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Wind gusts up to 65 mph to topple trees, cut power across the Midwest, Northeast this weekend

By Faith Eherts, AccuWeather meteorologist
March 09, 2019, 3:11:16 PM EST


A blizzard plowing through the northern Plains will evolve into a disruptive wind event for the Great Lakes and northeastern U.S. this weekend.

Where heavy snow is expected across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest through Saturday night, travel and safety concerns due to the weather will be two-fold.

"Strengthening winds will greatly lower visibility and cause extensive blowing and drifting snow," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. "During Saturday night to Sunday, the storm will likely be at its strongest, but since the storm will weaken quickly soon thereafter, widespread strong winds are not likely to last through Monday."

As the storm progresses into Ontario and Quebec on Sunday, strong northerly and northwesterly winds will continue to pummel the Upper Midwest. While not as cold as recent weeks, temperatures will fall back to below-average levels, with RealFeel® Temperatures dipping into the single digits.

It will be important for anyone spending time outside to cover as much skin as possible to protect against frostbite, which can occur on exposed skin in a matter of minutes. Due to the gusty winds, falling branches and blowing debris can pose a threat as well.

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These winds will also blow through the Ohio Valley, impacting densely populated areas such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus and Detroit. Gusts as high as 60 mph can result in extensive airline delays, property damage, widespread power outages and difficult driving conditions.

Any airline delays at major hubs, such as Chicago and Detroit, can have ripple effects at other airports across the country, so anyone with travel plans should check with their airline to stay up-to-date on any delays or cancellations.

"During Saturday night to Sunday, strong winds are likely to reach the Appalachians and perhaps the upper mid-Atlantic and New England coasts later Sunday to Sunday night," Sosnowski warned.

The combination of wind and rain in the Northeast will make for unfavorable travel weather, likely resulting in slow travel, train and airline delays and canceled plans. Download the free AccuWeather app for the latest forecast and weather warnings for your area.

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"While the storm may not be as large or quite as strong as that of late February, it can still pack a punch in terms of power outages, lake shore flooding and travel disruptions related to wind," Sosnowski said.

An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 65 mph is expected along the immediate shorelines of the Great Lakes, including the Buffalo, New York, area.

Residents should prepare for this wind event as soon as possible. Preparations can include securing outdoor furniture and other objects or moving them inside, moving vehicles to protected areas, preparing for potential power outages and reassessing travel plans.

Anyone who does need to be out and about this weekend should travel with extreme caution, as falling branches and trees can result in injury and block roadways.


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