OWATONNA — Much of southern Minnesota will be under a wind chill advisory Thursday morning, with below-zero temperatures and strong gusts lingering until the weekend.
Meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein with the National Weather Service said the advisory will be in effect from midnight until 10 a.m., when wind chill values could dip past minus 30. Overnight, gusts are predicted to range from 20 to 30 miles per hour, slowing down during the day before getting back up to that same range Friday afternoon.
After a period of calmer winds, Hasenstein noted that the arrival of a two-part system is to blame for the sudden change in weather.
“We have a cold front moving in on Wednesday and then a high pressure front moving in behind it,” he explained. “Temperatures will be at their coldest around 6 a.m. on Thursday. It does look like temperatures are only going to reach around minus 5 that afternoon but the winds will be continuing to weaken, so overall the wind chill will have improved.”
He added that Owatonna isn’t alone in experiencing the arctic blast. Winds will be adding to the chill across much of southern Minnesota and are anticipated to be strongest in the western part of the state. In addition to winds, temperatures on Thursday night are predicted to hit a low of 16 below zero, and Friday morning may not feel much better.
“It will also be quite cold, probably talking negative teens as well, but winds will be significantly weaker,” said Hasenstein. “Wind chills won’t be as bad, but we still could be looking at another advisory.”
He added that the wind chill calculation is based on what a person would feel with exposed skin, meaning that a wind chill of minus 35 means that outdoor air would seem to be that temperature on any uncovered part of the body.
When determining wind chill, he noted that both wind speed and temperature play a large role, but that changes in the rate at which gusts are blowing can have a bigger impact than a few-degree drop in temperature.
“Even a one or two miles per hour change in the winds could significantly impact what your expected wind chills are,” said Hasenstein.
After a cold snap in the next couple of days, the National Weather Service expects things to warm up again over the weekend. Hasenstein noted that winds will be shifting out of the south, so there will be warmer air moving into Saturday. Currently, the forecasted high is right around freezing, although winds could still be blowing at up to 25 miles per hour.
Gusts are forecasted to die down by Sunday, when it’s anticipated to be sunny with a high near 30 degrees. There is also a chance for precipitation over the weekend, which Hasenstein said should result in half an inch of accumulation at most on Saturday.
According to Hasenstein, a report out of Owatonna put this past weekend’s total snowfall at just above 10 inches.