Spring snow hits Chicago; More ahead in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, Northern Rockies

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Minnesota Winter Storm Travel Hazards

BY LINDA LAM, WEATHER.COM

The first week of spring will bring a taste of winter to parts of the northern Plains, Upper Midwest, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest from two separate snowmakers.

Below is a look at our current forecast for both of these systems.

System #1: Monday

Monday, an Alberta clipper system will continue to slide east-southeastward through the southern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, spreading a swath of light to moderate snow from eastern Minnesota, northeast Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois into northern Indiana, far southwest Lower Michigan and Ohio before fizzling over the Appalachians.

(FORECAST: Chicago | Milwaukee | Ft. Wayne, Indiana)

Additional snowfall accumulations of just over 3 inches are possible from parts of northern Illinois into northern Indiana, with lighter additional totals over southern Wisconsin and parts of Ohio.

Some locations have picked up a foot or more of snow:

15 inches in Fennimore, Wisconsin
11.5 inches near Decorah, Iowa
8 inches in Rochester, Minnesota
4.9 inches in La Crosse, Wisconsin
3.6 inches at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport
2.5 inches at Chicago O'Hare Aiport

Travel will be impacted by accumulating snow and poor visibility through at least Monday morning, including portions of I-35, I-94 and I-90. Expect roads to become snow-covered in the Chicago metro during the morning rush. Visibility could drop very quickly in a short period of time due to localized pockets of heavy snow.

Some pockets of sleet and freezing rain are also possible in eastern Iowa and central Illinois. Early Monday morning, thunder freezing rain and sleet was reported near Iowa City. Bridges and overpasses became coated with light sleet in parts of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa metro.

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Spring snow hits Chicago; More ahead in the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, Northern Rockies
Ice forms along the shore on Lake Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Chicago. Temperatures have dipped to as low as -13 in parts of Illinois with wind chills forecast to fall to between 20 and 30 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
The sun rises above Lake Michigan as ice forms along the shore, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Chicago. Temperatures have dipped to as low as -13 in parts of Illinois with wind chills forecast to fall to between 20 and 30 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Chicago. Temperatures have dipped to as low as -13 in parts of Illinois with wind chills forecast to fall to between 20 and 30 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Will Scott uses a blower to remove snow from a parking lot Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Nolensville, Tenn. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says the state remains in a state of emergency as it deals with more snow, subfreezing temperatures and slick roads. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Ice forms along the shore on Lake Michigan, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Chicago. Temperatures have dipped to as low as -13 in parts of Illinois with wind chills forecast to fall to between 20 and 30 degrees below zero. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Children sled together on the slope on the southwest grounds of the US Capitol after a winter storm, on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 in Washington. US Capitol Police officers later told parents and kids that sledding was prohibited on the US Capitol grounds. Rules implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks made sledding on the Capitol grounds off limits to residents who try to take advantage of snowy weather. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Bennett Foster shovels ice out of a driveway Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JANUARY 27: Snow covers a car on January 27, 2015 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boston, and much of the Northeast, is being hit with heavy snow from Winter Storm Juno. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: A plaw moves down a snow covered street on February 2, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Another winter storm has brought inclement weather to much of the Northeast, canceling schools and hundreds of flights throughout the area. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Airplanes stand in the snow at O'Hare International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Chicago. A slow-moving winter storm blanketed a large swath of the Plains and Midwest in snow Sunday, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights, making roads treacherous and forcing some people to rethink their plans to attend Super Bowl parties. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
A woman shields her face from the wind-driven snow while making her through a winter storm in downtown Portland, Maine, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A driver cleans snow off school buses in Derry, N.H., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Southern New Hampshire, which was hit with over two feet of snow last week, is expected to receive as much as another foot and a half in a winter storm that stretches from Michigan to Maine. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
NEW YORK NY - FEBRUARY 02: Michael Musto rides his bike through the snow in Soho on February 02, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Cars drive at slow speed during a snow storm in Manhattan, New York City on February 02, 2014. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Cars drive at slow speed during a snow storm in Manhattan, New York City on February 02, 2014. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Toby Hirshman holds onto Macy as Wally runs in the fresh snow, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. A winter snow storm has dumped at least a foot of snow in parts of northern Ohio and prompted driving bans and hundreds of school and business closings. Seven counties in northwest Ohio were under Level 3 snow emergencies Monday, closing roadways to non-emergency vehicles. Another six counties in north central and northeast Ohio were also under less severe snow emergencies. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: A man rides a bicycle on a snowy and icy Manhattan street on February 2, 2015 in New York City. Another winter storm has brought inclement weather to much of the Northeast, canceling schools and hundreds of flights throughout the area. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Pedestrians navigate the snow, ice and puddles along a Manhattan street on February 2, 2015 in New York City. Another winter storm has brought inclement weather to much of the Northeast, canceling schools and hundreds of flights throughout the area. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: A teen looks out of a Brooklyn subway window during a storm bringing a wintery mix of snow and ice to New York City on February 2, 2015 in New York City. Another winter storm has brought inclement weather to much of the Northeast, canceling schools and hundreds of flights throughout the New York metro area. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: People walk during a snow storm in Manhattan, New York City on February 02, 2014. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: People walk during a snow storm in Manhattan, New York City on February 02, 2014. (Photo by Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Airplanes stand in the snow at O'Hare International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Chicago. A slow-moving winter storm blanketed a large swath of the Plains and Midwest in snow Sunday, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights, making roads treacherous and forcing some people to rethink their plans to attend Super Bowl parties. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
A plow clears snow on I-295 during a winter storm Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, in Yarmouth, Maine. Heavy snow is pummeling much of Maine as a new round of winter weather immobilizes parts of the state for another day. Monday's storm is expected to drop more than 14 additional inches on the Downeast part of the state. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Drivers on I-295 contend with near-whiteout conditions while driving in a snow storm Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, in Yarmouth, Maine. Heavy snow is pummeling much of Maine as a new round of winter weather immobilizes parts of the state for another day. Monday's storm is expected to drop more than 14 additional inches on the Downeast part of the state. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Traffic is backed up from a vehicle off Interstate 94 in Harper Woods, Mich., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. A winter storm has buried Michigan's Lower Peninsula in snow, giving the Detroit area its biggest snowfall in four decades. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Richard King snowshoes down Adams Pond Road in East Derry, N.H., Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Southern New Hampshire, which was hit with over two feet of snow last week, is expected to receive as much as another foot and a half in a winter storm that stretches from Michigan to Maine. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Krystal Koban removes snow from around her car during a winter storm, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015, in Henniker, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Marcus Neris digs his car out of the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Marcus Neris digs his car out of the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: A man walks through Humboldt Park on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: A residents clears snow from a car on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Brittany OBerien (L) and Jessica Moser (R) dig their car out from the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city yesterday morning and did not stop until this morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Residents dig their cars out from the the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Residents try to free a stranded car after it became stuck in the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Brittany OBerien (L) and Jessica Moser (R) dig their car out of snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city yesterday morning and did not stop until this morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Residents try to free a stranded car after it became stuck in snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Cars are burined in snow along a residential street on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: A man clears snow from the sidewalk in front of an aprtment building on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: Residents dig their cars out from the snow on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 02: A dog plays in the snow in Humboldt Park on February 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Snow began falling in the city Sunday morning and did not stop until early Monday morning, leaving behind 18 inches. It was the fifth largest snowfall in the city's history. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: Aryn Sothbarr clears snow from the sidewalk outside her home on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: A man digs out his car along a snow-covered street on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: A man walks down a snow-covered street on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: A cyclist takes cover from the snow on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: Pedestrian and motorists navigate a snow-covered street on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: Passengers walk through snow to catch an L train on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 01: Drew Maurer clears snow from the sidewalk outside his home on February 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Fifteen inches or more of snow is expected to fall on the city before Monday morning. The snow has caused power outages and forced about 2,000 flight cancelations at the city's airports. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Snow covers trees at O'Hare International Airport, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Chicago. The first major winter storm of the year is bearing down on the Chicago region, bringing with it blizzard conditions of heavy snow and strong winds. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
O'Hare International Airport crews work on a runway at the airport, Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Chicago. The first major winter storm of the year is bearing down on the Chicago region, bringing with it blizzard conditions of heavy snow and strong winds. More than 1,100 flights have been canceled at Chicago's airports and snow-covered roads are making travel treacherous. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Cars are covered by snow in general parking lot at O'Hare International Airport on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Chicago. A slow-moving winter storm blanketed a large swath of the Plains and Midwest in snow Sunday, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,500 flights, making roads treacherous and forcing some people to rethink their plans to attend Super Bowl parties. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
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System #2: Monday - Wednesday

Through Monday, the next system will move into the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.

As it continues to move east through the northern Plains the system will strengthen and an area of low pressure will develop. Many areas will see a mix of rain and snow as there is a lack of deep cold air in the northern Plains.

This system will then move into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region by midweek.

(MORE: More Cold Air For the East)

Moisture will stream northward and where it meets cold air, with temperatures near to below freezing, snow may develop.

Early in the week, accumulating snow will coat the higher elevations of the northern Rockies, including the Cascades, Bitterroots, and the Tetons, a welcome sight for the snow-starved Northwest. Accumulating snow is also likely Tuesday through Thursday in North Dakota, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.

The cold front associated with this area of low pressure will stretch through the mid-Mississippi Valley and into the southern Plains. Showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop along the cold front as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is drawn northward and a few thunderstorms will likely be strong to severe, especially in portions of the Plains and Midwest Monday through Wednesday.

(MORE: Severe Weather Forecast)

Below you will find our current forecast.

Wintry Timing

Monday: Rain and mountain snow will spread across the Pacific Northwest and into parts of the Rockies.

(FORECAST: Spokane, Washington | Glacier National Park)

Tuesday: A mix of rain and snow will move into the northern Plains. Rain will change to snow in North Dakota and parts of Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin Tuesday night. Some patchy sleet or freezing rain is possible in parts of Minnesota and Iowa Tuesday.

(FORECAST: Minot, North Dakota | International Falls, Minnesota)

Wednesday: Snow will continue from parts of North Dakota into northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.

(FORECAST: Duluth, Minnesota | Marquette, Michigan)

Thursday: Snow will eventually taper off in the northern Great Lakes. Rain may change to snow in parts of the eastern Great Lakes.

(FORECAST: Traverse City, Michigan | Cleveland)

At this time, it appears the highest snowfall totals will occur over parts of northern Michigan, where over 6 inches of snow may accumulate Tuesday night through Thursday. Some totals near 6 inches are also possible near the Canadian border in North Dakota. Most other Midwest areas are expected to see less than 6 inches of total snowfall.

Parts of the Cascades and northern Rockies should pick up around a foot of new snow.

There may be changes to the track of the system that would affect forecast snowfall amounts, so check back with weather.com and The Weather Channel for the latest on the possible next winter storm.

(MAPS: Weekly Planner)

Upper Midwest Snowfall Deficit

Many of the locations that may see accumulating snow next week have been experiencing a snow drought so far this winter.

A snowfall deficit has been seen in many places in the northern Plains this winter while parts of the Northeast have been buried in snow. This is due to the persistent pattern of the jet stream this winter which kept the West dry and warmer than average while the East saw colder and snowier conditions.

(MORE: America's Best and Worst Winter Cities)

Snow does still fall in the spring in the northern Plains so the season is not over yet but through March 22 here are a few locations that are well below average for snowfall:

Fargo, North Dakota: 29.5 inches below average
Duluth, Minnesota: 30.1 inches below average
Grand Forks, North Dakota: 26.8 inches below average
Minneapolis, Minnesota: 19.7 inches below average
Green Bay, Wisconsin: 16.8 inches below average

One of the side effects of the lack of snow is that parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest and now experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. Minneapolis had not received more than a trace of rain or snow from March 3 through March 21, until receiving 3.1 inches of snow on March 22.

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