Image courtesy National Weather Service

Spring is due to arrive in five days, and and one more storm is expected before winter officially ends. The National Weather Service has placed most of southern Minnesota under a Winter Storm Watch, effective Thursday from 1 p.m. through 7 a.m. Friday morning.

Rain is predicted to begin falling in the area at around 9 a.m. Thursday, but precipitation will switch to heavy snow in the afternoon.  NWS says snow rates could be up to one inch per hour.  Most of southern Minnesota can expect 4 to 6 inches of total snowfall, with higher amounts forecasted in areas like Cottonwood County, and lower amounts to the southeast, in areas surrounding Albert Lea.

The heavy snow rates will combine with falling temperatures and wind gusts up to 45 mph, potentially creating icy roads and blizzard conditions. Strong winds will create blustery conditions through Saturday, with temperatures falling to near zero overnight.

The sun will make its return on Sunday with highs in the mid-20’s and calm winds.