To paraphrase Stephen King, this storm will NOT be a "carnival of nightmare and death." Meteorological winter, kicking off the coldest 90 days of the year, starts Tuesday — but the maps look like March. This will be a wet, slushy, cement-like snowfall, not prone to blowing and drifting. With temperatures close to 32 degrees, the risk of a shoveling-induced heart attack will be higher than usual, but many freeways will be wet and slushy. Cold snows are more dangerous, more prone to traffic gridlock, since MnDOT chemicals don't work as well below 15 degrees or so.

That said, the first real snow of winter will test nerves and winter weather driving abilities. Models suggest the heaviest bands may set up west of the Twin Cities, closer to Willmar, St. Cloud and Alexandria. I still expect a plowable snowfall; about 4-8 inches for the metro — a better chance of 6-10 inches 50 to 90 miles west of MSP.

If you like snow, get out in it soon; much of it will be gone by late week as temperatures reach the low 40s. Long-range models predict a milder than average December. Looks like a trend.