Snow depth in the Twin Cities has settled to a trace, but any bare ground is likely to be covered with accumulating snow this weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

“Confidence is growing for having plowable snow late Friday into Saturday,” the Weather Service said Wednesday. By late afternoon, it had issued a winter storm watch for areas south and west of Interstate 94 for Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.

Over that period, snowfall amounts of 5 to 9 inches are expected across western and southern Minnesota, the Weather Service said, with a “very sharp snowfall gradient” near I-94, with little or no snow possible to the northwest of I-94 and into west-central Wisconsin.

Minneapolis and its western suburbs fall into the watch areas, while St. Paul is just outside of it — at least for now. The storm watch extends southeast to the Red Wing area but currently does not include Rochester or Winona.

“Any shift would lead to significant forecast changes near this gradient, which includes the Twin Cities metro,” it said.

Snowfall in the 2- to 4-inch range is most likely for the metro area, the Weather Service said.

AccuWeather, meanwhile, is predicting 6 inches or more across much of North Dakota and “moderate to heavy wintry precipitation” across central Minnesota, including Minneapolis and Rochester.