Pre-Easter snowstorm to trigger travel difficulties in Upper Midwest

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
March 31, 2018, 10:42:14 AM EDT

Cold, snowy and blustery conditions will sweep through the northern tier of the United States through the first part of Easter weekend.

While the snow will exit in time for Easter Sunday, some people may be delayed in getting to their holiday destinations due to slick road conditions and snow cleanup.

Easter egg hunts and outdoor gatherings may be forced indoors.

Snow Spreads 5 am Sat static

A storm diving out of southwestern Canada will be the catalyst for the wintry conditions.

The heaviest snow on Saturday will fall along a path from northern Wisconsin to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern areas of Lower Michigan.

Along this swath, snowfall accumulations of 6-10 inches are expected, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

Any roadways that become snow-covered before the sun rises could remain treacherous through Saturday morning before the strong April sunshine turns roadways from slippery to wet. This includes portions of interstate 94.

Midwest snow March 31

Roadways may fare better in far eastern Wisconsin and northern lower Michigan, where most of the snow will fall during the daylight hours.

Typically, it must snow very hard to accumulate on paved surfaces from the mid-morning into the early evening hours during early spring, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

“As the storm strengthens while tracking eastward, winds will also increase, so this may cause blowing and drifting snow,” Adamson said.

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Gusty winds may trigger travel delays even in the absence of snow.

"The strongest winds are likely to occur south of the snow area and may be strong enough to break tree limbs, cause sporadic power outages and turbulence for aircraft, especially during landing and takeoff," Sosnowski said.

wind gusts March 31

"Winds may have more negative impact than the snow. Airline delays are possible at the major hubs of Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland on Saturday."

The storm will open the door for a new wave of bitterly cold air to sweep in.

“Temperatures can be up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit below normal behind this system, with highs in the 20s and 30s this weekend,” according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

“Lows will be near zero close to the Canadian border and in the teens for much of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest,” he added.

Anyone heading out early Sunday morning for sunrise church services will need to thoroughly layer up with hats, gloves, scarves and heavy winter coats. Drivers across the upper Great Lakes will need to be wary of lingering slick spots on the roadways.

Residents of the Midwest should not be too quick to put away snow shovels despite the calendar flip to April.

Chilly air will hold its ground through at least the first week of the new month, leading to more snow opportunities including from a storm that will streak across the Plains and into the Ohio Valley by Easter Sunday.

Yet another storm is expected to sweep through the nation's midsection early next week, with areas on its northern flank at risk for spring snow.

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