Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - This week's stormy forecast has prompted the National Weather Service to take the unusual step of canceling one of the main events of Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Forecasters are tracking a developing storm system that has the potential to dump well over a foot of snow on parts of Minnesota. Gusty winds are also forecast and a blizzard warning has already been posted for areas of western and southwestern Minnesota on Wednesday and the Thursday.

Much of the rest of the state is under a winter storm watch, although at this time, Rochester is not included because temperatures are predicted to remain warm enough to keep much of the precipitation falling as rain. Several inches of slushy snow and freezing rain is possible in the Rochester area but the worst conditions are expected in areas of western Minnesota with a band of heavy snow through the central third of the state. The current forecast indicates snowfall totals in far western Minnesota could end up close to 2-feet, while 8-12 inches of slushy snow is possible in the other areas included in the winter storm watch, including the Twin Cities.

National Weather Service

In light of the potentially dangerous weather conditions forecast for sections of Minnesota, the National Weather Service has announced the annual statewide mock tornado drill planned Thursday afternoon and evening as part of Severe Weather Awareness week has been canceled this year.

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