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Winter storm warning for MN counties along the Red River; Friday flake chance for the metro

Much colder Friday and this weekend

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Travel may become impossible in much of North Dakota from late Thursday through Friday due to heavy snow and fierce winds. Northwestern Minnesota will see rain initially, which will change to a rain/snow mix and then all snow later Thursday. Travel may be difficult in parts of northwestern Minnesota Thursday night, Friday and Saturday.

How much snow?

This winter storm will affect the Upper Midwest right into the weekend.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's North American Mesoscale forecast model shows the potential precipitation pattern Thursday afternoon through Saturday:

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NOAA NAM simulated radar Thursday afternoon through Saturday
Tropicaltidbits.com

Here’s the National Weather Service breakdown of snow totals, starting with Thursday through the overnight hours of Thursday night:

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Thursday through Thursday night snow forecast
National Weather Service

The highest snow totals through Thursday night are in the eastern half of North Dakota, with lower  totals near the Red River. 

From Friday morning into Saturday morning, eastern North Dakota sees additional heavy snow and   portions of far northwestern Minnesota could see some 6 to 12+ inch snow totals:

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Friday through Saturday morning snow forecast
National Weather Service

Fierce winds will accompany the snow.

The NWS has issued winter storm warnings for North Dakota and for Minnesota counties along the Red River:

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Winter storm warnings and watches
National Weather Service

The Winter Storm warning for Kittson county down through Wilkin county in Minnesota starts at 7 p.m. this Thursday and runs to 1 p.m. Saturday. The blue-shaded counties from Roseau down to Fergus Falls are in a winter storm watch from 1 a.m Friday through 1 p.m. Saturday.

Updates and details on warnings and watches can be found on the NWS Grand Forks, ND site.

The Twin Cities metro area will see showers at times this Thursday and Thursday night, with a thunderstorm also possible. We’ll have a chance of rain/snow showers on Friday and a good chance of some snow showers at times on Saturday, with little or no accumulation.

Updated weather information can be heard on the MPR network, and you’ll also see updated weather info on the MPR News live weather blog.

Temperature trends

Thursday afternoon highs will range from the 30s in far northwestern Minnesota to the 60s in the Twin Cities metro area, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Get ready for some chilly temps on Friday, with highs mainly in the 30s and 40s, except in the northeast:

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Friday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Saturday highs will be mainly in the 30s:

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Saturday forecast highs
National Weather Service

Twin Cities metro area highs are projected to reach about 40 degrees on Sunday, followed by mid-40s Monday, upper 40s Tuesday and Wednesday and 50s next Thursday and Friday.

Fall colors

The latest fall color report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows fall colors past peak in parts of northern Minnesota, with areas of good fall color in many locations:

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Thursday fall colors
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Keep in mind that the fall color report includes all deciduous trees, not just maples. A Wisconsin fall color report is also available.

I imagine that the wind, rain and snow will take down a lot of leaves over the next few days.

Programming note

You can hear my live weather updates on Minnesota Public Radio at 7:49 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays and at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.