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Power outages reported as heavy, wet snow hits the Northland

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Snow is falling in the Northland, the start of a March storm that could bring more than a foot of flakes to the region.

The winter storm warning posted by the National Weather Service says snow will fall at an inch or two per hour Wednesday, making visibility poor and roads slippery.

This prompted school districts in Duluth and Superior to cancel classes Wednesday, as did Hibbing.

By the time it ends on Thursday morning, forecasters say 12 to 18 inches could be on the ground in an area from Bemidji and the Iron Range through the Twin Ports and up the north and south shores of Lake Superior.

Power outages reported

Scattered power outages have been reported in the region, mostly due to heavy snow bringing down trees onto power lines and poles, Minnesota Power tweeted.

The National Weather Service in Duluth says more outages are possible Wednesday as wet snow causes tree limbs to break.

Check Minnesota Power's outage map here.

Rain first could cause trouble

One of the hazards of the storm is that the opening salvo came in the form of rain. In its briefing on the storm, the Weather Service said things could get dicey when the water turns to ice overnight. They say broken tree limbs and power outages are possible.

The layer of ice will get covered by snow in the morning, forecasters say, with winds gusting up to 35 mph making travel difficult. There's also a gale warning for Lake Superior through 11 a.m. Thursday.

That switch over started around 3 a.m., the National Weather Service in Duluth tweeted, noting it's "all snow now."

A measurement in Proctor around 7:30 a.m. recorded 3.5 inches of snow already.

Road conditions aren't great

By Wednesday morning, MnDOT's 511 conditions map showed many highways in that corner of the state were completely (pink on the map above) or partially (blue on the map) covered.

Warnings about road conditions began coming in early Wednesday.

Little if any snow in Twin Cities

The Twin Cities saw periods of heavy rain on Tuesday – even some lightning, WCCO reports. The outlook for Wednesday includes more rain, with little or none of the snow accumulations likely to sock the Northland.

Some snowflakes could make an appearance in the metro area Wednesday night, but they're not expected to pile up on the ground that's been warmed by record temperatures in early March.

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Southern Minnesota: not as wet but hold onto your hat

There's no snow left to blow around the roads of southern Minnesota. And that's a good thing, because the gusts of up to 50 miles an hour that are forecast for Wednesday could have created a whiteout.

The Weather Service has issued a wind advisory across the whole southern tier of Minnesota, from Worthington and Marshall to Red Wing and Rochester.

Looking ahead toward the second half of March, temperatures look like they'll be in the normal range for this time of year. The Weather Channel's 10-day outlook for the Twin Cities shows highs in the 40s nearly every day.

Perhaps it's Mother Nature reclaiming March from pushover status.

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