Blizzard to Target Colorado, Nebraska, Northwest Kansas

February 2, 2012; 7:20 AM ET
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This is likely to be the scene late Friday into Saturday over portions of eastern Colorado, southwestern and central Nebraska and northwestern Kansas. (Photo by

A modest snowfall over the northern Rockies will turn into a raging snowstorm and even a blizzard for part of the central High Plains to the eastern slopes of the Colorado Rockies to end the week.

Heavy snow will soon fall with strong winds causing low visibility, large snowdrifts and poor travel from eastern Colorado to southwestern and central Nebraska to northwestern Kansas.

Colorado Springs, Denver and Pueblo in Colorado, Grand Island, McCook and North Platte in Nebraska and Goodland in Kansas will be in the heart of the storm with a foot of snow possible.

Travel along long stretches of I-25, I-70, I-76 and I-80 in the region will become slow to difficult spanning Thursday night into Friday night.

A larger version of this map is available on the Winter Weather Center.

At the height of the storm, it is possible roads and highways will close for a time, while timeliness of departing flights at Denver International Airport will be challenged due to drifting snow and whiteout conditions.

As the storm moves along the Rockies from north to south, a few inches of fresh powder will go along with it from the Bitterroots to the Tetons, Wasatch and Colorado Rockies through Thursday.

The storm will reorganize and strengthen over the South Central states Thursday night into Friday night raising strong winds, pushing temperatures downward and causing rain to change to snow in the east over a portion of the central Plains.

As the storm begins to roll slowly eastward during the first part of this weekend, snow or rain changing to snow will expand over much of eastern Nebraska and into northern Iowa and southeastern South Dakota. Cities in this area that have a shot at several inches of snow include Omaha, Neb., Sioux City, Iowa, and Sioux Falls, S.D.

It is possible the heavy band of snow will continue to expand eastward with the storm, rather than fizzle out. Folks living in and travel interests from central and southern Iowa to northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin will want to monitor the storm's progress this weekend, even though the storm is likely to mature before reaching that far east.

A storm of this size, with energy and moisture available, has the potential to deliver the heaviest snow of the winter, especially in light of how the season has evolved.

The storm system will bring not only drenching rain to portions of the South Central states, but also severe thunderstorms, especially in parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

The upcoming general snowstorm and local blizzard just goes to show how quickly the weather can change over the Plains. During Monday and Tuesday, temperatures soared into the 60s over much of the region.


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