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NWS on incoming winter storm: 'Forecast snowfall amounts have increased'

Travel could be impacted Thursday and Friday.

A powerful winter storm is forecast to push through Minnesota Wednesday night through Friday, with the National Weather Service saying the snowfall forecast has increased. 

In an update released Wednesday morning, the NWS said snow and strong winds are expected, and although snowfall amounts have increased "there is still uncertainty." 

Seven counties in southwestern Minnesota have already been placed in a winter storm watch: Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles and Pipestone counties, where the weather service says 3-9 inches of snow is possible Thursday night through Friday in addition to dangerous travel conditions caused by winds gusting up to 55 mph. 

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It's likely that much more of Minnesota is placed in a winter storm watch later Wednesday, including the Twin Cities metro area. According to the latest guidance from the NWS, the chances of 6+ inches of snow in parts of Minnesota is increasing. 

Per the forecast discussion from the Twin Cities office of the NWS, the best chance for 6+ inches of snow will be wherever a narrow band of heavier snow sets up. That location is difficult to predict, so the map below will likely change in the next 24-36 hours. 

Tab2FileL (45)

This is exactly what Novak Weather predicted would happen when he discussed the potential evolution of the storm system during his Monday video briefing. 

"I'm concerned that near-blizzard conditions may develop in western Minnesota if this storm system does intensify as expected on Thursday and into Friday," Novak said Monday. "I wouldn't be surprised if significant snow falls over much of the Upper Midwest, including the Twin Cities."

Novak Weather will have an updated video briefing that we'll share later Wednesday. 

In terms of precipitation types and timing, the NWS is forecasting a glaze of ice (freezing rain) Thursday morning, followed by increasing winds and a change-over to snow, with the bulk of the snow falling Thursday night into Friday. 

Tab5FileL (2)

Here's a look at the European computer model radar simulation, which has been rather consistent over the past few days. It shows rain, freezing rain or a wintry mix impacting parts of the state Thursday morning before a long duration snow event sets up through Friday evening. 

floop-ecmwf_full-2021011300.prateptype_cat_ecmwf.us_mw

Check back for updates later Wednesday. 

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