A "Winter Weather Advisory" has been issued by the National Weather Service for areas to the east of I-35. This advisory includes Rochester, Dodge Center, Austin, Wabasha, Preston, Winona, and most of NE Iowa. A "Winter Storm Watch" remains in effect for areas in dark blue. This includes areas along and to the west of I-35.
Temperatures will be in the middle 30s early Thursday morning. There will be a chance of a light wintry mix from around 6-9 a.m. Temperatures will drop quickly through the morning and precipitation should change to snow by 9-10 a.m. Moderate to heavy snowfall is likely Thursday afternoon and evening which could lead to a messy evening commute.
Dry air could come into play late Thursday into Friday morning. Current trends show a more westerly storm track which would allow dry air to cut off snowfall early Friday morning along highway-52. This would severely limit snowfall totals.
We'll see a wide-range of snowfall accumulations across the area with this system. Snowfall totals are expected to range from 4-9" widespread through Friday night. Right now, the bullseye for heavy snowfall appears to be along and just to the west of I-35. Owatonna, Albert Lea, Dodge Center, and Mankato will have the best chance to reach the higher end totals on the 5-9" range.
I have lowered totals for Rochester to 5-8" with the thinking we'll be right around 6" of snow by Friday night. The main concern is the threat of dry air limiting totals Friday morning and afternoon.
Ted will have an update in the morning.