Winter Storm Watch Issued

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Please stay weather aware and and be on the lookout for more updates. A storm can shift directions at any time, which could be the case in the upcoming storm.

Winter storm watches have been posted by the National Weather Service in parts of six states, from central Montana and Utah's Wasatch to southwest Minnesota.

"A swath of 1 to 2 feet of snow is forecast for the Central/Northern Plains and into Western Minnesota through Thursday evening, with locally higher amounts", the NWS said. The blizzard and the flooding from ice jams and rain-snow melt have resulted in two-thirds of the state's counties being declared federal disaster areas.

The winter storm watch includes Nicollet, Le Sueur, Blue Earth, Waseca, Rice and Steele counties, in addition to others across the region. And thundersnow struck parts of South Dakota, including the capital city of Pierre, according to the report.

How does this snowstorm compare to past years?

The National Weather Service forecasts call for worsening weather through Wednesday followed by more severe conditions at night and overnight into Thursday. During this time, we are likely to see between 1/2 and 1 inch of snow.

Snow is not the only factor to think about when traveling during the upcoming storm. Forecasters in New Mexico said the winds also would make travel hard on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25.

Expect snow to start in the mountains on Wednesday morning, with dry conditions in the Denver area about noon. "Travel could become almost impossible in this area by Thursday". "Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility".

Then, snow is expected to continue overnight and a slow Thursday morning commute is possible, Barlow said. Moderate to heavy snow will change over to a mix of sleet, freezing rain, and rain over the southeast half late Thursday. The chance of precipitation is 50 percent. "Winds gusting as high as 50 miles per hour".

Heavy snow caused so many accidents traffic was at a standstill on I-35 from Medford to Faribault Wednesday. A high near 35 degrees is expected and it will be windy-with wind gusts as high as 35-45 miles per hour.

The NWS predicts mostly sunny skies for the weekend with temperatures in the lower to mid-40s.

Greg Carbin, forecast branch chief for the National Weather Service's Weather Storm Prediction Center, said that while rare, repeat patterns for severe weather are known to occur. As recent warmer temperatures and rainfall combined with the runoff from the melting snowpack have kept the river levels hovering around flood stage.