It's go time for Mother Nature as a powerful winter storm will bring hazardous impacts to almost all of Minnesota Friday through Saturday. Many of the details remain similar to what the National Weather Service released Thursday, but there are slight changes to make note of.
The biggest update is that blizzard warnings have been issued for Saturday for a wide area of western Minnesota while the rest of the state – literally all of Minnesota – is entrenched in a winter storm warning.
"The winter storm remains on track for later today into Saturday. The heaviest snow is expected this afternoon and evening. Strong winds will also contribute to reduced visibility from blowing and drifting snow through Saturday. Travel will be difficult this afternoon through Saturday," says the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities.
Snow totals, as forecast by the National Weather Service:
Timing of the snow, and when it will fall the hardest:
The National Weather Service maps above don't say anything about a foot of snow being possible, as they had earlier in the week, but there are local meteorologists saying the best chance for 10-12 inches is west of the metro, including locations like St. Cloud, Willmar and Alexandria.
The GFS (American) computer model is still suggesting 10+ inches is possible in the metro.
The HRRR model is also suggesting 8-10 inches for the metro, with higher amounts straight west of the Twin Cities.
Here's the official winter storm warning alert from the National Weather Service:
"Heavy snow will develop across west central and southwest Minnesota after 8 am this morning. The heavy snow will then spread into central and eastern Minnesota during the late morning and early afternoon, and continue through Friday evening. Most of the snow will fall late Friday morning into Friday evening. Totals of 5 to 9 inches of snow are expected across much of central and southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
"Snow will taper off later Friday night, but very strong northwest winds gusting to 40 and 50 mph will develop on Saturday, especially in western Minnesota. Blowing snow will be widespread with near zero visibility in open country, with the worst conditions from west central into south central Minnesota. In addition, falling temperatures will lead to icy roads and very cold temperatures, especially on Saturday.
"This storm will impact travel. Expect snow-covered roads followed by strong winds, blowing snow and falling temperatures."
While winds will be strong in and around the Twin Cities on Saturday, it's in western and south-central Minnesota where strong northwest winds could gust upwards of 40-50 mph, causing persistent whiteout conditions.
We'll continue to provide updates as the weather service does the same.