Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - The National Weather Service has finally kicked out its prediction about the impact an approaching major winter storm will have on the region.

A blizzard warning will take effect Thursday evening west of Rochester where heavy snow is expected to begin falling. Cities under the warning include Albert Lea and Owatonna. By the time the storm winds down Friday night, the blizzard warning zone could have snowfall totals of 12-15 inches. Strong winds are also expected, which means whiteout conditions will develop.

A winter storm warning will be in effect for the rest of southeast Minnesota, up to the Twin Cities and into western Wisconsin where snowfall totals could be in the 8 to 14 inch range.

Rain and freezing rain could also affect travel Thursday evening, along with some possible thunder.

By the way: the record temperatures that had been talked about for the Rochester area earlier this week never materialized. Rochester’s official high Tuesday was 56 degrees. The record for the date is 60. Wednesday’s official high was also 56, missing the record for the date by three degrees.

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