Minneapolis weather: WINTER STORM WARNING - KMSP-TV

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Winter storm warning this weekend in Twin Cities

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities has issued a winter storm warning for heavy snow and blowing snow, which is in effect from 6 p.m. Saturday to midnight Sunday.

The major winter storm is expected to dump nine to 15 inches on a broad belt across central Minnesota including the Twin Cities area Sunday. The storm is also expected to bring heavy snow to parts of western Wisconsin.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reports difficult driving conditions across much of the state. Minneapolis, St. Paul, several suburban communities and St. Cloud have already declared snow emergencies. Several flights out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport were canceled.

A blizzard warning is out for much of eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, while a winter storm warning is out for much of central and eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The NWS is already reporting 15.5 inches at Sacred Heart in southwestern Minnesota, and more than 8 inches in Aberdeen, S.D.

Snow, heavy at times, moved in to the metro area on Saturday night and will continue until Sunday evening. NWS says the system has the potential to drop 8 to 10 inches of snow in some areas.

Strong northwest winds of 20 to 30 mph on Sunday may cause near blizzard conditions across west central Minnesota along with considerable drifting snow. Wind chills will plummet Sunday night reaching 15 below to 20 below zero for much of central and western Minnesota.

Some open areas could experience blizzard-like conditions, as wind gusts could reach 35 to 40 miles per hour -- especially in the area southwest of I-94.

A winter storm warning went into effect at 6 p.m. Saturday, although snow did not begin to fall until late that evening. It's expected to continue through Sunday afternoon.

Those in the northern metro area and could end up with 5 to 8 inches of snow, with less anticipated in the southern metro. The highest snow totals are expected just north of a line from Alexandria to Buffalo to Anoka.

Stay connected to myfox9.com and tune in to FOX 9 News @ 9 p.m. for the latest on the weather and more.

THIN ICE ADVISORY

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek is reminding parents and caregivers to keep children away from thin ice on partially-frozen ponds, lakes, and all bodies of water. Most victims of fatal accidents on the ice in Hennepin County have been children.

"When your child is near the ice or the water, you should be near your child," Stanek said. "I urge you to provide clear rules about ice safety throughout the winter months."

No ice should ever be considered safe.

Small bodies of water such as ponds are especially a hazard now since they are the most likely to have a thin layer of ice. A dusting of snow or frost may give thin ice the appearance that it is safe when it is not.

The recommended minimum thickness for ice is four inches for walking and small group activities. Weather conditions have not allowed for adequate freezing to meet this minimum requirement.

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