Chances of a winter storm impacting Minnesota later this week are increasing, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
What remains unclear is how much snow the storm system will be able to unpack and where the worst conditions will be, but the NWS is advising Minnesotans who have travel plans Thursday or Friday to keep tabs on the forecast due to the potential for hazardous weather.
"Wednesday night through Friday has become increasingly more interesting as it appears probable we will receive accumulating precipitation. Multiple questions still exist in the forecast with regard to precipitation timing, type, and amount," explains the forecast discussion from the Twin Cities office of the NWS.
At this point, the NWS is suggesting that precipitation could begin Thursday morning in the form of rain, a wintry mix or freezing rain, then change to snow Thursday afternoon.
"This situation will be closely monitored as freezing rain is very hazardous and it would occur during the morning commute," the forecast discussion reads.
You can see that scenario playing out in the latest simulation from the European computer model. In the GIF below, different shades of purple indicate a mix or freezing precipitation while the blue indicates all snow.
It's also worth pointing out that the European model is just one of many the NWS uses to create its forecast, and other models, including the American and NAM models, are not aggressive as the European model is in bringing the bulk of the storm and precipitation into the heart of Minnesota.
If the storm does bring impacts the way the European model suggests, it could be a powerful winter storm.
"I'm concerned that near-blizzard conditions may develop in western Minnesota if this storm system does intensify as expected on Thursday and into Friday," says Novak Weather. "I wouldn't be surprised if significant snow falls over much of the Upper Midwest, including the Twin Cities."
Again, the amount of snow that will be associated with this storm system remains unclear, but the Duluth office of the NWS believes the highest amounts could be in far northern Minnesota.
"The heaviest snow is expected Thursday night and early Friday, with the highest snowfall amounts expected over far northern Minnesota. Snow will end from west to east later Friday into Friday night, with Lake Effect Snow lingering into Saturday," the Duluth NWS said Tuesday morning.