Storm arrives; travel conditions will deteriorate

The much-anticipated high-impact winter storm is on our doorstep late this Wednesday afternoon.

Light snow has been falling on western Minnesota and tracking northeast. Radar shows snow poised to reach the Twin Cities Wednesday evening.

Weather radar at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Twin Cities National Weather Service

Warnings and advisories

A winter storm warning has been issued through noon on Friday for about the northwestern sixty percent of Minnesota. Heavy snow and wind will cause travel trouble for those areas at least into Friday morning.

A blizzard warning has been issued beginning at 6 a.m. on Thursday from parts of the central and eastern Dakotas into Traverse County in west central Minnesota. Visibilities in those areas are likely to drop to almost nothing.

And a winter weather advisory is out for lesser amounts of snow just south of the winter storm warning. The central and northern parts of the Twin Cities metro are included in the advisory.

Here’s how they look on a map:

Storm warnings and advisories. National Weather Service

Rain from the south

Warm, moist air from the south will change snow over to rain in east central and southern Minnesota and west central Wisconsin Wednesday night. Rain will continue on Thursday in amounts that might approach an inch in some spots.

Colder air from Canada

Colder air on the back of the storm will change the rain back to snow Thursday night into Friday morning. Watch out for ice formed during the falling temperatures.

For the Twin Cities area

The Twin Cities will get a burst of a few inches of wet snow Wednesday evening before the snow changes to rain during the night. Thursday should bring an all-day rain to melt whatever snow fell. Then it’s back to snow Thursday night and into Friday. Amounts on the ground when it all ends on Friday might be a couple inches.

Expected snowfall totals

Snowfalls of 8 to 12 inches should be common across western, central and northern Minnesota. Scattered areas from west central and northern Minnesota could pick up 12 to 18 inches in total.

Forecast snowfall amounts. Duluth National Weather Service

In the cold air to begin the weekend

Saturday will be a chilly day with highs just in the single digits and teens. Sunday will warm to close to normal.

New Year’s Day

Arctic reinforcements will arrive early next week. High temperatures might be just in the single digits above and below zero on New Year’s Day.

Forecast high temperatures for New Year’s Day next Tuesday. NOAA Weather Prediction Center

Pacific air later next week?

The atmosphere is hinting at a return of warmer-than-normal temperatures from the west later next week for January 3-9.

8-14 day forecast temperature probabilities. NOAA Climate Prediction Center