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Heavy rain will swamp the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota while snow accumulates across far northern Minnesota. That's the forecast from the National Weather Service as a strong low-pressure system spins through the region Wednesday through Saturday. 

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Future radar simulation

Most models are aligned in showing rain overspreading most of Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and night before rain begins to mix with snow in the Northland then turning to all show on the backside of the storm. The European model shown below depicts that scenario quite well. 

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The American, Canadian and NAM models are nearly identical to the European model. 

What to expect in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Mankato and Rochester

"A large storm system will bring an extended stretch of active weather beginning Wednesday afternoon. Widespread rain and gusty winds are expected Wednesday PM, with some light snow likely along with gusty winds late Thursday night into Friday," says the NWS Twin Cities. 

A quarter to a half-inch of rain followed by a dusting to an inch of snow is possible, according to the weather service. Higher rainfall amounts (up to an inch or so) are most likely in western Wisconsin. 

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What to expect in Duluth and the Northland

"A system remains on track to affect much of the Northland in the Wednesday through Friday time frame. While snow amounts remain uncertain, the best chance for any plowable/shovelable snow remains across north-central Minnesota. The morning commutes Thursday and Friday may be slick, especially Friday morning with colder temperatures expected," says the NWS Duluth. 

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What to expect in northwest Minnesota

"Rain is expected to change over to snow late Wednesday night into Thursday morning, then persist through early Friday morning. Gusty north to northwest winds will accompany this system, potentially reducing visibility and leading to drifting snow. Travel difficulties are possible for both the morning and evening commutes on Thursday," says the NWS Grand Forks. 

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How much snow will fall?

As the NWS offices in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Grand Forks mentioned, it's uncertain just how much snow will accumulate. 

Here's the latest thinking from the NWS, which shows 4-6 inches along the north-central international border with lower amounts the further south you go, including a dusting to an inch of snow in the southern half of the state and the Twin Cities. 

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Another storm system – an Alberta clipper – could slide through Minnesota on Sunday. It's unclear how strong and how much moisture the clipper will have to work with, but Novak Weather is monitoring the forecast. His latest video here: 

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