First Significant Storm Of The Season Set To Hit Friday; Winter Storm Watch Already In Effect For Portions Of The Region

Wed 11-16-2016 []

(Spirit Lake)-- Temperatures in the 60's and our mild fall weather is about to come to a screeching halt. The National Weather Service says a large early winter storm will take shape over the southwest US later today into Thursday. The system will then lift northeast into the plains, causing a big dip in the jet stream that will allow the coldest air of the season to plunge southward. It will also bring a large shield of precipitation with it, starting off late Thursday in the form of rain and maybe even a thunderstorm or two. Precipitation will quickly change to snow Friday morning and continue through the rest of the day and into the night, before ending late Friday night.

A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for portions of the region from late Thursday night through Friday evening. It includes Lyon county in northwest Iowa along with Murray, Nobles, Pipestone and Rock counties in southwest Minnesota, and several counties in southeast South Dakota, including the Sioux Falls area.  The Weather Service says 4 to 7 inches of snow could fall in that area, with less amounts in the Iowa Great Lakes, where 2 to 3 inches could fall.

A strong northwest wind will be an issue as well, with gusts to 45 mph possible Friday into Friday night. This, combined with any falling snow, could result in near whiteout conditions at times.

Those with travel plans should stay tuned to later forecasts as the trajectory of this system becomes better defined.

Highs will struggle to get out of the low 30's this weekend with lows in the teens.