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UPDATE: Twin Cities added to winter storm warning, snow totals expected to be higher

The afternoon commute is going to be a nightmare.

The rollercoaster forecasting for the Twin Cities continues as the National Weather Service has put the entire metro area into a winter storm warning for the rest of the day. 

This is a bit of a surprise considering the higher snow totals were expected to remain east of the metro and into western Wisconsin, judging by forecasts on Wednesday night.

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Here's what the NWS is saying now: 

"Total snowfall amounts of 6 to 8 inches will occur in the Winter Storm Warning in portions of central and east central Minnesota, as well as west central Wisconsin. Winds are expected to increase late this morning, with blizzard conditions developing across west central into south central Minnesota by the afternoon and lasting through the evening."

That means the Twin Cities can now expect a total of 6-8 inches rather than 2-5 inches this morning's first forecast called for (see further down), and St. Cloud is in line for 8-12 rather than 3-4, as originally forecast. 

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More specifically, the NWS says the western and northern metro area is getting hit quite hard now. 

Travel conditions continue to deteriorate because of the storm, and stronger winds this afternoon will make it even more treacherous. Both Minneapolis and St. Paul have declared snow emergencies. 

There is already a no-travel advisory in place in west-central Minnesota due to blizzard conditions on the roads.

With that, many schools are closed or closing early, while school bus trips can expect delays this afternoon. Get the full list here from KARE 11

Update 7 a.m.

Snow has arrived in the Twin Cities but not before a quick blast of sleet and mixed precipitation coated the area, adding to the expected travel disruptions for the morning commute. 

Overall, the heaviest snow totals are now expected east of the metro area in Wisconsin, and Washington and Dakota counties have been dropped from the winter storm warnings they were placed in on Wednesday. 

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"For today, expecting 1-2" across western MN, 2-5" for eastern MN, and 4-7" for western WI with the higher amounts expected the further east you go," says the National Weather Service Twin Cities (NWS) forecast discussion

The weather service says both commutes will be impacted today, mainly by snow this morning and by blowing snow and icy conditions this afternoon. 

The worst travel conditions are expected where less snow will fall in western and southern Minnesota, where a blizzard warning is in effect as strong northwest winds gusting over 40 mph will cause significant blowing and drifting snow. 

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Whiteout conditions are likely, in addition to temperatures crashing throughout the day. 

Overnight tonight wind chill values in western Minnesota will drop to 30-40 degrees below zero. In the metro area the wind chill could reach minus-30. 

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After today, it'll be frigid on Friday with temps warming slightly for the weekend. The NWS says another major winter storm could impact parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin again early next week. 

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