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Winter storm warning issued: A foot of snow possible for parts of Minnesota

It's going to be mostly rain for the Twin Cities.

UPDATE 3:30 P.M. TUESDAY

A winter storm warning has been issued along and west of a line from Granite Falls to St. Cloud and Mora, in effect from Wednesday evening through Friday morning. This does not include the Twin Cities, where more rain is expected than snow. 

Details about the winter storm warning, from the National Weather Service: 

"Snow will begin advancing into southwestern Minnesota late Wednesday morning, with intensity increasing by evening. Snow, possibly heavy at times, will continue through late Thursday night before intensity tapers off. Occasional light freezing drizzle is possible but not expected to make a major impact vs. the snow. Total snow accumulations of 8 to 13 inches are likely in the warned area, with lesser amounts in the watch area."

Locations along and east of the Granite Falls-St. Cloud-Mora line can expect an initial burst of snow Wednesday evening before warm air changes the snow to rain until changing back to snow on Thursday night. 

Obviously, snow totals where it rains will be far less than where precipitation remains snow, and even though 3-5 inches could fall in the Twin Cities, only 1-2 inches will be left as the rain will likely wash most of it away. 

But as Kenny Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist with the DNR Climate Office, notes, all rain could be worse in the long run because of freezing problems. Listen to more here

Whiteout conditions will be possible in western and central Minnesota due to wind gusts up to 35 mph, causing significant blowing and drifting. 

Original story - 8 a.m. Tuesday

A major winter storm will impact Minnesota beginning Wednesday and lasting through Friday, and some hefty snowfall totals of a foot or more will be possible for many Minnesotans. 

A winter storm watch has been issued for all but the southeastern one-third of Minnesota, and it does NOT include the Twin Cities. Areas within the watch can expect 8-13 inches of snow. 

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Basically, anyone south and east of a line from Redwood Falls to Cambridge is at risk of seeing mostly rain. According to the National Weather Service, the Twin Cities, Mankato and Rochester could see a quick 2-3 inches of snow Wednesday evening followed by all rain Wednesday night through Thursday, which will essentially wash away the snow that falls. 

The rain will then change back over to snow on Friday, but by then the accumulations will be minimal. 

But areas northwest of that Redwood Falls to Cambridge line are going to get buried with up to a foot of snow, possibly more in far western Minnesota. 

Here's a look at one of the simulated future radar models, which shows mostly rain over the metro and steady, heavy snow for most of Minnesota. 

gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_ncus_fh30-96

In addition to the heavy snow, winds forecast to gust up to 35 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow and significantly reduce visibility on the roads. Blizzard conditions and whiteouts should be expected from time-to-time. 

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