Winter storm watch: Big snow totals expected in Twin Cities this weekend

More than a foot of snow could fall in and around the metro.
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Snow, Shoreview

4:10 P.M. UPDATE

Here's the latest snowfall map from the National Weather Service, which still predicts 8+ inches for the metro area and an area of 12+ west of of the Twin Cities for locations including Willmar, Litchfield and Hutchinson. 

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7 A.M. 

Bad news if you're sick of snow. It's going to be a big one this weekend. 

A winter storm watch has been issued for Saturday through part of the day Sunday and as of Thursday morning the National Weather Service expects an area right around the Twin Cities metro area to be the bullseye of the heaviest snow. 

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The current forecast calls for 8-12 inches for a huge chunk of Minnesota, with even more than a foot of snow possible for some. The Twin Cities, St. Cloud, Mankato, Willmar, St. Cloud, Alexandria and Marshall are all under the gun. 

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The storm track could still change, but at this point the NWS is very confident in its forecast.

"Heavy snow will develop over the Plains and advance into southern and western Minnesota early Saturday morning, before reaching eastern Minnesota by late morning, and western Wisconsin by early afternoon. Snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are expected through early evening before easing Saturday night. Some rain or freezing rain could mix with the snow at times along I-90 Saturday. The snow is expected to end by mid morning Sunday. Total snow accumulations of 7 to 13 inches are possible across the entire region, with the highest amounts currently expected across central Minnesota, including western parts of the Twin Cities metro.

Strong northwest winds will develop Saturday night and Sunday morning with gusts of 40 to 45 mph possible. This will lead to areas of blowing and drifting snow, but widespread blizzard conditions are not currently expected."

Winds are expected to ease Sunday afternoon, so the watch is set to expire at 1 p.m. Sunday. 

This simulated future radar of the North American Model (NAM) shows the potential for an intense period of snow on Saturday, with lighter snow to follow Sunday morning. 

namconus_ref_frzn_ncus_fh51-84

And if you're hoping this is the last major storm of March, think again. 

"Quiet weather early next week will give way to another potential monster storm for midweek," the NWS Twin Cities says in Thursday morning's forecast discussion. 

It's way too early to bank on that storm happening, and it might be warm enough for more rain than snow but at this point it's all speculation. 

We'll be sure to update the Weather MN blog with the latest on this weekend's major snowstorm, in addition to what could happen next week. 

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