March blizzard to bury north central US, whip Great Lakes and Northeast with high winds
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
March 07, 2019, 2:46:55 AM EST
A potent storm may not only bring significant snow and blizzard conditions to parts of the north-central United States this weekend, but also a more far-reaching swath of potentially high winds this weekend.
It is not uncommon for storms to produce a wide range of weather conditions over the middle of the nation during March. Blizzards, strong winds and severe weather are not uncommon during the month.
The upcoming storm for the central U.S. this weekend will contribute to heavy snow over the Sierra Nevada into Thursday and also heavy snow over the various ranges through the Intermountain West and the northern and central Rockies to end the week.
Swath of snow, blizzard conditions to unfold
Soon after the storm emerges from the Rockies, an area of snow is forecast to expand rapidly, and travel is expected to deteriorate across the northern Plains during Friday night and Saturday.
During Saturday night to Sunday, the storm will likely be at its strongest with windswept snow from the Dakotas and northern Nebraska to much of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and part of northern Michigan.
A general 3-6 inches of snow may fall with the storm from part of eastern Montana to a large part of South Dakota, southern North Dakota, central and southern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Localized amounts of a foot are possible.
A swath of rain and snow mix are likely from part of northeastern Nebraska to northern Iowa, central Wisconsin and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. However, a shift in storm track by 100 miles could cause the heavy snow area to shift southeastward or farther to the northwest.
Strengthening winds will greatly lower the visibility and cause extensive blowing and drifting snow.
Storm to generate strong winds from north-central to northeastern US
While the storm may not be as large or quite as strong as that of late February, it can still pack a punch in terms of power outages, lake shore flooding and travel disruptions related to wind.
Trees and limbs that were weakened from the last big windstorm may come down during this weekend's event. Gusts during the storm from Feb. 23-25 reached hurricane force, 74 mph and higher, and caused hundreds of thousands of power outages.
With the upcoming storm, frequent gusts between 35 and 50 mph are likely to develop and spread from the northern and central Plains to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Saturday.
During Saturday night to Sunday, strong winds are likely to reach the Appalachians and perhaps the upper mid-Atlantic and New England coasts later Sunday to Sunday night.
The way the atmosphere will set up with this storm, southerly winds may be stronger along part of the Atlantic coast compared to the February storm.
The strongest wind gusts, perhaps close to 65 mph, can occur around the Great Lakes region and over the ridges in the central and northern Appalachians.
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Next severe weather outbreak may target central, southern US this weekend
Details will unfold in the coming days as to the timing and location of the heaviest snow and strongest winds this weekend.
Download the free AccuWeather app to stay up-to-date with the predicted storm impacts in your area.
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