Heavy Wintry Precipitation and Strong Winds, March 16-17, 2023

blowing snow on Highway 212
US 212, near Clara City, Chippewa County at 7pm March 16, 2023.
Image credit: MNDOT

Another winter storm brought rain, sleet, heavy snow, and gusty winds to Minnesota on Thursday March 16th, 2023, lingering into Friday March 17th.

Snow had developed just after midnight on Thursday in northern Minnesota, well ahead of low pressure organizing in Colorado. As the low intensified and tracked towards Lake Michigan, a larger area of heavy precipitation expanded rapidly out of northeastern Nebraska during Thursday morning, quickly spreading across much of Minnesota. Rain began falling in many areas, but as cold air worked into the system, it changed over to snow, with strong winds causing significant blowing and drifting in open areas. Highways across southwest Minnesota, including I-90 from Jackson to the South Dakota border were closed due to blowing and drifting snow causing whiteout conditions. All of I-90 in Minnesota was reopened by 9 am Friday. There were 200 crashes and spinouts reported in Minnesota on Thursday, the 16th.

There was still some light falling snow in the north on Friday, with blustery and temperatures about fifteen degrees colder than normal across the entire state.

Snowfall Totals

Heavier snow was confined to a narrow band from southwest to northeast from Sioux Falls through the St. Cloud area and northeast to Hibbing and Duluth. Some of the higher totals reported to the National Weather Service included 5 inches at St. Cloud and 6.4 inches at Onamia. The highest total was 7.3 inches near the town of Payne in St. Louis County. The Twin Cities International Airport saw 0.1 inches of snow, bringing the season total for the 2022-23 winter to 80.6 inches, or the eighth snowiest winter on record. The 2022-23 season snowfall at St. Cloud climbed to 79.0 inches, or the fourth snowiest on record. Duluth was at 121.3 inches for the 2022-23 season, also good enough to be the fourth snowiest on record.

Updated Jan 5, 2024


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