By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It looks like Minnesota will have a white Christmas after all.

A strong low pressure system will be crossing Minnesota Wednesday, bringing snow and some incredibly strong winds, according to WCCO meteorologist Chris Shaffer.

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Wednesday will start mild, with temperatures in the high 30s. But huge changes will come when the cold front passes and the winds pick up from the northwest. Winds could reach speeds of 50 miles an hour at times in much of western, central and southern Minnesota, which led the National Weather Service to issue blizzard warnings for several counties.

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Northern Minnesota and the Twin Cities will be in a winter storm warning, and a winter weather advisory will be in effect in southeastern Minnesota, which will see far less snow.

The system will push into western Minnesota before 6 a.m., bringing heavy rain to many areas, including the Twin Cities, through the late morning. It then transitions to snow in the afternoon, which is when the heaviest accumulation will occur across the state.

The storm won’t exit the state until early Thursday morning, leaving a widespread 3 to 6 inches of snow across Minnesota. Some models, taking into account the heavy rain falling Wednesday morning, push more into the 10-to-11-inch range of accumulation.

The winds will reduce visibility within a quarter of a mile at times, and cause treacherous blowing and drifting snow. Bottom line: stay home if you can.

The high winds will taper off on Thursday, but that’s when the cold air will settle in, leaving us with a high temperature of 8 degrees, and our first trip below zero for the low, which will be minus-3 degrees.

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Christmas Eve will be quite frigid, but temps will rebound into the high teens for our white Christmas.