NWS: 'High likelihood of road closures' during brunt of blizzard Saturday night, Sunday morning

The heaviest snow will fall between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Sunday.
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5 P.M. UPDATE

The storm remains on track to drop significant snow in southeast Minnesota as well as usher in very strong winds that will cause blizzard conditions in pretty much everywhere south of Interstate 94. 

Snowfall in southeast Minnesota will range from 6-12 inches, although the National Weather Service Twin Cities says 10-14 inches can be expected wherever the heaviest band of snow sets up, which will likely fall somewhere in the orange shaded area in the map below. 

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"The forecast continue to remain on track for a major winter storm to impact the area tonight and tomorrow, with snowfall amounts of 10-14 inches expected from south-central Minnesota through western Wisconsin, and ground blizzard conditions developing tonight and tomorrow across open areas of western and southern Minnesota as winds gust as high as 45-50 mph," the NWS Twin Cities says. 

The snow will be heaviest between 6 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday before it's pretty much out of Minnesota by noon. But the strong winds will stick around and make for difficult travel conditions most of the day Sunday. 

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The Twin Cities will get some snow and wind, but nothing near the amounts that can be expected further south and east. 

7 A.M.

A little bit of snow fell overnight and now it's time to wait and see what happens with the brunt of Minnesota's winter storm as it arrives Saturday evening. 

The National Weather Service says the forecast remains on track to bring very intense snow to southeast Minnesota, and strong winds all across southern Minnesota that'll create blizzard conditions through the overnight hours into Sunday morning. 

Blizzard warnings have now been extended to the east and include Red Wing and Rochester, and a winter storm watch has been issued for counties along Interstate 94 where less snow is expected but winds could be strong enough to limit visibility and cause dangerous travel conditions. 

Douglas, Todd, Stearns, Sherburne, Wright, Hennepin, Anoka, Ramsey, Washington and Polk counties are included in the winter storm watch. 

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The heaviest snow is expected to fall in a narrow band from around Albert Lea to Rochester up through Red Wing and into west-central Wisconsin, while anywhere from 2-4 inches is expected in the Twin Cities. 

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You can see on the map how the snowfall totals drop rapidly over a short distance to the west of where the heaviest band is expected to develop. A distance of just 30-40 miles could be the difference between 2 inches of snow or 8 inches. 

Strong winds gusting 35-45 mph, possibly 50 mph in open areas of southern Minnesota, will cause dangerous blowing and drifting snow late Saturday through Sunday morning. 

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Places that aren't expected to pick up much, if any more snow from this system, still have fresh snow from previous storms that the strong winds will blow around with ease. 

"There is a high likelihood of road closures Saturday night into Sunday for locations that are under a blizzard warning," says the National Weather Service. 

In a tweet, the weather service added: "It's been a while since we've seen a winter storm with winds this strong. Please stay off the roads tonight. If you must travel, bring warm clothes, a charged cell phone, and tell someone where you're going and when you arrive." 

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