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Storm track shifts slightly; Twin Cities snow forecast nudges down

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A winter storm warning continues through Tuesday morning for central and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, Mankato, and Eau Claire.

The National Weather Service said Monday evening that part of the region could still see 8 to 12 inches of fresh snow by the end of Tuesday. But forecasters say snow totals will drop off sharply at the northwestern edge of the storm, with less than an inch falling north and west of St. Cloud.

KARE 11's Laura Betker is forecasting 3 to 8 inches for the Twin Cities, while KSTP's Dave Dahl puts it at 3 to 5 inches. Forecasters agree the southern and eastern suburbs will see the high end of the range, with smaller totals in the northwestern part of the metro area.

The Weather Service says snow will diminish after midnight, although blowing and drifting will continue to limit visibility on the roads. Then a second round of snow is expected to reach the area early Tuesday morning.

The storm warning, which extends into western Wisconsin, continues through noon Tuesday.

Safety officials: postpone travel if possible

At a news conference Monday afternoon, State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said authorities expect "less than ideal" driving conditions across southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities.

“Err on the cautious side and avoid that trip if it’s not necessary," Nielson said. She also urged people to slow down, saying "sometimes 30 miles per hour is really the fastest you can drive in less than ideal conditions.”

The snow did not reach the Twin Cities early enough to affect the Monday evening commute. But as it moved across the Interstate 90 corridor in the afternoon, it made roads treacherous and led to a number of accidents.

MnDOT's 511 website has a full map that gives real-time road and driving conditions around the state. Click here to go there.

Scott McBride, a MnDOT metro district engineer, said at the news conference crews "are ready for this," though made the point that with 30,000 lane miles to cover across the state, roads won't be completely clear.

"With a snow storm like this, with it dumping an inch or 2 inches per hour on the roadway ... Even though we are out there in full force, people will see snow and ice covered roads," he said, adding people should check the road conditions before heading out.

Biggest storm of a mild early winter

In a December that's been not very winter-like, this storm may match or surpass the snowfall totals recorded so far this season in some communities.

The Pioneer Press notes the Twin Cities' heaviest two-day snowfall last winter dropped a measly 4.2 inches in late December. The last time the metro area saw a six-inch snow was back in early April of 2014, the newspaper says.

Some communities declared snow emergencies on Monday in advance of the storm. Red Wing, Bloomington, and Mendota Heights are among those that did, while Minneapolis did not.

KSTP provides a page where you can look up your city to see if a snow emergency parking regulations are in effect.

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