A major snowstorm is riding the leading edge of cold air over a large part of the West and the northern Plains. The storm evolved into a blizzard as it emerges from the northern Rockies.
Snow fell over thousands of square miles of the West initially, then over the northern Plains.
Snow had already covered the landscape around the Snake River and northern and eastern parts of the Great Basin early.
**From one half to one foot of snow has fallen around Salt Lake City through early Friday morning. A foot of snow has blanketed Havre, Mont. Boise, Idaho has received about 2 inches of snow with 7 inches blanketing the Pocatello, Idaho area.**
The bulk of the snow was heading north of Denver, but enough snow can fall with plummeting temperatures to make for icy roads during Friday afternoon. A general 3 to 6 inches of snow is forecast for the Colorado Rockies with locally heavier amounts.
The latest snow map for is available on AccuWeather.com's Winter Weather Center.
Motorists should expect slow travel over the major cross-country arteries of the West, including I-15, I-25, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-94.
There is the potential for close to a foot of snow over portions of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, northwestern Nebraska, the Dakotas and into northwestern Minnesota. Heavy snow will also graze Canada from southern Alberta to Northwest Ontario.
Other cities in the path of the snowstorm include Billings, Mont.; Durango, Colo.; Casper, Wyo.; Rapid City, S.D.; Bismarck and Fargo, N.D.; and International Falls, Minn.
**Strong winds and heavy snow created blizzard conditions over Wolf Creek Pass, Colo., during the early morning hours Friday. Winds gusted to nearly 100 mph near Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado were over a foot of snow has fallen.**
More general blizzard conditions unfolded as the storm tracks northeastward over the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota.
**Winds gusting near 50 mph with snow and blowing snow has been slamming Rapid City, S.D., on Friday. Snow and winds were picking up around Philip, S.D., as well.**
While the snow and the overall moisture it brings is good for the region, very difficult, if not dangerous travel unfolded over portions of I-90 in western South Dakota and I-94 over much of North Dakota Friday.
Warmth preceding the storm will cause the initial snow to melt on the roadways. However, temperatures will plunge as the storm rolls to the northeast, in some areas temperatures were 40 to 50 degrees lower than highs experience Thursday. Ice formed in some areas and was hidden by the snow over the northwestern flank.
In the wake of the storm, many areas from the northern Rockies to the northern Plains had highs in the single digits and teens with nighttime lows below zero into next week.
The snowstorm moved north Omaha, Des Moines and Minneapolis, with a push of much colder air to follow.
The storm will drive freezing air into Southern California and Arizona.
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