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A Minnesota Department of Transportation snow plow clears U.S. 12 Saturday morning in Murdock. Photo by Jannet Walsh

Blizzard warning extended to Willmar and Kandiyohi County, continues across the region

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The blizzard warning has been expanded to include Willmar and Kandiyohi County, and continues in much of west central and southern Minnesota.

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The blizzard warning area in Minnesota lies roughly to the southwest of a line from Morris to Willmar to Shakopee to Red Wing, according to the National Weather Service.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for area to the north and east of this line, including much of central and east central Minnesota.

In the Willmar area, snow and widespread blowing snow will continue through p.m., then widespread blowing snow and a chance of snow into the evening. Then areas of blowing snow after 9 p.m.

Moderate to heavy snow will continue over most of southern and central Minnesota, according to the weather service. Snowfall reports vary widely, but amount of up to 10 inches in eastern Minnesota have been reported.

Snow amounts between 8 to 18 inches are expected in the warning area, with the corridor of the highest amounts extending from near Hutchinson and Mankato, across the Twin Cities metro and into most of west central Wisconsin.

Slightly lesser amounts are expected over west and south central Minnesota, where totals between 3 and 8 inches will be more common. The lightest amounts of snow will fall in the Morris and Alexandria area.

Winds will strengthen significantly by this afternoon as the winter storm gathers strength and moves across northern Iowa. Sustained wind speeds of 25 to 35 mph, with gusts to 45 mph, will result in widespread blowing and drifting snow and significantly reduced visibilities into tonight.

Near whiteout conditions are likely across south central and southwest Minnesota tonight.

The snow will taper off by evening, but continued windy conditions and plummeting temperatures will result in dangerous wind chills of 20 below to 35 below. Those wind chills are expected to continue into Sunday.

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