A winter storm watch has been issued across most of southern Minnesota, and includes the entire Twin Cities metro area. The watch is in effect from Thursday morning through Friday afternoon.
According to the National Weather Service, it'll be a long-duration event beginning with mixed precipitation Thursday morning before changing to snow, which will pile up Thursday afternoon and through the overnight hours before tapering off Friday.
"A lull is expected behind the initial band of mixed precipitation until steady light to moderate snow develops Thursday afternoon and Thursday night. This snow will initially develop from central Minnesota into west central Wisconsin before spreading westward across the remainder of the area," the NWS says.
How much snow will fall? The NWS is predicting 4-9 inches within the winter storm watch, but 6-9 inches is currently expected from south-central Minnesota through east-central Minnesota into west-central Wisconsin, including the Twin Cities, Mankato and Fairmont.
Strong northwest winds will develop Thursday afternoon, resulting in blowing and drifting snow. The strongest winds will be in west-central and southern parts of the state, where blizzard conditions will be possible.
A winter weather advisory has been issued for locations just outside the areas where the highest snow totals are expected. The following counties are forecast to receive 3-6 inches of snow: Chippewa, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, Todd and Yellow Medicine.