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First Snowstorm of Season Unfolds From Chicago to Detroit Saturday

By By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.
November 22, 2015, 7:25:36 AM EST

For continuous updates on the snowstorm, please visit the live blog.

A storm is bringing the first snowfall of the season to parts of the Midwest this weekend.

People getting an early start on their Thanksgiving ventures will experience travel disruptions including airline delays through some of the major hubs of the Midwest this weekend.

Heavy Snow in the Midwest


The heaviest snow on Saturday has been targeting northern Illinois and will focus on the corridor from northwestern Illinois to southern Lower Michigan into the evening.

How much snow accumulates, especially on road surfaces, will depend on the rate of snowfall. As surfaces cool with the falling snow, road conditions will transition from wet to slushy and snow-covered.


"Where it snows at night or snows hard during the day will be the places that have the most problems on the roads in terms of slippery travel," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brian Wimer said.

The colder air will also cause the snow to become more powdery, which will lead to blowing and drifting snow issues as gusty winds are kicked up for a time.

AccuWeather Winter Center
Thanksgiving Travel Outlook
AccuWeather MinuteCast®

Regardless of the amount of snow, untreated wet and slushy areas will freeze as the arctic air arrives. Temperatures will plunge into the teens and 20s across the Midwest with some locations dipping into the single digits.

"For portions of the Midwest, it will seem like a storm in the middle of the winter, rather than a storm during the middle of November," Wimer said.

Locations from southeast South Dakota to northern Illinois have received between 12 and 18 inches of snow from this storm.

Farther south and east over the region, a period of snow or flurries is likely to reach the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians with a surge of much colder air this weekend.


According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis, "This does not look like the setup to bring long-lasting lake-effect snow following the storm."

A light covering of snow may extend to Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo, New York. A total of 6-12 inches of snow will fall over the higher ground in northwestern Pennsylvania to the ski resorts south of Buffalo and on the Tug Hill Plateau region of upstate New York for the second half of the weekend.

However, bands of heavy lake-effect snow will only briefly swing through the Great Lakes following the storm.


"Based on the latest information, systems are moving along too fast to get 2 feet of lake-effect snow in the storm's wake off lakes Erie and Ontario," Travis said. "That being said, travel along portions of I-80, I-81 and I-90 can be dicey for a time due to squalls and blowing snow."

For those flexible with their Thanksgiving travel plans, the weather will improve from west to east across the Midwest Sunday and Monday. Much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation will not experience weather-related travel disruptions from Monday through Wednesday of next week.

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