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    Snow, Ice and Rain Take Aim at Midwest

    By By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist.
    December 26, 2012, 2:38:54 AM EST

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    The same storm bringing cold rain and mountain snow to Southern California and Arizona this week will swing toward Midwest this weekend (Dec. 15-16) with a wide variety of precipitation.

    The storm will bring not only needed moisture, but also travel problems ranging from minor inconveniences to dangerous conditions.

    How extensive the area of snow, ice and drenching rain is will depend on the track and strength of the storm.

    Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Check out the probability here.

    Snowfall from the storm could overlap part of the area that was hit with half a foot to a foot and a half of snow this past weekend (Dec. 8-10).


    The storm will not be as potent as the blizzard of last weekend, with much less snow and little wind forecast.

    According to Expert Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "Warm air will be flowing in aloft with this storm over a broad area, before colder air sweeps in. Hence a broad area of wintry mix is forecast."

    A shift in track by 100 miles or so would mean the difference between very slippery wintry mix versus less troublesome all snow over the the Upper Midwest during Saturday. Odds favor a wintry mix in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.


    A swath of accumulating snow is possible spanning late Friday night, Saturday into Saturday night from central South Dakota to northern Minnesota.


    Farther south, a period of rain is forecast from Omaha, Neb.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago; Detroit and the Ohio Valley.

    In between, a wintry mix is in likely, including some freezing rain and sleet. There is the potential for enough ice to put a thick glaze on some elevated surfaces.


    Spotty thunderstorms can also affect areas from the central and southern Plains to part of the lower Mississippi Valley.

    Portions of I-35, I-90 and I-94 in the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest could be a slow go Saturday.

    A Ding in the Drought

    While the snow and rain may be an inconvenience for travelers, shoppers and some outdoor activities, the region is in desperate need of moisture due to the Drought of 2012.


    The drought has the potential to extend its roots into 2013 over a large portion of the Plains.

    According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok, "We are in a transitional pattern right now that will continue through much of the remainder of December. However, the number of storms impacting the Plains with significant precipitation is likely to diminish during the heart of the winter."

    As a glimmer of hope for parts of the Midwest, Pastelok stated that it appears precipitation amounts would trend upward from near the Mississippi River on east through the winter.

    During the next few weeks, storms would bring some moisture to parts of the Plains and locally heavy precipitation farther east.

    Meteorologist Brian Edwards has more on the pattern leading up to Christmas in "Snowy, Colder Pattern for U.S. Leading up to Christmas."

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