Major snow totals still on track as the brunt of the storm moves in

Up to 18 inches of snow and whiteout conditions are possible.
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UPDATE 10 P.M. 

Here's the latest timing for snowfall from the National Weather Service. 

UPDATE 5:50 P.M.

The National Weather Service has put out a new snowfall forecast map, and it has a large section of of the state in a range of 9-14 inches of snow, including the Twin Cities metro area. 

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Rain and sleet will change over to snow tonight and continue into Saturday, although a mid-morning break in the snow is possible before another round of accumulating, heavy snow begins. 

Totals of up to 18 inches are possible, especially in southwestern Minnesota, the NWS says. 

Original story

The National Weather Service has said the spring storm hitting Minnesota today through Sunday morning has a chance to be "historic." 

Here's how it's all expected to play out. 

Ongoing rain and thunderstorms in southern Minnesota will transition to snow this evening as colder air works it way into the region. The snow then gets very heavy overnight and through the day Saturday.

Small hail can't be ruled out along the Minnesota-Iowa border, the NWS says.  

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Blizzard warnings have been extended slightly east and now cover all of west-central and southwest Minnesota and parts of south-central Minnesota. The Twin Cities metro area and points north and south are in a winter storm warning from 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday morning. 

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The NWS says travel will be "impossible" with whiteout conditions Friday night through Saturday where the blizzard hits. 

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How much snow will fall?

Depending on who you ask the amounts vary, but pretty much everyone is saying it's going to be a lot. Here's a rundown of what meteorologists are predicting. 

The NWS says: "Total snow accumulations of 8 to 15 inches are expected from west central and southwest Minnesota to east central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, with totals nearing 18 inches possible across southwest Minnesota. Totals will taper off to 4 to 8 inches across south central Minnesota."

The Weather Channel has a bullseye over Marshall in southwest Minnesota, with 18-24 inches possible while the rest of the areas in the warnings are under an 8-18 inch prediction. 

Meteorologist Paul Douglas wrote about one computer model predicting 22 inches for the Twin Cities, and while he said those "freakish" amounts can't be ruled out, he doesn't expect it to be that much. 

"There's also significantly more water vapor to work with than you'd have for a January storm, so some extreme amounts simply can't be ruled out," he wrote.

Meanwhile, freezing rain could accumulate up to a quarter of an inch in southeastern Minnesota, including Rochester. 

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