We need a better way to set expectations for winter storms. Predicting the number of inches doesn't capture potential impacts from timing and temperature. A lousy inch of snow at 15F can be far worse on highways than 6 inches at 32F.

The reason cold storms are more challenging? Salt loses its effectiveness melting snow and ice when the mercury dips below 20F or so. At 32F most freeways will be wet and slushy. At 15F even major highways and interstates will be snow-covered and icy.

This time around a dome of Arctic air will be in place for Saturday's snowfall. I'm getting my errands done Saturday morning because snow arrives in the afternoon and continues into the night — a light, powdery, fluffy snow. Models suggest 3-6 inches, with the best chance of 5 or 6 inches south of the metro.

More snow is possible Wednesday, but weather models bring a puff of Pacific air into Minnesota from late January into early February. A thaw is likely. Temperatures may be rising, but February often brings subzero zingers.