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A "long-duration" winter storm will make driving difficult Monday night and Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. 

This snowstorm will come in two waves, with the first wave already underway in west-central and central Minnesota. Snow began there Sunday night and heavy snow is expected for much of the day Monday, which has prompted a winter storm warning for the area. 

The NWS says that snow totals over the course of the two days could reach up to 18 inches in northern and northeastern Minnesota, while a huge area of central Minnesota could see a foot. However, some long-range models are predicting even larger totals in parts of the state.

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Several inches of light, fluffy snow is expected in central Minnesota on Monday. That, coupled with winds of 20-25 mph, could create areas of blowing and drifting snow. The NWS says people should plan for it to take longer to get to their destination and check the latest road conditions on MnDOT's website

"Snow rates have reduced visibilities down to half-mile in the heaviest snow, so period with higher winds could provide occasional blizzard conditions within the band [of snow]," NWS said in its forecast discussion Monday morning.

Read more [Feb. 20]: Winter storm warning issued for large area of Minnesota

National Weather Service says this two-day storm will have "extreme impacts" north of Interstate 94 between Alexandria and St. Cloud, and major impacts across central Minnesota, including Fergus Falls, Brainerd, Hinckley, Duluth, Alexandria and St. Cloud. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities metro is slated to see "moderate impacts" from this winter weather event.

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As of 7:30 a.m. Monday, roads in the region were already partially or completely covered in snow, according to MnDOT.

Road conditions as of 7:30 a.m. on Monday. 

Road conditions as of 7:30 a.m. on Monday. 

The highest snowfall totals on Monday are forecast to be in central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin, with snowfall amounts reaching 10 to 16 inches in the region, with locally higher amounts possible, including upwards of 19 inches on the south shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin, the NWS states

It's uncertain how much snow will fall farther south, with the National Weather Service stating areas like the Twin Cities metro aren't expected to get much snow on Monday. 

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Precipitation on Monday should remain all snow, though NWS warns there could be some freezing drizzle mixed in near the Interstate 90 corridor in southern Minnesota. 

Snow is expected to lighten up Monday evening before the second round of heavy snow makes its way into Minnesota late Monday into Tuesday. 

A second wave of snow on Tuesday 

Tuesday's bout of winter weather will bring more widespread snow, including to the Twin Cities metro, but snowfall rates aren't expected to be as high as with Monday's band of snow, NWS says. 

The highest snowfall amounts are expected across east-central Minnesota, with a broad area of 4-6 inches expected elsewhere, including much of the Twin Cities metro. 

Winds will be about 15-25 mph on Tuesday, with temperatures falling below zero Tuesday night. Windchills could be as low as 25 below zero, NWS states. 

Snowfall totals

The NWS' forecast has the Twin Cities picking up 6-8 inches of snow with this storm, while central Minnesota will see more than a foot to 18 inches by the time the storm moves out late Tuesday. Northeastern Minnesota is slated to pick up 10-16 inches of snow, according to NWS. 

However, weather models using the Kuchera snow-liquid ratio of snowfall suggest the snowfall totals have the potential to be significantly higher, with one model suggesting up to a foot of snow in the Twin Cities, and more than 20 inches in parts of northern Minnesota.

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