Not really winter weather – lots of rain expected, maybe a little snow


Get ready for a December storm to move through the Upper Midwest over the next two days, bringing with it potentially record-breaking amounts of ... rain.

Not exactly what winter enthusiasts have been impatiently waiting for, although we may see a little bit of snow at the tail end of the storm.

Light rain and drizzle began Saturday night, and will increase in intensity on Sunday, the National Weather Service says. The main wave of precipitation will begin Sunday morning and will last through Monday.

Rainfall totals of up to one and a half inches are expected across much of the region through Monday. But some areas farther to the east could see

" target="_blank">more than two inches, especially from Iowa through Wisconsin and into upper Michigan, the weather service notes.

The potential for heavy rainfall has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch for far southeastern Minnesota until 3 p.m. Monday. The weather service warns that runoff from all the rain could cause minor flooding on streams and rivers.

So why are we seeing rain instead of snow? A lot of it has to do with our unseasonably mild temperatures, as well as high moisture content in the atmosphere which the

" target="_blank">NWS calls "rare" for this time of year.

Some snow possible on Monday

Meteorologist Paul Douglas writes on the Star Tribune weather blog that some weather models predict the rain will quickly change over to snow on Monday morning, and we could see at least a few hours of heavy snow before it tapers off into flurries by the afternoon.

But it's still a little unclear at this point, since it will depend on the temperatures.

After this storm moves through, a couple more systems are expected in the next week, bringing more wintry precipitation followed by cooler temperatures, according to the weather service.

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The brunt of our Tuesday-Wednesday storm is pointed at north central Minnesota, which means the Brainerd Lakes area could be looking at 15 inches of snow. As for the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota, the storm may be more of a washout -- as in rainwater washing away much of whatever snow falls. Click on the headline for a look at who's predicting what for the metro area.