ST. PAUL — It looks like Mother Nature may shake up Thanksgiving travel plans.
“We are expecting the first significant winter storm of the year to move into the Twin Cities area on Tuesday evening and impact the area through early Wednesday afternoon,” said Brent Hewett, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, on Monday, Nov. 25.
A storm system forecast to bring 6 or more inches of snow is expected to arrive in the Twin Cities by about 6 or 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Travel is expected to be severely impacted through at least Wednesday morning,” the NWS in the Twin Cities tweeted on Monday morning. “Consider altering your travel plans, if possible.”
“If people have to travel,” Hewett said Monday, “we are urging them to leave tomorrow morning.”
Although snow is expected across the area, the heaviest totals will likely be over eastern and southern Minnesota and into western and northern Wisconsin, according to the forecast. Gusty winds will develop later Tuesday night, which could cause blowing snow.
Responses on Twitter were mixed:
People tweeted “DO NOT LIKE” and “Nooo!” But also “Yaaaaay!!” and “I love MN” in response to the tweet.
And another said, “I wish to tender my resignation as a Minnesotan effective the day before Thanksgiving and continuing until the sky is done swearing in the spring!”
Meanwhile, shoppers crowded the aisles at the Cub Foods store on University Avenue in St. Paul on Monday afternoon — many on dual missions of prepping for Thanksgiving Day as well as the first winter storm of the season.
Rachel Brehm, of St. Paul, was there to grab last-minute groceries for her Thanksgiving Day dinner.
She said she completed most of her shopping Saturday and wanted to head to the store closer to Thanksgiving to pick up miscellaneous grocery items, like a roasting pan and spices, but after learning about the snowstorm she decided she needed to expedite her trip.
“Literally, that’s why I’m here,” Brehm said.
The storm is expected to travel through the Twin Cities quickly: “By Wednesday evening,” according to an NWS reply to a question posed on Twitter, “travel should be improving. Snowfall will be over and cleanup should be mostly finished.”
That means traveling on Thanksgiving Day should be improved locally.
But winter weather is expected back sooner rather than later — perhaps to coincide with people’s travel plans home this weekend.
However, Hewett said, there’s a chance that the slower-moving system could end up turning to rain in the metro — in the days ahead, stay tuned at Weather.gov/mpx/winter.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is also preparing for the onset of the wintry weather. Statewide road condition information is available online at 511mn.org.
Kristi Belcamino, Molly Guthrey and Michelle Griffith of the St. Paul Pioneer contributed to this report.