'Potentially historic' blizzard bearing down on Dakotas, northwest Minnesota

Crippling snow and winds will hit the region late Wednesday.
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While most of Minnesota is bracing for heavy rain and street flooding Wednesday and Thursday, parts of northwest Minnesota are hunkering down in anticipation of a nasty blizzard. 

"This blizzard has the potential to be historic," says a meteorologist from the Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service. "It will likely be the strongest blizzard of the year and it also has the potential of being the strongest blizzard that we've seen in the past several years."

Snow totals could vary greatly over short distances because there's so much warm air associated with this storm, but the NWS Grand Forks believes the axis of heaviest snow will be from Grand Forks to Roseau, where 6-12 inches and isolated higher amounts are possible. 

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Winds of 30-40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are possible in the blizzard-warned area.  

"The strong winds combined with heavy snowfall may lead to very dangerous conditions across the Dakotas and into part of Minnesota," NWS Grand Forks says. 

The blizzard is expected to have crippling impacts to travel, along with possible power outages and street flooding where excessive rain could fall, mainly south and east of the heaviest snow. 

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"Combining these winds with periods of heavy snow has us concerned that the blizzard conditions could be the worst we've seen in a while," Ryan says. 

Part of west-central Minnesota – Traverse and Big Stone counties – are in a winter weather advisory for a possible 2-5 inches of snow and winds gusting up to 60 mph.

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The simulated future radar shows rain working into southwest Minnesota Wednesday morning and becoming heavy during the afternoon.

The heavy snow can also be seen in northwest Minnesota. Rain will transition to snow everywhere late Thursday before the storm exits the region. 

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Up to an inch of rain could fall in the Twin Cities with higher amounts in western and central Minnesota. Rumbles of thunder are also possible today. 

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Conditions are expected to improve late Thursday night into Friday morning. 

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