MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Freezing rain, ice storms and even thunderstorms are expected to wash over Minnesota on Christmas Day, coating roads and powerlines with ice in some areas and making travel particularly hazardous or even impossible.

Officials across the state are encouraging drivers to avoid travel if possible, as overnight rains already made roads slick with ice Sunday morning. Conditions are only expected to get worse.

Ice Storms

The National Weather Service has issued an ice storm warning for several counties in west-central Minnesota, encompassing an area stretching from Alexandria and St. Cloud in the south to Bemidji and Grand Rapids in the north.

Ice accumulation could be more than a quarter of an inch in some areas, and weather officials say residents should be prepared for possible power outages. Travel during the storm will be dangerous and roads could be closed.

Thunderstorms

Meteorologist Kylie Bearse says the storm system moving up from the Great Plains could bring scattered thunderstorms to parts of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro.

The precipitation is expected to start as a wintry mix during the day and change to rain as temperatures rise. Strong winds likely during the evening, with gusts up to 40 mph.

Until temperatures rise, freezing rain is also possible in southern Minnesota. Up to a tenth of an inch of ice may accumulate on roads and sidewalks, making travel hazardous.

Looking Ahead

Overnight temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, setting the stage for another slippery morning Monday.

The weather will be relatively mild throughout the week, with highs reaching above freezing Wednesday.

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