Rain will overspread much of Minnesota this afternoon and evening before it changes over to snow in far northern Minnesota, eventually forming snow showers across the southern half of the state as the back side of the storm system pushes through the region Thursday into Friday.
It's a long-duration storm system that could dump accumulating snow in far northern Minnesota, and perhaps 2-3 inches in northwestern and western/west-central Minnesota. In the Twin Cities, Mankato and Rochester, a dusting is most likely.
The storm system is powerful enough that if 2-3 inches of snow does fall in western Minnesota, there could be blizzard conditions. More on that in the National Weather Service's forecast discussion:
"Expected impacts with the combination of snow shower activity and gusty winds is a bit uncertain, but they could range from scattered snow showers and short durations of reduced visibility... to blizzard conditions.
"At this time, the snowfall forecast of a couple inches would probably not be enough to lead to blizzard conditions, but it could be possible if heavier snow showers/squalls are persistent. In any event, if conditions as predicted now do materialize, some type of winter headline will be needed in later forecasts."
For the Twin Cities, rain arrives Wednesday afternoon along with gusty southeast winds developing during the day. Thursday is expected to start out dry before light snow develops after sunset. The light snow will continue into Friday.
"The most widespread snow shower activity should form from northern and western Minnesota into the eastern Dakotas. There may be 2 or 3 inches that fall across west-central Minnesota, with an inch or less farther east," the NWS says.
Places like Roseau and International Falls will get the heaviest and highest accumulations, 6-8 inches along the north-central international border. Here's the official snowfall forecast map from the NWS:
In northern Minnesota, where the snow begins overnight into Thursday morning, accumulations are expected to begin on grassy surfaces Thursday and then accumulate on the pavement as temperatures drop throughout the day. The biggest travel impacts are expected Thursday evening through Friday morning.
Once this system exits the region, all eyes turn to an Alberta clipper that could drop light accumulations in Minnesota Saturday night into Sunday morning. More on both systems in the latest update from Novak Weather here: