A winter storm warning goes into effect early Saturday morning north of a line from St. James to Faribault and a winter storm watch remains in effect for the rest of southern Minnesota for Saturday into early Sunday.

The National Weather Service says snow rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are expected through early evening before easing Saturday night. Forecasters say some rain, sleet, or freezing rain will mix with the snow at times across southern Minnesota Saturday.

The snow is expected to end by early morning Sunday and meteorologists say snowfall totals of 7 to 12 inches are expected across most of the area, except 4 to 7 inches across southern Minnesota where a mix is possible.

Strong northwest winds will develop Saturday night and Sunday morning with gusts of 40 to 45 mph and the weather service says that will lead to areas of blowing and drifting snow, but widespread blizzard conditions are not expected.

The warning period begins at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday and ends at 10:00 a.m. Sunday.