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    East Coast's Next Big Snowstorm Hits the Plains First

    By By Heather Buchman, Meteorologist
    January 22, 2011, 12:07:09 PM EST

    People across the Plains will have to gear up for another round of widespread disruptive snow this weekend. Up to half a foot could accumulate, making a mess of travel in some areas.

    A few places could even pick up 6-12 inches.

    Rapid City, S.D., Kansas City, Mo., and Omaha, Neb., are among the cities that could end up in the heaviest snow zone. While St. Louis will not be hit as hard as it was during its last storm, enough snow could fall there by the end of the weekend to cause travel problems.

    The storm bringing snow this weekend was already spreading rain and a wintry mix across the Pacific Northwest Friday. As this storm emerges out over the Plains this weekend, fresh snow will cover areas from Montana to Missouri and surrounding states.


    300x200_01211636_121snowmap

    In some areas, especially western portions of this zone, winds will be a bit gusty, causing some blowing and drifting with poor visibility.

    The worst of the storm is expected to spread from central and eastern Montana into northern Nebraska throughout the day Saturday. Saturday night is when the heaviest snow is expected to reach Omaha.

    By Sunday, Kansas City could lie in the heaviest snow zone as it shifts farther south and east. People across northern and perhaps central parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas may also be dealing with a mix of rain and snow Sunday or Sunday night.


    300x225_01211642_121icymo

    While not the biggest of snowstorms for the Plains, this one will be quick-hitting and cause roads to become snow-covered fairly rapidly. Travel along sections of interstates 90, 94, 80, 70, 35 and 29 could all be impacted.

    Accompanying the snow will be another quick shot of cold air, causing temperatures to drop 10 to 15 degrees from the previous day's highs in many places.

    The storm will become much stronger once it reaches the East Coast early next week. Parts of the Northeast could pick up a significant amount of snow from this system, while the South once again deals with snow and ice.

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