Travel-snarling snowstorm to sweep from Rockies to Upper Midwest into Monday
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
January 21, 2018, 11:33:36 AM EST
You will be redirected to the most recent story on the unfolding snowstorm momentarily:
A storm will track and strengthen over the north-central United States and produce a swath of heavy snow and gusty winds on its northwestern flank.
Not everyone over the Plains and Midwest will be in store for an extended break from cold air. After a brief rebound in temperatures from the central Rockies to the Upper Midwest, just enough cold air will come back as a storm rolls along.
The storm will produce snow along a 1,500-mile-long swath from the Intermountain West to the upper Great Lakes into Monday.
People venturing along portions of interstates 25, 29, 70, 80, 90 and 94 may run the risk of getting stuck or encountering dangerous conditions.
Airline delays due to deicing activity and flight cancellations are likely with some aircraft connecting in Denver, Minneapolis and the secondary airports in the region.
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A large swath over the central High Plains and Upper Midwest will receive 3-6 inches of snow with a narrow swath subject to around a foot of wind-swept snow.
Enough snow to shovel and plow is forecast for Denver; Valentine, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; Minneapolis; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
Even where only light snow falls, increasing winds will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow. Local blizzard conditions may develop, especially from parts of Nebraska to portions of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.
A narrow swath of ice or a wintry mix is in store near the track of the center of the storm from part of north-central Kansas to southeastern Nebraska, Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, central Wisconsin and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Enough ice may occur in this area to glaze roads and elevated surfaces. An isolated area may also be subject to power outages.
Some of these same areas may also receive snow on the backside of the storm.
"While the heaviest snow is expected from central Nebraska to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a separate area of snow may develop on Monday night and bring a quick couple of inches and slippery travel from around Madison, Wisconsin, to Traverse City, Michigan," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said.
Meanwhile, farther south and east, enough warm air may be present to allow not only rain, but also the potential for locally severe thunderstorms over parts of the South Central states.
Thunderstorms may erupt as far to the west as eastern Oklahoma and as far to the north as southeastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin.
Even in lieu of thunderstorms, the combination of rain and gusty winds in the storm's warm sector may be enough to cause flight delays.
Fog can also pose travel difficulties from Houston to Little Rock, Arkansas, to St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit. The risk for long-lasting and dense fog may be greatest where snow remains on the ground for a time.
No rain is expected across the southern High Plains. Instead, strong winds threaten to cause sporadic power outages on Sunday. Motorists may face dangerous crosswinds and areas of blowing dust.
In the wake of the storm, colder air will spill southward and eastward. However, at this time, the air does not appear to be as extreme as recent cold spells.
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