Blizzard warnings issued as winter storm ramps up across central US
An icy mix will spread across a large swath of the central U.S. while enough cold air will remain to bring snow to the northern tier.
Following the quick-hitting round of snow and a blast of cold Canadian air at midweek, a potent winter storm will take aim at the central United States before the week concludes.
The storm system first tracked into the West Coast, bringing snowfall to places like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, as well as rain and mountain snow to California.
Bitterly cold air settling in across the Plains and Great Lakes will lay the groundwork for accumulating snowfall across the northern tier of the United States late week. Blizzard warnings have been issued for parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest in advance of the storm.
The bright pink areas are locations where blizzard warnings have been issued.
Moisture gathered quickly over the southern Plains and Rockies on Thursday. Rain fell on portions of central Texas and southern Arizona, while ice and snow began to occur farther north over the southern High Plains.
During Thursday night, an icy mixture of precipitation was observed across a wide swath of the central Plains.
At the Kansas City International Airport on Friday morning, a Delta flight slid off the taxiway while preparing to takeoff. No injuries were reported, however the airport shut down soon after due to the icy conditions.
As the storm moved along during the daytime on Friday, ice departed much of Kansas, but spread across northern Missouri and reached southern Illinois. Snow blasted much of Iowa, Minnesota, the eastern part of the Dakotas and northern Illinois.
Increasing winds led to poor visibility and blowing and drifting snow Friday night. Sioux Falls and Aberdeen, South Dakota both observed wind gusts topping 50 mph Friday night as the storm continued.
Wintry weather continued to track eastward across the Great Lakes and Ohio River Valley Friday night. After starting out as snow late in the day on Friday in Chicago, warmer air creeping into the area brought a brief window of freezing rain and sleet.
A similar scenario could be possible for Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan into Saturday. Precipitation fell as all snow Friday night, but warmer air creeping into the area could allow for precipitation types to change over for a time.
The transition to plain rain will be short-lived across the Midwest on Saturday, however, as cold and blustery conditions will accompany the back side of the storm system by Saturday night.
Most of the snow will wrap up by Saturday night across the Midwest, leaving a swath of 6-12 inches of fresh powder. Portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan will get over a foot of snow before the end of the weekend with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 16 inches forecast.
Blizzard conditions will continue into much of Saturday from the eastern parts of the Dakotas to western Minnesota, northwestern Iowa and northeastern Nebraska. The combination of snow and high winds will cause whiteout conditions and substantial drifting. Travel will be dangerous, if not impossible for a time.
The core of the storm system will continue to track eastward into the Northeast this weekend and spread accumulating snow to the region.
With the exception of heavy lake-effect snow bands in the typical downwind location across the Midwest, the region can expect mainly dry and cold conditions Sunday.
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