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    Snowstorm Aims for Fargo, Minneapolis, Chicago

    By By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
    December 04, 2010, 6:02:38 AM EST

    A storm will add to already mounting season's snowfall totals over Fargo and Minneapolis, and will bring the first real snowstorm of the season to Chicago.

    A storm similar to an Alberta clipper will spread disruptive snow from the northern Plains to the Ohio Valley into this weekend, slowing ground travel and sparking delays for flights at major airports in the region, including Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

    Plunging temperatures in the wake of the storm will turn untreated wet and slushy roads and sidewalks to ice.

    Fargo has received about 19 inches of snow so far, with Minneapolis picking up close to 10 inches of snow this season. Meanwhile, Chicago has barely had enough snow to measure.

    The storm will target the Interstate 94 corridor first. Several inches of snow will fall from much of North Dakota Friday to northern Illinois and central Indiana by Saturday. Up to a foot of snow will blanket cities and towns that lie in the heaviest band of snow.

    Other cities currently in the path of the potentially plowable snowstorm include Bismarck, La Crosse and Cedar Rapids.


    400x266_12032043_impacts


    However, even with this projected path, Duluth and Green Bay could easily get enough snow to make roads slippery.

    The exact track of the storm will determine who gets the "lollipop" as far as snowfall is concerned. A jog farther north or south would shift the steady, heavy snow area.

    At this time it appears the storm will track south of Detroit and Cleveland, sparing the cities from a big accumulation. However, provided the storm does not weaken considerably, Indianapolis and Cincinnati could do well as far as snowfall is concerned.


    400x266_12032044_snowmap


    Just to the south of the heaviest snow, a zone of ice or a wintry mix will also coat roads, making for slippery travel.

    At present, it appears Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis and Nashville would slide underneath the snow and ice and would end up on the milder side of the storm. Even so, the situation still bears watching.

    No doubt, some snow would survive the trip into the Virginias, and a mixture of rain and wet snow could even reach part of the North Carolina coast by Sunday.

    The overall weather pattern bears watching as progressively colder weather will continue to invade from the northern Plains into much of the East over the next couple of weeks.

    People downwind of the Great Lakes will need their snow shovels even if they miss the weekend storm, as a lake-effect event aims to drop enough snow to be measured with a yardstick in the traditional areas.

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