Not only is the Twin Cities area assured of its snowiest February on record by Wednesday night, but the metro also is in store this week for its deepest single accumulation of the season.

That’s the latest word from the National Weather Service (NWS), which is alerting millions of people in parts of Minnesota and western Wisconsin of a winter storm hauling 5 to 9 inches of snow their way Wednesday morning. Just a day earlier, the NWS had totals pegged at something closer to 6 inches.

As of 5 a.m., plows were out on metro area freeways, with perhaps an inch of snow having fallen in the west metro.

By 6 a.m. Metro Transit reported that nine percent of its buses were running an average of two minutes late. There were no light rail delays.

Minneapolis and St. Paul schools called off classes for Wednesday, setting off a wave of other school closures. St. Cloud State announced that it is closed until noon Wednesday.

So far this month, the Twin Cities area has had 22.6 inches of snow, so even if the amount comes a couple of inches short, that would still be enough to top the record for snowiest February. That was in 1962, with 26.5 inches.

Toss in additional snow in the forecast around the corner Friday and into the weekend, and the year’s shortest month looks likely to tally more inches of snow than it has days.

The winter storm warning covers much of east-central Minnesota, through southern Minnesota and into western Wisconsin. The first flakes are expected to fall in Wednesday’s opening moments and not let up until evening.

The heaviest accumulation is likely Wednesday from 5 to 10 a.m., when “we might see snowfall rates of about an inch per hour,” said NWS meteorologist Brent Hewett.

Wednesday’s whiteout could very well become this winter season’s snowiest day yet for the metro, Hewett added. So far, that 2018-19 mark belongs to Feb. 10, when 5.9 inches was measured at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.