2nd storm this week to deliver winter's worst yet in Midwest with snow, freeze-up and dangerous cold
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 17, 2019, 12:50:14 PM EST
Following the second of two winter storms into Saturday night, it will look and feel like the dead of winter across much of the Plains and Midwest by Sunday.
By Saturday night, it is possible that some communities will have been hit by three accumulating snow events in a week, counting the storm from last weekend through the storms late this week and early this weekend.
First storm to bring slippery travel, delays
The first of two storms is scheduled to spread a batch of light to moderate snow from Nebraska and northern Kansas to central and northern Ohio to the southern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan through Thursday.
Enough snow will fall to make roads slippery and may be enough to have to shovel in many communities along the Interstate-80 corridor.
An icy mix, including some snow, is forecast along much of the I-70 corridor from Kansas to Ohio through Thursday.
Second storm to disrupt travel, create dangerous winter conditions
The second storm of the week will be a more potent storm and have significantly more impact than the first storm this week. Road closures are likely with scores of flight delays and cancellations.
Compared to the first storm, the system slated to travel from west to east across the Central states from Friday to Saturday night is forecast to bring heavier precipitation, strong winds and a blast of bitterly cold air on its backside with a rapid freeze-up.
During the day Friday, the heaviest snow from the storm is likely to spread from South Dakota to portions of eastern Nebraska, southwestern Minnesota, northern Kansas northern Missouri and much of Iowa.
The heavy snow area will set up farther to the south and east across the Midwest during Friday night and Saturday.
Snow will become heavy from eastern Kansas, northern Missouri and southeastern Iowa and spread to central and northern Illinois, northern Indiana and northern Ohio, as well as the southern tier of Wisconsin and the southern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
"Accumulating snow may even dip as far south as central Oklahoma and northwest central Texas on Saturday," according to AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Eddie Walker.
The second storm has the potential to strand motorists on the highways and at airports.
During Friday night and Saturday, blizzard conditions may develop over the central Plains and spread eastward across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley states.
Moderate to heavy snow is forecast to impact Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Des Moines, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska, essentially near and just north of I-70 to near and just north of I-80. More snow will fall on St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, as well.
Northerly winds are likely to gust between 30 and 45 mph at the height of the storm and in its immediate wake, spreading from west to east during Saturday and Sunday.
Temperatures will plummet from the 20s, 30s and 40s F to the single digits, teens and 20s.
Rain is expected to fall at the height of the storm in Cincinnati and other cities which received heavy snow last weekend, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Courtney Travis.
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"Where piles of snow are blocking storm drains, street flooding can occur due to rain and a brief dose of mild air," Travis said.
A short distance to the north, near I-70 from eastern Missouri to Ohio, all or mostly snow is expected from Friday night to Saturday.
St. Louis, Terre Haute, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio, will be near the southern edge of an all-out snowstorm and a storm that brings some combination of snow, ice and rain.
Another rain or wintry mix changing to accumulating snow event is in store for Kansas City, Missouri, from Friday to Saturday, which is about six days after the last storm that brought rain to snow.
Rain and an icy mix may change to snow in parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, western West Virginia and southern Ohio during Saturday night.
Those caught outside during the height of the storm will face plunging temperatures and snow that will become difficult to remove. Slush will freeze and many ice-melting chemicals become ineffective. Stretches of roadways that were wet will become icy. Snow will transition from wet to slushy to dry and powdery in many areas.
Anywhere a layer of powdery snow falls, it will be subject to blowing and drifting as the storm pulls away.
The coldest air of the winter so far will blast in behind the storm over much of the Central states, which will lead to a rapid freeze-up and dangerously low AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures. For more information on the magnitude of the Arctic air on the way, consult this story.
Because of the brutal cold following the storm, those experiencing power outages will need to find safe, alternate ways of staying warm. In addition, lengthy power outages could lead to pipe bursts, especially on exterior walls or those that are improperly insulated.
Bands of heavy, lake-effect snow may join in on the tail end of the storm and continue on Sunday and perhaps into Monday in some areas. This can lead to ongoing whiteout conditions.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see how much snow and cold air will be coming to your area.
How can you stay healthy this winter season? Tune in to find out! Join host Regina Miller and her guest Dr. Anthony Ng, Senior Physician Executive at Northern Light Acadia Hospital and Chief of Psychiatry at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center as they discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. Also, Staff Education Coordinator for Centre LifeLink EMS, Frank Cianfrani discusses cardiac and respiratory care as it relates to winter activities and provides suggestions on how to stay safe this winter.
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