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Weather Alert: Winter Storm Warning in effect much of the next three days

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The Stevens County area is under a Winter Storm Warning until 9 p.m. Thursday, and the warning will continue Friday morning through Saturday morning.

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The National Weather Service reports that rain and sleet is changing to snow and will diminish by late evening Thursday. However, heavy snow will resume Friday. Ice, blowing and drifting snow are expected to make travel difficult.

Here's the National Weather Service's latest official weather alert report:

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN

1106 AM CST THU DEC 30 2010

ROUND ONE BRINGING HEAVY SNOW THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING TO

WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA WITH RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW ACROSS THE CENTRAL

ROUND TWO BRINGING MORE SNOW ESPECIALLY TO WEST CENTRAL AND

CENTRAL MINNESOTA AGAIN FRIDAY

.SNOW IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP RAPIDLY LATE THIS MORNING AND EARLY

AFTERNOON ACROSS MUCH OF WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA FROM CANBY THEN

NORTH TO ALEXANDRIA AND STAPLES. A WINTER STORM WARNING IS BEING

ISSUED FOR THIS AREA UNTIL 9 PM THIS EVENING. BY THIS EVENING SNOW

TOTALS COULD BE IN THE SIX INCH RANGE ALONG WITH INCREASING NORTH

WINDS CAUSING BLOWING AND DRIFTING.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR MOST OF THE

REMAINDER OF CENTRAL MINNESOTA UNTIL 9 PM THIS EVENING. RAIN WILL

CHANGE TO A PERIOD OF SLEET AND THEN SNOW ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF

CENTRAL AND WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA BY MID AFTERNOON. A BAND OF 2 TO

5 INCHES OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE IN AREAS SUCH AS LITTLE FALLS...SAUK

CENTER...WILLMAR AND MONTEVIDEO. THE MIXED PRECIPITATION WILL

CHANGE TO MAINLY SNOW BY LATE AFTERNOON IN MORA...CAMBRIDGE...

HUTCHINSON...AND OLIVIA. ONE TO PERHAPS 3 INCHES OF SNOW MAY

ACCUMULATE BY EVENING IN THESE AREAS.

THE PRECIPITATION WILL DIMINISH LATE EVENING AS A POCKET OF DRY

AIR BRIEFLY MOVES INTO THE AREA IN ADVANCE OF SECOND MORE POTENT

WINTER WEATHER SYSTEM WHICH WILL IMPACT THE REGION FROM FRIDAY

INTO SATURDAY MORNING.

THE SECOND ROUND OF WINTER WEATHER WILL ARRIVE BY EARLY FRIDAY

AFTERNOON AND PERSIST INTO EARLY SATURDAY. A WINTER STORM WATCH

REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA AND PORTIONS OF

CENTRAL MINNESOTA FOR THE POTENTIAL OF SIGNIFICANT SNOW

ACCUMULATIONS WITH THIS SECOND WEATHER SYSTEM. COLDER

TEMPERATURES WILL FILTER BACK INTO THE WATCH AREA BEFORE THE BULK

OF THE PRECIPITATION ARRIVES ON FRIDAY... ALTHOUGH SOME LINGERING

LIGHT FREEZING DRIZZLE COULD OCCUR FRIDAY MORNING BEFORE SNOW

ARRIVES. MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW WILL BE POSSIBLE FRIDAY AFTERNOON

INTO FRIDAY NIGHT OVER MUCH OF WESTERN MINNESOTA. THERE IS THE

POTENTIAL FOR A SWATH OF SNOW BETWEEN 6 AND 10 INCHES IN THE WATCH

AREA. IN ADDITION TO THE SNOW... BLUSTERY NORTHWEST WINDS COULD

CREATE AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. THE ACCUMULATING SNOW

IS EXPECTED TO MOVE OUT FAIRLY QUICKLY SATURDAY MORNING... BUT

WINDS WILL REMAIN GUSTY.

MNZ041-047-048-055-310115-

DOUGLAS-STEVENS-POPE-SWIFT-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ALEXANDRIA...MORRIS...GLENWOOD...BENSON

1106 AM CST THU DEC 30 2010

WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 PM CST THIS EVENING

WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY MORNING

THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9

PM CST THIS EVENING. THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IS NO LONGER IN

EFFECT. A WINTER STORM WATCH ALSO REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM FRIDAY

MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING.

* TIMING...RAIN AND SLEET WILL QUICKLY CHANGE TO HEAVY SNOW IN THE

LATE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS. SNOW WILL DIMINISH BY

LATE EVENING WITH HEAVY SNOW MAKING A RETURN ON FRIDAY.

* MAIN IMPACT...AROUND 6 INCHES OF SNOW AND UP TO A TENTH OF AN

INCH OF ICE ACCUMULATION ARE POSSIBLE TODAY THROUGH THIS

EVENING. 6 TO 10 INCHES OF SNOW IS POSSIBLE FROM FRIDAY THROUGH

EARLY SATURDAY... PARTICULARLY NORTHWEST OF A LINE FROM APPLETON

TO LONG PRAIRIE.

* OTHER IMPACTS...THE COMBINATION OF SNOW AND ICE COULD MAKE FOR

DIFFICULT TRAVEL AT TIMES TODAY. ALSO...INCREASING NORTH WINDS

THIS AFTERNOON MAY CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING. GUSTY NORTHWEST

WINDS MAY AGAIN CAUSE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW FRIDAY THROUGH

EARLY SATURDAY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF

SNOW...SLEET...AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE

ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR

IMPOSSIBLE.

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT

SNOW...SLEET...OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL.

CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

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