MARSHALL - The big storm projected to hit the area was downgraded by the National Weather Service out of Sioux Falls, S.D., on Monday evening
The NWS had issued a winter storm warning early Monday, but the forecast changed as more of a wintry mix was shaping up for the region.
While sunshine ruled the day Monday, things will still be quite different during the next couple of days.
That wintry mix is expected to turn to all snow tonight and into Wednesday, but projected snowfall totals aren't expected to be nearly as high as once thought. Still, this could be winter's biggest blow to date.
"We're getting into March and the atmosphere is warmer, so it will be that heavier, wetter snow," said Jenny Laflin, a meteorologist with the NWS. "While it's falling the winds could create some visibility issues, but once it's on the ground it has a hard time blowing around. Other than while it's falling, there probably won't be a huge impact on visibility."
The warning initially called for snow to become widespread this morning and continue into Wednesday.
Laflin said Marshall was originally in line for up to 12 inches of snow, but later Monday that total was reduced to 3 to 5 inches. The NWS said earlier Monday that 8 to 16 inches of snow was expected north of a line from Madison, S.D., to Tracy, with amounts near 6 inches closer to Interstate 90. Despite the downgrade, winds of 25 to 40 mph are still expected to accompany any snowfall.
Some forecasts have the heaviest snow falling much north of the region. A bigger issue facing this corner of the state is ice. Ice accumulations are projected to range from one-tenth of an inch to 1 inch today.
The current wet weather pattern is the result of the southern jet stream lifting to the north. The jet stream so far has been keeping major weather events south of the region virtually all winter long. Now, Laflin said, that jet stream has moved the storm track over Nebraska and Iowa, and it looks as though it will finally spread into southwest Minnesota.
"The storm systems have all been focused to the south," Laflin said. "But it's moved over Nebraska and Iowa and that's how we get impacted here. That's actually why March is the snowiest month in this area."
Laflin doesn't expect temperatures to fall off after the storm moves through like it typically would in December and January.
"It will get a bit cooler, but it really doesn't look like you'll have that arctic push like you see in earlier months," she said.
There's another chance of snow in the area Friday.