Storm will hit abruptly and hard
Snow is expected to start abruptly and hard in the Twin Ports by about 8 p.m. tonight with up to 15 inches on the ground by the time snow ends early Saturday.
Higher amounts, up to 20 inches and more, are possible in the higher elevations around Lake Superior.
A broad area of central Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin will see up to a foot of new snow that will continue on into the Upper Peninsula.
In addition to heavy snow, winds gusting to more than 50 mph will cause near whiteout conditions, especially near Lake Superior from Two Harbors to the Twin Ports and on to Bayfield. Winds off the lake also could cause some flooding in low-lying areas, pushing waves up to 15 feet high onto shore.
"It's going to come fast and furious tonight,'' said Carol Christenson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth. "People might think they have time to get back tonight but it's going to hit very fast.''
Law enforcement officials are asking people to stay off area roads late tonight and Friday and stay home if possible. The National Weather Service in Duluth said snow may fall faster than highway plows can keep up with.
About 8-12 inches of snow is expected across the Iron Range, with snow beginning there by about 10 p.m. Lesser snow, from 3 to 6 inches, will fall closer to the Canadian border.
The heaviest snow will fall between 9 p.m. tonight and 9 a.m. Friday, Christenson said, but snow will continue all day Friday accompanied by gale-force winds.
High temperatures will recover near 50 degrees next week.