MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A major winter storm will be moving through the Upper Midwest on Christmas Day and the day after, but I doubt it’s the storm anyone wants. A surge of warm air will push into the state on Sunday giving Minnesota just about every type of precipitation possible. Rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow will all be possible along with icy conditions and even some thunderstorms on our Christmas. Not exactly what many of us have in mind this time of year in Minnesota.
The day will start with some freezing drizzle before more substantial moisture moves in from the south toward midday. Freezing rain can be expect statewide, but will be fairly brief for many areas south of I-94 before the freezing rain changes over to plain old rain as temperatures climb back above freezing. This includes the metro. While slick roads will be a concern (especially elevated surfaces like bridges and overpasses) large scale issues are not expected at this time.
Further north and northwest though, there will likely be a longer period of freezing rain, followed then by sleet and snow. The further north and west you go, the more snow you are likely to get. Not to mention, the heavier freezing rain will coat trees and power lines in these areas… combine those conditions with wind gusts potentially upwards of 60mph, and you have a recipe for power outages.
Despite the precipitation type expected for your location, the strong winds will be the one thing that everyone gets with this storm. Wind gusts of 60mph will be possible Sunday evening, and then again Monday afternoon as this storm strengthens and pushes northeast.
Cold air will rush back in on Monday after our fairly warm Christmas Day, with wind chills plummeting to near zero by Monday afternoon.
If you plan to travel anytime between Saturday night and Monday night, have a backup plan and be flexible with your arrival and departure times as your schedule may need to shift depending on weather and road conditions. If you plan to travel to or around northern Minnesota or to North Dakota, I would consider cancelling your plans altogether. If not, then take emergency supplies with you in case of an incident along the way. Remember, you can never be too prepared!