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A monster storm is expected to affect millions of people across 22 states

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

More than 40 million people are in the cross-country path of a monster snowstorm.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Snow is expected in many places, including New Brighton, Minn., where Mark Beisswenger owns a hardware store and says customers are bringing in snow blowers for repairs.

MARK BEISSWENGER: They didn't do it two weeks ago when it was 45 degrees out. They got to wait till it's snowing, and then they'll - you know, that's the problem with Minnesotans. They wait until the last minute.

FADEL: Forecasters are calling this storm the biggest in a generation, which for Minnesota is saying something. Chris Reece is a meteorologist with KSTP.

CHRIS REECE: This is Minnesota. We know how to do snow, and we do it very well. So when you tell someone, hey, we haven't had this kind of storm since the '80s, well, suddenly that starts to up the ante a little bit.

INSKEEP: Mr. Reece is urging Minnesotans to stay home, and if you ignore that advice or you just can't follow that advice, move carefully.

REECE: You got to go at your own pace. You know, there are always people who are going to zip past you, going way too fast, and you think, oh, maybe I need to speed up too. No, you don't. Go at your own pace.

FADEL: Jason Hurst and his family run five hardware stores, and he's preparing for a road trip in the middle of the storm to get from store to store.

JASON HURST: I have a kit which - blankets, tow ropes. I have, you know, a firearm. I bring my snow boots. I bring - yeah, I just have this action packer, this tote. And I just have it full of stuff that might come in handy if I get stranded.

INSKEEP: He's going to be ready for whatever happens. And he says there is a good side to all this moisture.

HURST: We desperately need the water in our mountains to fill our reservoirs and fill our aquifers and springs. I don't think people want to grumble too loud because it's truly a blessing.

FADEL: That's how Allison Reynolds feels. She's in Tehachapi, Calif., which is under a winter storm warning and watching a forecast for up to 2 feet of snow.

ALLISON REYNOLDS: I'm planning on carrying my guitar downstairs, sitting in front of the fire and just playing and, you know, watching the snow come down.

INSKEEP: She's a musician who says the pandemic taught her how to stay busy indoors, a skill she can reuse now.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.