UPDATE 3 P.M.
The National Weather Service has expanded the winter storm warning to the west north and it now includes the cities of Willmar, St. Cloud and Duluth, in addition to the Twin Cities, Mankato and Rochester, which were first included in the warning early Tuesday morning.
Heavy snow is expected to arrive in southern Minnesota around midnight and then push northeast, arriving in the metro area by around 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. Wednesday. The latest from the NWS:
"Total snowfall accumulations of 6 to 10 inches can be expected within the Warning area. Snow will be heavy at times, particularly during the Wednesday morning commute. Snowfall is expected to continue much of the day on Wednesday. Snowfall rates of 1-2"/hr at times during the storm are expected. Snowfall will diminish Wednesday afternoon and evening but will still impact the evening commute."
It's looking more and more likely that this will be the biggest snowfall of the winter so far for much of the Twin Cities. At MSP Airport, the largest single-storm snowfall was 5.9 inches, which happened Feb. 7 and Feb. 10.
Here's an updated simulated future radar showing what could happen from 10 p.m. Tuesday through 10 p.m. Wednesday. In this simulation, the snow is out of the metro area by mid- to late-afternoon.
6:45 A.M. Tuesday
The February snowfall record in the Twin Cities will likely be blown away by the time dinner is served on Wednesday as an incoming snowstorm is set to dump upwards of a half a foot of snow on the metro area and nearly the entire southern half of Minnesota.
The monthly record is 26.5 inches at MSP Airport, and we're only about four inches shy of it. It's going to snow at least that much, and probably plenty more with this next storm.
What was a winter storm watch just to the south and east of the Twin Cities is now a winter storm warning, and it's expanded to the north and west to include the entire metro area where 6-9 inches of snow is likely.
Here's the official warning language from the National Weather Service (NWS).
"A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for much of east central through southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin starting tonight and continuing through Wednesday evening. The Warning is along and south of a line from Rush City to Saint Cloud to Litchfield to Granite Falls and Canby. This includes all of west central Wisconsin, all of the Twin Cities metro and all of the Mankato area, along with Interstate 35 south of Rush City, Interstate 94 between Saint Cloud and Eau Claire, and the Interstate 90 corridor.
Total snowfall accumulations of 6 to 9 inches can be expected within the Warning area, some snow heavy at times, particularly during the Wednesday morning rush. Snowfall is expected to continue much of the day on Wednesday, potentially with rates around 1 inch per hour. Snowfall will diminish Wednesday afternoon and evening but still impacting the evening rush."
If you live outside of the warning area but are included in the winter storm watch (blue on the map above), you could still be on the receiving end of 4-7 inches. The winter storm watch could be upgraded to a winter storm warning or winter weather advisory, the NWS says.
Snow is expected to begin between midnight and 2 a.m. in southwest and south-central Minnesota and spread northeast, impacting the metro area by about 5 a.m. Wednesday.
This is a simulated future radar showing a possible path of the snowstorm.
Once this snowstorm moves out we'll get a quiet weather day Thursday and most of the day Friday before another high-impact winter storm moves through the region. It's too early to say exactly where the weekend storm will track, but it could be a doozy if the model trends continue the way they've been in recent days.