Worst of winter storm to hit well north of Mankato

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The Minnesota State Patrol reported that between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday there were 270 crashes with 20 causing injury, 270 vehicle spinouts and eight jackknifed semis statewide. Snow of 3-5 inches was anticipated overnight Wednesday and another 3-5 inches is possible during the day Thursday.

Temperatures are forecast to plunge as the storm progresses in the heavy snow area on north and west. The weather service noted there could be a sharp cutoff for snowfall totals Thursday, but travel may be impossible in areas with heavy snow and wind.

The 10-inch report from a Weather Service spotter was about 12 miles northwest of Silver Bay along Lake County Highway 11, with that road almost impassable in a four-wheel-drive truck, the spotter reported. "Just a slight wobble in the track is going to make a big difference in central Nebraska". Areas where the advisory is in effect are expected to see precipitation change over to a wintry mix of rain, snow and possibly some freezing rain on Thursday.

Rain and snow broke out across the central and southern Plains on Wednesday and ramped up Wednesday night in the Upper Midwest.

A National Weather Service report warns to expect reduced visibility, particularly Thursday and Friday from snow and blowing snow.

For December, this is an unusually moisture-rich storm system. In areas where the ground is frozen, watch for low-level flooding and quick-rising streams.

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This is expected to be the worst travel day of the week.

However, staying off the roads during the storm is not only the safest option but will also allow snow removal crews to work as efficiently as possible.

Snow hits the mountains in the afternoon and evening.

In eastern Nebraska, it's likely to be miserable: rainy, windy, cold. The heavy snow and high-powered winds "could create very unsafe travel conditions", Edwards says, with some areas experiencing near-blizzard conditions and winds between 20 and 30 miles per hour. Highs will only be in the low 30s today in Denver, with low 20s tomorrow.

Details of this storm system are still emerging, so check the latest forecast before traveling.