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Big winter storm could slam Minnesota this week

Snow and ice accumulations are "likely," the NWS says.

A big storm system could bring all types of wintry precipitation to Minnesota and Wisconsin later this week, as the National Weather Service (NWS) continues to discuss a "potentially significant storm system Friday night through Saturday night." 

Snow and ice accumulations are "likely," the NWS Twin Cities says, with the Duluth branch of the NWS adding that "significant snowfall totals [are] expected." 

But where those accumulations happen will depend on the track of the storm system. Specific details probably won't begin to come into focus until the storm system moves onto the West Coast Wednesday night, according to the NWS. 

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The storm track is critical because, as of now, it looks like the Twin Cities could be on the edge of the freezing line aloft (where the precipitation forms). That's important because places north of the freezing line are more likely to get snow while locations south of the freezing line are in the warm section and thus more likely to get liquid. 

"You get south of that it's going to be liquid. You get north of that and transitions over to snow," explains meteorologist Sven Sundgaard. "And that's the problem with trying to forecast this Saturday storm."

Screen Shot 2022-02-28 at 11.26.38 AM

As of now, the best chances for "really heavy accumulating snowfall is gonna be probably central Minnesota," says Sundgaard, "but any shift in this track and the warm air that goes with it is going to change things dramatically." 

The European model shows potential for pretty significant moisture in the form of rain (green), freezing rain (pink), snow (purple) and sleet (orange). The darker the color, the higher the accumulation. 

This graphic shows potential for the Twin Cities to get all four types of precipitation (rain, freezing rain, snow and sleet). 

This graphic shows potential for the Twin Cities to get all four types of precipitation (rain, freezing rain, snow and sleet). 

The American model is very similar to the Euro. 

gfs-deterministic-minnesota-total_precip_ptype_fourpanel-6719200

And the Canadian model also resembles the Euro and American models, so it's clear that there is good agreement from the models about what could go down this coming Friday-Saturday. 

gem-all-minnesota-total_precip_ptype_fourpanel-6676000

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