(Mankato, MN) – It’s gonna hit us!

That’s what forecasters are saying, despite their reluctance to pin a number to the amount of snowfall just yet.  This one is unavoidable.  SMN has heard rumblings of 12 to 15 inches of possible accumulations, but nothing has yet been confirmed by the National Weather Service or local forecasters.

NWS says they have “high confidence” that a major winter storm will bring heavy snow and widespread blowing snow to much of southern Minnesota starting Saturday morning.  The agency says that a “heavy risk for snow” is particularly high in the northwest section of Nicollet and Brown counties and most of Redwood County.

Don’t get too excited if you live immediately outside those areas.  Most of Blue Earth, Watonwan, Brown, and Nicollet counties have also have a high risk of heavy snow, and a shift in the track of the storm is entirely possible.  Rain could be a concern, too, with parts of southern Minnesota on a line that could receive heavy rain preceding the snow.

The region can expect more than snow, rain, or a snow/rain mix this weekend, too.  Gusty winds are expected to create widespread blowing snow, howling in from the northwest up to 40 miles per hour by Sunday.

Judging by preliminary forecasts, the region will be under winter storm duress for a better part of the weekend before the sun emerges on Monday with blue skies, mild winds, and a high near 24 degrees.

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