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Here comes the snow, wind: Afternoon commute will be a 'mess'

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A "significant" winter storm is moving into the state, which could dump nearly a foot of snow in southern Minnesota by Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service has issued several winter weather alerts, including a blizzard warning for south-central and southwestern Minnesota and winter storm warning for the Twin Cities and the southeastern corner of the state.

Here's a map of the alerts:

This Groundhog Day storm has prompted many schools in southern Minnesota to close Tuesday. Check the latest school closings on ABC 6's website here or KSTP's here.

When the storm will move in

The storm moved in Tuesday morning, bringing snow to far southern Minnesota before 9 a.m. Snow is expected to spread into the Twin Cities before noon.

https://twitter.com/mndotsoutheast/status/694549743226245120

The heaviest snow is expected between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the metro area, and at that point blizzard-like conditions are possible along Interstate 90 in the southern portion of the state, where wind gusts could reach 45 mph, the National Weather Service says.

https://twitter.com/NWSTwinCities/status/694490716723085313

Snow is expected to taper off starting at midnight, and end by 6 a.m. Wednesday, the weather service adds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdZOufNLrXI&feature=youtu.be

Messy afternoon commute

With the majority of the snowfall (read how much we'll get below) expected Tuesday afternoon, it could make for a difficult evening commute.

https://twitter.com/NWSTwinCities/status/694399450400362496

Meteorologist Paul Douglas described it as a "snowy, wind-whipped, white-knuckle slog" commute on the Star Tribune's weather blog.

The weather service says snow and strong winds will create blizzard conditions across extreme southern and southwestern Minnesota. The agency says travel will be "extremely difficult" in the southern half of the state, including during the evening commute in the Twin Cities.

https://twitter.com/kggutknecht/status/694482106278383616

Check the latest road conditions on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website here.

https://twitter.com/MnDPS_MSP/status/694321911535370240

How much will we get?

Ahead of the storm, forecast models continued to "waffle back and forth," the National Weather Service said, which changed the projected snowfall totals heading into Tuesday morning.

But the weather service says the storm is still on track, expected to bring the heaviest snow – 8-12 inches – to far southern Minnesota, while the Twin Cities could pick up 6-8 inches of snow by Tuesday night.

There will be a "tight snow gradient" across central Minnesota, with little to no snow expected to the north.

https://twitter.com/NWSTwinCities/status/694479999370465281

Here's a look at the chance for snowfall accumulation as of 5:30 a.m. Tuesday:

High pressure in northern Minnesota is expected to keep heavy snow away from the northwest two thirds of the state, the weather service adds.

Early spring?

There's good news for those who aren't to keen on the snow – Punxsutawney Phil says there will be an early spring this year.

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