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First major winter storm moving across U.S.

Albert Lea area is not expected to be affected much

A fall snowstorm that snarled traffic and caused power outages in the Rocky Mountains is making its way across the northern United States toward Minnesota.

Winter storm watches and warnings stretched from eastern Washington state to Minnesota, along with freeze warnings as far south as Colorado and Nebraska on Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service, Albert Lea is expected to get mostly rain. Some forecasts call for mixed precipitation possible on Friday into Saturday. Larger amounts of snow are predicted for North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.

Though Albert Lea might have avoided the worst of the storm, residents can expect a drop in temperatures to the 30s on Thursday night with a a high of 41° on Friday.

In Spokane, wet, heavy snow snapped tree branches and took out power lines. Avista Utilities was restoring power to 32,000 customers Wednesday.

Driving conditions were deteriorating across Montana and northern Wyoming as ice and blowing snow covered roadways.

Up to 2 feet (0.61 meters) of snow is expected to fall in the mountains, and up to a foot in lower-elevation towns and cities.

The storm was expected to bring the first snow of the season to Denver by Thursday.

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