Blizzard conditions to evolve over northern Plains into Friday

November 29, 2016, 9:19:48 PM EST

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A storm will kick up winds over the central United States and bring the first significant snowfall of the season to the northern Plains later this week.

First, the storm will impact the Pacific Northwest with rain and snow beginning on Tuesday night. It will push across the interior West on Wednesday.

Strong winds to whip central US

As the storm emerges from the Rockies beyond the middle of the week, it will strengthen and gather wind.


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Gusts in some areas of the High Plains and the Upper Midwest are expected to exceed 60 mph on Thursday and Friday.

Winds of this strength will have the potential to cause sporadic power outages, minor property damage and travel difficulties. Gusty winds over dry brush in the central and southern Plains could raise the risk of wildfire ignition.

Snow to make travel difficult over northern Plains

As the storm taps colder air, an area of heavy, wind-swept snow will break out and expand across the northern Plains prior to the end of the week.


The greatest amount of snow will be on elevated, non-paved surfaces.

However, travel conditions will deteriorate due to accumulating snow.

Initially, snow may struggle to accumulate on road surfaces, due to the recent warmth. As the rate of snow increases, roads will transition from wet to slushy to snow-covered.

Accumulating snow will extend from eastern Wyoming and northwestern Nebraska to Minnesota beginning on Thursday and lasting through Friday.


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The heaviest band of snow is expected to stretch from north-central South Dakota to northern Minnesota and part of Northwest Ontario. Snow in parts of this swath may reach 12 inches (30 cm).

Areas as far south as Denver may have the first flakes of the season late on Thursday.

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The combination of wind and blowing snow will result in poor visibility.

“The combination of snow and strong winds could lead to blizzard conditions across portions of Nebraska, the Dakotas and Minnesota,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

Cold air to plunge in storm's wake

Behind the storm, temperatures are set to plummet. The weather will be particularly crisp as gusty winds continue, making the air feel much colder than the actual temperature.

“AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures will only be in the single digits and teens across the Dakotas on Friday,” Rathbun said.

A sharp, but brief change to colder weather will sweep southeastward across the Midwest this weekend. Temperatures will be slashed by 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit from Minneapolis to Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati.

Story written by AccuWeather Meteorologist Faith Eherts. Content contributed by AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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