Central Plains blizzard to spread to Upper Midwest into Sunday, creating dangerous travel

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 24, 2019, 11:29:37 AM EST

The same storm set that brought feet of snow to Arizona will continue to blast the north-central United States with heavy snow and blizzard conditions this weekend.

The weekend storm, like the one at midweek, is tracking toward the Great Lakes. However, the storm this weekend is becoming significantly stronger.

A swath of heavy snow and strong winds has resulted.

The low visibility and poor road conditions caused a crash on I-80 eastbound just east of York, Nebraska on Saturday. The Interstate was closed in both directions between Grand Island and Seward on Saturday.

"Areas from central Kansas to southeastern Nebraska, western and northern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin and northern Michigan can expect a general 6-12 inches of snow with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 20 inches," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.

additional snowfall 2/24am

"The weekend storm is likely to produce blizzard conditions within and surrounding the heavy snow swath," according to AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Richard Schraeger.

The storm will bring all or mostly rain to Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Where there is a significant amount of snow on the ground from prior storms and rain falls with this storm, the risk of urban flooding will be significant.

Lake-effect snow is likely farther to the east on Sunday in southern Michigan, northern Indiana and northern Ohio.

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High winds to be problematic with storm

The winds from this storm may become strong enough to knock over trees and cause regional to perhaps widespread power outages over the Plains and Midwest.

After battering the Plains through Saturday night, high winds will shift toward the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley region by Sunday.

The winds will contribute to low-level turbulence for airline passengers and may lead to delays at the major airport hubs even where there is no fresh snowfall.

Snow continues to pile up over part of north central US

The storm from this past Wednesday has pushed Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport over the top for the snowiest February on record. The prior February snowfall record for Minneapolis was in 1962, when 26.5 inches of snow fell. As of Friday, Feb. 22, the airport has officially recorded 31.7 inches of snow this month. More snow will fall on the Twin Cities this weekend.

Des Moines, Iowa, has received 22.5 inches of snow so far this month. Already, the city has received 44 inches of snow since early November. The average annual snowfall is 35 inches. Snow is forecast with the weekend storm in Des Moines.

Snowfall is also well above average for Omaha, Nebraska, this season. The average annual snowfall is 26.5 inches of snow, compared to about 41 inches already as of Wednesday morning.

This system is threatening areas in the southern U.S. with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in its warm sector from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley, along with flooding rainfall.

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