Models have been trending back to the north and because of that the National Weather Service has expanded the winter storm watch for Friday and it now includes the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
The storm track remains the most critical element in terms of tracking where the highest snow totals are going to fall. Ultimately, there is expected to be a narrow band of the highest accumulations, likely in excess of 6 inches – some of the models are projecting up to a foot of snow within the narrow band.
As for now, however, the NWS is projection the heaviest snow to fall across far southern Minnesota, with the narrow band of heaviest snow from Mankato to Faribault and Rochester and into central Wisconsin.
But keep in mind that just 12 hours ago the NWS had Mankato forecast to receive 4 inches of snow, so this remains a very fluid situation. Mankato, by the way, is now within a zone of 8-12 inches.
According to the NWS La Crosse, the storm could be capable of producing snowfall rates of 2+ inches per hour within the heaviest bands of snow. Those snowfall rates would most likely affect the afternoon and evening commutes on Friday.
Some of the models, like the NAM, have the heaviest snow – including 6+ inches – hammering the southern suburbs, but like most models, the NAM also puts the bullseye between the southern Twin Cities and the Rochester area.
The American model shows two heavy bands of snow, including one right though the metro.
The European model isn't as robust as the American and NAM models, but it does project similarly to the NWS snowfall graphic. It also has the metro along a very tight snowfall gradient along the northern edge of precipitation, which would result in big differences over a short distance.
One of the biggest things that will affect how high the snow totals get is the speed of the storm system. The faster it moves through the less snow can fall, so a slower system would lead to higher totals, which is what some of the models may be suggesting while others, like the American and European models, may not be seeing.
So again, as the storm track changes we will continue to update the Weather MN blog and bring you the latest from Sven Sundgaard and Novak Weather.