Break out the snow blowers and shovels, the first major snowstorm of the season is poised to smack the Twin Cities and much of southern Minnesota Friday with up to a foot possible in part of the metro area.
Flakes in the Twin Cities could start to fly as early as 9 a.m. and will continue falling through the day, with the heaviest snow expected in late afternoon and early evening hours, said Brent Hewett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.
By the time the storm wraps up early Saturday, Carver and Scott counties in the south and southwest metro could see close to a foot, Hewett said. The far north metro will see the least snow, with up to 4 inches , while Minneapolis, St. Paul and the southern suburbs are in line for 6 to 8 inches, he said.
“If you have the work-at-home option, Friday would be a good day to do that,” Hewett said.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from 9 a.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, stretching from Worthington and Marshall in southwest Minnesota, through the Twin Cities and into western Wisconsin, the weather service said.
Isolated pockets of up to a foot are possible in the warning area, the weather service said.
Unlike Tuesday’s light fluffy snow that “you could use a leaf blower to clean out your driveway in a few minutes,” Hewett said Friday’s snowfall will be the wet and heavy variety. “You will need to get the shovels out.”
And motorists will need to exercise their winter driving skills and give plows room, too, he added.
“Don’t try to rush anywhere,” Hewett said. “Don’t tailgate. That is a pretty quick way to end up in the ditch or a multi-car accident.”
This week Minneapolis officials reminded property owners to clear sidewalks. Owners of single family homes and duplexes have 24 hours to get the job done while all other property owners have four hours after the snow has stopped to get them cleared.
“Failure to shovel and maintain your sidewalk could result in a warning letter and, if left uncleared, a bill for the City to remove snow from your sidewalk,” a news release said.
A typical bill is $229, the city said.
Last year the city sent 5,899 warning letters to property owners which resulted in 1,085 invoices sent to property owners for work completed.
The hefty snowfall is likely to trigger the first snow emergency of the season. The city is imploring residents to pay attention for alerts posted on the city’s website and social media accounts, and follow the rules. Doing so allows plows to clear the streets and vehicle owners can avoid a ticket and a tow, said Minneapolis spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie.
The white landscape, however, may be fleeting. Temperatures are forecast to soar into the 40s by Tuesday and Wednesday and bring significant melting. Thermometers in southern Minnesota may even register 50 degrees or warmer, Hewett said.
“It is an unusual warm up,” Hewett said. “You could call it a December Thaw.”