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Ready or not: First snowfall on its way and could be a big one

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Brace yourselves – winter is arriving early, and with a vengeance! A big part of Minnesota and surrounding states will be socked with the first snowstorm of the season, and it's going to be a doozy.

The National Weather Service is now predicting even worse conditions for Monday and has upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Warning for a swath of southern Minnesota including the Twin Cities metro area (pink on the map above), for all of Monday. Other areas (in blue) are still under the watch.

Earlier this week it appeared the heaviest band of snow would set up in southern Minnesota along the I-90 corridor. But now the storm track has shifted north, creating a bigger impact for the Twin Cities.

Storm timing

Look for snow showers to develop in west-central Minnesota by sunset Sunday. Snow should hold off for the Twin Cities until midnight or shortly thereafter. By sunrise Monday snow will be heavy at times for the metro, with around one inch on the ground. Moderate to heavy snow appears to continue through the morning, afternoon and evening hours Monday before tapering off late Monday night.

Main impacts

Expect a "moderate" impact for the morning commute Monday. There will be snow on the ground and roads by early Monday morning, as much as an inch.

However, look for a "high" impact during the afternoon and evening commute Monday. Snow will be falling with several inches of accumulation expected by this time. Travel in and around the metro is going to become more and more difficult throughout the day as snow totals increase.

Winds are expected from the north/northeast at 10 to 20 mph, creating some blowing and drifting concerns in the Twin Cities. However, the greatest problem is going to be the rural areas outside of the metro.

 Snowfall totals

The exact storm track is yet to be determined, but based on the current information there is a high certainty of a 8-12 inch band setting up on or near the Twin Cities through northwest Wisconsin.

Again, expect around an inch by daybreak Monday, with an additional 5-8 inches through the day, then another 1-3 inches Monday night. However, these numbers may need to be adjusted slightly depending on a north or south shift of the storm path.

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