Mar 21, 2024 - News

Snowstorm looms over Minnesota as spring break travel is set to peak

A white jetBlue airplane with a blue tail sits on the tarmac at an airport with a city skyline in the background.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a November 2019 snowstorm. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

An early spring snowstorm could hit the Twin Cities metro Thursday evening right as many Minnesotans will be trying to escape for spring break.

The latest: The National Weather Service expects 3 to 5 inches of snow in the metro, with most of it falling between 8pm Thursday and 6am Friday.

  • A shifting forecast means there's still a chance a narrow swath of the region could see up to 7 inches.

Why it matters: A snowstorm will add to the usual travel hassles on the days Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport projects to be their busiest of the spring.

By the numbers: MSP Airport expects spring break passenger travel to peak on Thursday and Friday with 48,000 passengers moving through security both days, according to airport spokesperson Jeff Lea.

What they're saying: "Just like any other storm," Lea told Axios, "MSP will have crews ready to respond to manage and remove snow."

Yes, but: "A more significant storm" is due to slam the region starting Sunday, NWS says, carrying the potential for even bigger traffic and travel snarls.

  • MSP expects 45,000 departing passengers on Sunday, but Lea noted, "it's too early to say" how the weekend storm might affect the airport.

Threat level: The second weather system could last into early next week, with a safe bet for at least half a foot of snow.

  • There's still an outside chance of a foot of snow by Monday, NWS says, but a lot in that forecast could still change.

Reality check: "Travelers should plan ahead for their spring break flights," airport officials said in a statement.

Context: Early spring snow isn't unusual here. In the last 30 winters, the Twin Cities has averaged 8.8 inches of snow in March.

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