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More than a foot of snow predicted ahead of major Midwest blizzard

MINNEAPOLIS – Blizzard Warnings have been issued for portions of the Plains and Upper Midwest as a powerful spring snowstorm quickly develops and strengthens on Sunday, blasting the region with high wind gusts and heavy snow that are expected to have major impacts on travel across the region over the next few days.
The FOX Forecast Center said a powerful area of low pressure is rapidly strengthening and pulling in moisture from the Pacific Ocean as cold air crashes in from Canada, allowing for snow to break out from the Rockies to the Plains and into the Midwest and Great Lakes region.
Winter weather alerts blanket the region from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, including a swath of Blizzard Warnings that will go into effect later Sunday and into Monday for the central and northern Plains from Kansas to South Dakota, as well as the Arrowhead of Minnesota just to the north of Duluth.
“Travel could be very difficult,” the National Weather Service office in North Platte, Nebraska, said. “Widespread blowing and drifting snow with near zero visibility at times. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches and power lines.”
Winter Storm Warnings cover a larger area of real estate across the northern tier from Montana to Wisconsin, including cities like Bismarck and Fargo in North Dakota and Minneapolis in Minnesota.
3 Blizzard Warnings have been issued for portions of the Plains and Upper Midwest. Gabi Broekema/USA TODAY NETWORK- Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK
Winter Weather Advisories are also in effect across many areas, including the Rockies, southern Minnesota and from central Iowa and into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The FOX Forecast Center said the main event will start to kick off Sunday and into Sunday night as heavy snow increases across the region.
Major impacts to travel are expected, especially across southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Impacts appear likely on highways such as Interstate 80 through Nebraska, Interstate 90 in South Dakota and even portions of Interstate 35 from Iowa to Minneapolis as snowfall rates could approach 1-2 inches per hour with the chance of thundersnow.
3 The FOX Forecast Center said the main event will start to kick off Sunday and into Sunday night as heavy snow increases across the region. AP
There have been some changes to the forecast, however, especially when it comes to the important rain/snow line.
The FOX Forecast Center said that as the low-pressure system strengthens near the Rockies, there will be a strong push of moisture and warm air from the south, and that surge of warmth could push the rain/snow line much farther north than previously expected.
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The latest computer forecast models show that periods of heavy rain could move into southern Minnesota and Wisconsin late Sunday night and into Monday morning.
That rain could very well spoil some of the impressive snow totals for major cities like Minneapolis.
Across portions of the Upper Midwest from the Dakotas to Minnesota, many communities could end up receiving 12-18 inches of snow from this powerful storm.
3 Across portions of the Upper Midwest from the Dakotas to Minnesota, many communities could end up receiving 12-18 inches of snow from this powerful storm. FOX Weather
As of Sunday, Minneapolis could pick up 5-8 inches of snow, with communities to the north, like St. Cloud, possibly receiving 8-12 inches.
Higher totals of more than a foot are expected in communities like Bemidji and Duluth in Minnesota.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the powerful winds expected from the storm.
The FOX Forecast Center said winds will be gusting between 30 and 40 mph, with some higher wind gusts of up to 50 mph possible across the region.
This is concerning as blizzard conditions could set up along the shores of Lake Superior in the Arrowhead of Minnesota and in the Plains due to the blowing snow and whiteout conditions.
“Travel should be restricted to emergencies only,” the NWS said. “If you must travel, have a winter survival kit with you. If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.”

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