MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just after Minnesotans enjoyed the warmest temperatures they've felt all year, a snowstorm is expected to dump close to a foot of snow Thursday in some counties, with strong winds making travel hazardous for the afternoon commute and evening hours.
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The National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings for counties in south-central and southeastern Minnesota. Whiteout conditions are possible as the storm system is expected to move north during the day, with heavy, wet snow falling and wind gusts blowing up to 30 mph. Hazardous travel conditions could persist until Friday morning.
Some schools in southeastern Minnesota, such as Winona Public Schools, have already canceled classes for Thursday.
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The strongest winds are expected east of Interstate-35 in southern Minnesota, according to WCCO-TV meteorologist Lauren Casey. Thundersnow is also possible, she said.
WCCO-TV chief meteorologist Chris Shaffer says that because the snow will be wet, it won't blow as much as the lighter stuff seen earlier in the season. Still, conditions will be dangerous, with visibility less than a quarter of a mile in some places.
The Twin Cities metro area is under a winter storm warning. Heavy snow is expected to start falling around noon, continuing well into the night. The evening commute will be slow, as the snow accumulates on the roads and wind speeds pick up.
Model data shows that 6 to 9 inches of snow may fall in the metro area and central Minnesota while counties in the southeast and the arrowhead could see more than 10 inches.
Counties in west-central Wisconsin are also under a winter storm warning and are expected to see heavy snowfall, perhaps up to a foot of snow.
Temperatures are expected to hover around freezing Thursday before dropping into the teens during the weekend.
Western Minnesota looks to get the least amount of snow. Model data shows that extreme western counties will get just a dusting while those closer to central Minnesota will get 1 to 3 inches. Those just west of the metro could see anywhere from 3 to 6 inches.
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