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Winter storm watch issued where snow could exceed 6 inches in Minnesota

Snow will spread from west to east starting Saturday morning in western Minnesota.
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It'll be a snowy Saturday across the southern half of Minnesota and the National Weather Service (NWS) expects most locations to get 3-6 inches of snow. 

A winter storm watch has been issued for a small area of west-central and south-central Minnesota, mainly along the Minnesota River Valley, where isolated higher amounts up to 7 inches pile up. 

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The official snowfall forecast from the Twin Cities office of the NWS calls for 4-6 inches in the Twin Cities, 4-7 inches in Mankato, 3-7 inches in Redwood Falls, 2-5 inches for St. Cloud and 3-5 inches in Rochester. 

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"It is going to snow, and most locations will see 3 to 6 inches. The main challenge of the forecast revolves around the Winter Storm Watch headline," says the weather service. 

As the weather service explained in its forecast discussion, the watch was issued because some short-term computer models are estimating up to a half-inch of liquid falling along the Minnesota River Valley, which at a snow-to-liquid ratio of at least 15 inches for every inch of liquid, would result in higher totals. 

If 0.5 inches of liquid falls and the snow:liquid ratio is 15:1, that would be 7.5 inches of snow. If the ratio is 17:1, half an inch of liquid would result in 8.5 inches of fluffy snow.

As for timing, snow is expected to spread from west to east starting Saturday morning in western Minnesota, reaching the metro by early afternoon. It'll all be out of here late Saturday night. 

Enough snow could pile up on the roadways to cause some difficult travel conditions, but winds are expected to be relatively light so blowing and drifting won't be a big issue, according to the weather service. 

Here's a look at the HRRR model, which is one of the high resolution short-term models that is printing out up to half an inch of liquid along the Minnesota River Valley, which the bullseye in the latest run showing up just south of Mankato. 

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Here's how much liquid the HRRR model is forecast. To calculate how much snow these liquid amounts, if verified, would result in your location, simply multiple the decimal by 15, 16, 17 or 18, which are the likely ratios, per the NWS. 

For example, if 0.55 inches verifies south of Mankato, that would result in nearly 10 inches of snow at an 18:1 ratio (0.55 multiplied by 18). 

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