6:15 P.M. UPDATE
The National Weather Service has deployed a new expected snowfall totals map, and it has the metro getting 7-12 inches by Sunday morning. The higher totals would be more likely in the northern suburbs, the weather service says.
"These are total amounts for the entire storm and we may not end up with this much on the ground by Sun(day)," says senior meteorologist Bill Borghoff.
12:15 P.M. UPDATE
The National Weather Service has added the northern half of the Twin Cities metro area to the winter storm warning.
Anoka, Carver, Hennepin, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Ramsey, Washington and Wright counties have been added to the winter storm warning in Minnesota, and Chippewa, Dunn and St. Croix counties in Wisconsin.
"A total of 7 to 12 inches are expected by Sunday morning, with the lighter amounts on the southern edge of the warning," the weather service says. "From Canby to the Twin Cities and Eau Claire, snow will turn to a wintry mix Saturday and then turn back to snow Saturday night and Sunday morning. Gusty east winds of 30 to 40 mph could lead to patchy blowing snow as well."
Six to 9 inches of snow is forecast along the southern edge of the warning, and that includes the Twin Cities area in addition to locations like Willmar, Litchfield, Monticello, Hutchinson, Chaska, Stillwater, Hudson, Menomonie and Chippewa Falls.
Any further wobble south of the storm track could increase snow totals, or vice versa if the conditions warrant more rain/sleet than snow.
Here's the latest (12 p.m.) run of the European computer model, showing snow changing to a mix before going back to snow to close things out Saturday night into Sunday morning.
7 A.M. ORIGINAL STORY
Details remain murky about what exactly is going to happen with a winter storm that will bring impacts to the entire state of Minnesota Friday through Sunday, but there is enough on the table that the National Weather Service has issued a number of alerts.
- Winter storm warning: Almost all of central and northern Minnesota.
- Winter storm watch: Includes the 7-county metro area, then west towards Willmar.
- Blizzard warning: Includes Duluth and parts of the North Shore.
- Winter weather advisory: The southwest corner of Minnesota.
Generally, places within the winter storm warning can expect 8-12 inches of snow Friday night through Sunday. Snow will be heavy at times and winds gusting 30-40 mph could lead to patchy blowing snow.
Counties included in the winter storm watch are forecast to get up to six inches of snow via two waves. The first wave arrives Friday night, followed by a wintry mix or perhaps even all rain on Saturday, then another round of snow Saturday night into Sunday morning. If you're in the winter storm watch, this is what the NWS is dealing with:
"We expect a few inches of snow Friday night, and a few more inches of snow Saturday night. The uncertainty lies on Saturday, where we could see a transition to a wintry mix or rain. If we transition to rain, then total snowfall accumulation will only be 4 to 6 inches. If we end up being cooler and have more snow, then snowfall amounts will be higher. Given the uncertainty, will continue with a winter storm watch for these areas."
Areas of southwest Minnesota are in for a light glazing of ice via some freezing rain Friday morning, which could lead to slick roads and difficult travel conditions. South-central and southeast Minnesota will get some snow, just not levels that warrant watches or warnings at this point.
Then there's Duluth and parts of the North Shore, which are forecast to get pummeled by this winter storm. That's where a blizzard warning is in effect from 6 a.m. Saturday through noon Sunday, with snow accumulations of 12-20 inches expected, and up to two feet possible in the higher terrain of the North Shore. Mix in some 40 mph winds and travel will be extremely difficult if not impossible.
The weather service says it could be a top 10 two-day snowfall for the area.
Here's a look at the NAM computer simulation, which shows areas around the Twin Cities starting with snow before transitioning to a wintry mix or rain before turning back to snow Saturday night.
Other models show a more pronounced shield of wintry mix compared to this model, which is part of the reason the weather service remains in flux about what exactly will happen from about Willmar to the Twin Cities.
Regardless, it looks to be a humdinger of a storm for many Minnesotans. Probably a good weekend to stay at home and eat Thanksgiving leftovers.