Blizzard warning in effect, Fergus public schools closed [UPDATED]Published 9:03pm Sunday, March 17, 2013 Updated 9:37pm Sunday, March 17, 2013
The National Weather Service replaced its winter storm warning with a blizzard warning for West Otter Tail County at about 8:45 p.m. Sunday. The warning, in effect until 7 p.m. Monday, said that 4-8 inches of snow will be coupled with winds that may reach 40 mph by Monday afternoon.
Shortly before 9:30 p.m. District 544 announced that Fergus Falls Public Schools would be closed Monday. The school district’s web site also indicated that a band concert scheduled for Monday night would instead be held on Tuesday night.
Travel conditions were expected to be hazardous Sunday night and through the day Monday. MnDOT reports from just before 9 p.m. showed difficult driving conditions on Highway 59 south of Fergus Falls, as well as on Highway 210 west and I-94 just north of the city. MnDOT’s web site showed five vehicles had spun out on the interstate.
Winds were out of the southeast at 24 mph gusting to 30 mph at 9 p.m. They are forecast to turn to the northwest and become even stronger as the storm system passes through the area, creating near-whiteout conditions in some areas.
The first band of precipitation from the developing winter storm passed through Fergus Falls at about 6 p.m. After a short pause, snow began falling again before 9 p.m.
Temperatures in the low 20s are expected Monday, before the mercury plunges Monday night, the start of a cold spell through Wednesday. Monday’s low is forecast at -5, Tuesday’s high at 12.
A winter storm warning remained in effect for East Otter Tail County
Watch fergusfallsjournal.com for more storm information as it becomes available.