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Caution advised as winter storm moves into west central Minnesota

The National Weather Service advised Minnesota drivers to be cautious while driving Sunday afternoon as a significant snowfall was expected. This still photo from a Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow camera shows snow accumulating around 2 p.m. in Willmar.1 / 2
This March 12 map from the National Weather Service snows much of west central Minnesota-- the pink region-- under a Winter Storm Warning Sunday. The purple region is under a Winter Weather Advisory.2 / 2

After an unseasonably warm past few weeks, weather in west central Minnesota is back to normal.

That means snow.

Much of the region-- including Lac Qui Parle, Swift, Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Yellow Medicine, Renville and Redwood counties—is blanketed with snow Sunday afternoon, under a winter storm warning through 7 a.m. Monday.

The National Weather Service said 6 to 10 inches of snow are expected for west central and southern Minnesota, and 3 to 6 inches along an advisory line that includes the Twin Cities all the way over to Morris.

In Willmar, the snow had started by noon, growing to a steady snowfall by mid-afternoon. But relatively calm winds-- reported as 13 mph around 2 p.m. at the Willmar Municipal Airport-- made conditions tame compared to earlier storms this year.

However, the Weather Service said the sheer accumulation will make driving difficult.

"Significant reductions in visibility are possible, along with patchy blowing snow," the Weather Service said. It cautioned drivers to keep a flashlight, food and water in their vehicles in case of emergency.

Roads in the western part of the region, from Montevideo to Marshall, were completely covered with snow around 2 p.m. Sunday, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. At the same time, Willmar roads were slippery and partially covered with snow.

The heaviest snow is expected Sunday afternoon and evening, the National Weather Service said, slowly tapering off into Monday morning.

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