. of Transportation traffic map

The storm was expected to begin tapering off Wednesday morning with another 2 to 4 inches of fresh snow before the storm concludes Wednesday evening.

XCEL POWER OUTAGES: Track the latest power outages across XCel's service area
STEARNS ELECTRIC OUTAGES: Follow service interruptions in the Stearns Electric service area

Sustained winds of 15 to 25 mph may occur in addition to the falling snow and produce low visibility. Significant disruption of travel was expected across central Minnesota from Tuesday evening through Wednesday with brief whiteout conditions possible.

State Patrol officials advised travelers to remain off the roads as much as possible during the storm event.

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