MOORHEAD, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Well, so much for fall. If Thursday is any indication, we might as well welcome winter.
It was a chilly start to the day with temperatures hovering around the 40s, but meteorologist Mike Augustyniak said the coolest temps are ahead.
Temps will plummet into the 20s and 30s overnight, meaning Friday morning will be the coldest by far of the week. Windchills could be around 10 in the northern parts of the state — feeling extremely cold until the mid-afternoon.
Areas in northwestern Minnesota have already seen several inches of wet snow. The snow will continue to fall throughout Thursday, with the steadiest stuff falling in the afternoon. Greenbush, Minn., has reported at least 8 inches and snow is still falling.
The wet, heavy snow pulled down power lines and temporarily cut service to 6,500 Xcel Energy customers in the Moorhead area early Thursday. Thief River Falls was without power for two hours. The utility company says service was restored by mid-morning.
After summer-like temperatures in the 70s Wednesday, some northern residents scrambled to find heavy coats and boots and dug and looked for their snow shovels and snow blowers.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for northwestern Minnesota, where as much as 14 inches of snow was expected to fall through Friday. Rain mixed with heavy snow and blustery winds reduced visibility to near white-out conditions at East Grand Forks. Thief River Falls and Stephen-Argyle were among schools that canceled classes.
Augustyniak said lighter snow showers and snow fall will drop overnight and into Friday in those areas, which include Bemidji, Brainerd and Fargo, N.D.
Roseau and Hallock could see 6 to 12 inches of snow fall.
We’ll get back to temperatures in the 50s and 60s next Monday and Tuesday.
Snow dampened wildfires in northwestern Minnesota, but not before they consumed more than 56 square miles of woods and grassland this week. Eleven homes and two dozen other structures were destroyed in the Karlstad area due to wildfires fueled by dry and windy conditions.
“From a protection standpoint, it’s a blanket of security around structures that didn’t burn near structures that did,” Karlstad Fire Chief Jeremy Folland said. “It’s back to business as usual, so we’re not on active alert.”
Visiting fire and emergency crews, including those from federal and state agencies that responded to the weekend fires, are beginning to demobilize, Folland said.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)