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Storm is coming; weather warnings in place for 6-14 inches of snow

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If you put your ice scrapers and boots in storage, take 'em back out. Another winter storm is bearing down on us Thursday and Friday.

The National Weather Service has upgraded the weather watch to a winter storm warning for nearly all of central and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, from Thursday into Friday. The warnings also stretch north to include the Brainerd and Duluth area, as well as a big chunk of northwest Wisconsin.

The weather service warns that Friday morning's commute will be "horrible."

Here's what to expect: A light wintry mix Thursday morning (there's a chance for light freezing rain Wednesday night, too), that will change over to heavy, wet snow by Thursday afternoon in west-central Minnesota, and it'll spread eastward Thursday night into Friday morning, the National Weather Service says.

The possibility of freezing rain Wednesday night in southeastern Minnesota could make for a slippery commute Thursday morning, too, MPR News' Paul Huttner says.

Snow fall rates could reach 1 to 2 inches per hour Thursday night into Friday morning, with the possibility of thunder snow, Huttner says.

Here's a timeline for the storm:

Twin Cities: Thursday: A chance of rain and snow before 1 p.m., then rain between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., then rain mixed with sleet and snow after 2 p.m. Expect all snow after 11 p.m. Snow could total 3 to 5 inches overnight. Friday: Snow and more snow, which could be heavy at times. FOX 9 says the heaviest bands of snow will be from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. and it'll start to taper off by noon. Wind gusts could reach 30 mph. Three to 7 inches of snow is possible on Friday. Upside? Saturday will be sunny with a high of 40 – which should melt a lot of the snow, FOX 9 says.

Albert Lea: Thursday: Chance of rain and snow between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., then a chance of snow after 5 a.m., but will change over to rain and sleet until about 1 p.m., then all rain. Thursday night expect freezing rain and sleet before 2 a.m., then snow possibly mixed with rain overnight, totaling 1 to 2 inches. Friday: Snow for much of the day, accumulation could total 1 to 3 inches.

Duluth: The area saw about 3.5 inches of snow Monday and more snow is on the way – Duluth could see about 8 inches from this storm, the Duluth News Tribune says. Thursday: There's a 50 percent chance of snow after 1 p.m., with snow likely Thursday night. Friday: Snow is likely until about 1 a.m. Saturday should be sunny with a high near 38.

Moorhead: The northwest, which saw 18 inches of snow earlier this week, won't see much chance for snow for this storm. Thursday: There's a 40 percent chance overnight and into the day, which could total 1 to 2 inches. Friday: There's a 20 percent chance of snow before 1 p.m.

The good news? Snow melts a lot faster in the spring. Yes, it's because the sun is strong and temperatures are warmer, but also because of the snow itself. WDAY says snow pack in the height of winter is cold, well below 32 degrees, which takes longer to warm up and melt (that's why the early days of March see such little snow melt). But fresh spring snow is usually barely below freezing to start with, so it warms to 32 degrees faster and melts quicker, WDAY said.

And if you're really dreading this wallop of winter weather, Huttner says temperatures could reach the 60s, even 70s, by late next week.

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