Heavy snow, freezing rain and heavy rain will bombard Minnesota as a powerful winter storm arrives this weekend, and the National Weather Service has issued numerous winter storm watches in advance of the system.
A winter storm watch is in effect for the weekend along and north/west of a line from near Marshall to St. Cloud to Duluth. The Twin Cities is not included in the watch.
A winter weather advisory may be issued at a later stage for areas east of the winter storm watch, but the air also might be warm enough to produce all rain throughout the majority of the storm, the weather service said.
Snow totals will vary within the watch, but generally speaking, at least 6 inches of snow are possible with higher amounts where the precipitation remains snow versus a mix or freezing rain.
The freezing rain could precede the snow, which could make for an icy surface that ultimately gets covered by heavy, wet snow.
Bottom line: Travel could becoming extremely difficult or impossible in many areas.
All of the computer models are in agreement, but the Canadian model (below) seems to line up nicely with where the winter storm watch is.
Central, west-central Minnesota
Douglas, Todd, Morrison, Stevens, Pope, Stearns, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Yellow Medicine counties:
How much? 6+ inches of snow and a tenth of inch or more of ice.
More from the National Weather Service in the Twin Cities:
"In this region, snow should start during the early morning hours on Saturday but change over to wintry mixed precipitation before noon Saturday. This wintry mixed precipitation will be heavy at times and should last into the late afternoon hours on Sunday. Afterwards, precipitation will change back over to snow and continue into early Monday morning."
Further west, in Big Stone, Traverse and Grant counties, 11-15 inches of snow is currently forecast.
Koochiching, St. Louis, Cook, Lake, Itasca, Cass, Crow Wing, Carlton, Aitkin counties:
How much? 5-10 inches of snow and ice accumulations up to one tenth of an inch.
Heavy snow, with 6-12 inches of accumulation, is possible from the Brainerd Lakes area north through the central Borderland. Winds could also gust up to 40 mph.
Lincoln, Lyon counties:
How much? 6-12 inches of snow and one to two tenths of an inch of ice.
Murray, Pipestone, Rock counties:
How much? 2-5 inches of snow and 1-2 tenths of an inch of ice.
Clay, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Beltrami, Pennington, Red Lake, Clearwather, Polk, Mahnomen, Hubbard, Becker, Wilkin, Otter Tail, Wadena counties:
How much? 6+ inches of snow and up to one tenth of an inch of ice.