Douglas County braces for 'historic winter storm' Feb. 21-23

Snow accumulations of 8 to 11 inches are possible, with winds gusting as high as 40 to 45 mph.

Douglas County will be under a winter storm warning from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, to 6 p.m. Thursday.
Alexandria Echo Press file photo

ALEXANDRIA — Douglas County and other regions throughout the state are bracing for a doozy of a winter storm over the next few days that could carry more than a foot of snow.

The National Weather Service is describing it as an “historic winter storm that should lead to impossible travel” by Wednesday night, Feb. 22.

Here’s how the weather service breaks it down:

A one, two punch

Two primary rounds of snow are expected across the state, eventually affecting 50 counties.

The first will arrive Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 21, moving from west to east, and tapering off early Wednesday.


Accumulations of 3 to 7 inches are expected with round one.

Round two is more widespread, and will begin Wednesday afternoon and continue into Thursday with an additional 10 to 20 inches expected, depending on your location.

Total snow accumulations will range from 15 to 25 inches, with the best chance for the higher end totals across east central Minnesota and west central Wisconsin. This is expected to reach the top 5 heaviest snow storms.

The worst conditions will be Wednesday evening through Thursday, and a blizzard warning was issued for several counties in western and central Minnesota during this time frame. Heavy snow will combine with northeast wind gusts of 35 mph across the region, to near 50 mph in western and central Minnesota.

This will lead to significant blowing and drifting snow with whiteout conditions in open areas. Some drifts may be several feet deep, making travel nearly impossible.

What to expect in Douglas County

Douglas County is under a winter weather advisory from noon on Tuesday to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches are expected, with winds gusting as high as 40 mph.

The county is also under a winter storm warning from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 6 p.m. Thursday.

During the warning, heavy snow and blowing snow is expected. Snow accumulations of 8 to 11 inches are possible, with winds gusting as high as 40 to 45 mph.


For the entire storm, total storm accumulations will range from 12 to 18 inches, according to the weather service.

Storm impacts

Travel could be very difficult to impossible with drifting snow and reduced visibility. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.

The cold wind chills as low as 25 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Significant drifting will occur due to the heavy snow totals and strong winds. Drifts may be several feet deep.

Precautionary actions

If you must travel, have a full tank of gas, a charged cell phone, and warm clothes or blankets with you. If you get stranded, say with your vehicle.

The latest road conditions for the state you are calling from can be obtained by calling 5-1-1.

Road conditions can also be found at for Minnesota.

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