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Snow to return to interior West at week's end before tracking towards the Northeast

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
January 16, 2019, 3:45:06 AM EST


Following a stretch of chilly, dry and often foggy days, a large area of unsettled weather is expected to overspread the western United States at the end of the week.

In recent days, a strong area of high pressure has maintained very calm weather conditions. This has led to often dense fog in valleys, as well as poor air quality due to air stagnation, in the Northwest.

This pattern will begin to change at midweek, leading to improved air quality conditions and a few high-elevation snow showers. Then, a storm expected to slam into the West Coast on Wednesday will continue inland through the end of the week.

While snow is expected to pound the Sierra Mountains throughout the week, it is not until Thursday that snowy conditions will overspread northern Nevada and the interior Northwest.

Static Snow Int West


Residents of Spokane, Washington; Great Falls, Montana; and Jackson, Wyoming, can all expect wintry weather to arrive on Thursday. Precipitation should fall as mainly rain in Boise, Idaho.

During Thursday night, snow will overtake much of the ski country of the Rockies.

"A general coating to a couple inches is most likely in the lower elevations of the Intermountain West, but as much as a foot of snow can fall in the ski resort areas of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliott.

"Snow will then streak eastward into the central Plains Thursday night into Friday," he said.

Areas that missed out on the most recent storm, such as South Dakota and Nebraska, could be blanketed with fresh snow on Friday.

Although Flagstaff, Arizona, and Denver could also receive another helping of snow, temperatures may be warm enough for a wintry mix to occur, limiting the possibility of heavy accumulation.

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Where it does snow, threats will include more than just slick roadways.

According to Elliott, this storm is also expected to be accompanied by frigid air and gusty winds.

"Blowing and drifting snow will be likely, so motorists may face whiteout conditions, rapidly changing visibility and extremely difficult travel conditions," he warned.

This storm has the potential to strengthen rapidly as it dips through the Plains late on Friday, creating the threat of another major storm across portions of the country that are still recovering from winter weather.

Unlike this past weekend, the snow from this system would be accompanied by strong winds. This will heighten the risk for dangerous travel, power outages and property damage.

"Blizzard conditions may evolve with the storm from Friday to Sunday over portions of the central Plains, while a major snowstorm unfolds in the Northeast," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"The circulation of the storm this coming weekend is likely to push cold air well to the south over the Central and Eastern states in its wake."

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