Winter Storm Bella to bring first snow of season to parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee

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Winter Storm Bella Named


By weather.com

Winter Storm Bella has been named by the winter storm naming committee at The Weather Channel. Bella is the second named winter storm of the 2015-2016 season, following behind Winter Storm Ajax earlier this week.

(MORE: Science Behind Naming Winter Storms)

Bella could bring the first accumulating snow of the season for some in the Upper Midwest, Corn Belt, and Great Lakes. A swath from northeast Nebraska and southeast South Dakota into much of Iowa and northwest Illinois, is covered by winter storm warnings, as issued by local National Weather Service offices. In the much of the Upper Midwest, this means a likelihood for at least 6 inches of snow in 12 hours, or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours. The warning includes the Quad Cities vicinity and Des Moines.

See photos of the recent weather across the US:

33 PHOTOS
Recent weather across the U.S., November
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Winter Storm Bella to bring first snow of season to parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee
In this Nov. 20, 2015 photo, Shelly Aase embraces her dog Mattie Jo as they view damage in north Spokane, Wash., after storms left many without power. Aase is wearing a head lamp to see inside her house. (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
In this Nov. 21, 2015 photo, Jake Hines, left, and Ross Rukke, of Capstone Construction, work to remove a fallen tree in Spokane, Wash., after deadly storms swept through the state leaving many without power. (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
In this Nov. 20, 2015 photo, crews clear downed trees tangled in power and utility lines in Spokane, Wash., after deadly storms swept through the state leaving many without power. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review, via AP)
A group of men paddle a canoe across a flooded roadway along the Snoqualmie River near the peak of the river's height there, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Carnation, Wash. Cleanup crews took to the streets Wednesday in Washington state after a powerful storm killed three people, cut power to more than 350,000 residents and flooded rivers. The winds on Tuesday exceeded 100 mph in some areas of the Inland Northwest, where fallen trees were blamed for the deaths. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A man tosses a piece of soaked carpet onto a pile while helping to clean-up a small apartment building flooded the night before, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Sultan, Wash. Cleanup crews took to the streets Wednesday in Washington state after a powerful storm killed three people, cut power to more than 350,000 residents and flooded rivers. The winds on Tuesday exceeded 100 mph in some areas of the Inland Northwest, where fallen trees were blamed for the deaths. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A rainbow appears near the Snoqualmie River, made from mist thrown up by the adjacent falls, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Snoqualmie, Wash. Cleanup crews took to the streets Wednesday in Washington state after a powerful storm killed three people, cut power to more than 350,000 residents and flooded rivers. The winds on Tuesday exceeded 100 mph in some areas of the Inland Northwest, where fallen trees were blamed for the deaths. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Siri Erickson-Brown uses a "farm boat," an old Sears canoe with a shovel for a paddle, to float across the flooded Snoqualmie River and to her home about a half-mile away, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Carnation, Wash. Cleanup crews took to the streets Wednesday in Washington state after a powerful storm killed three people, cut power to more than 350,000 residents and flooded rivers. The winds on Tuesday exceeded 100 mph in some areas of the Inland Northwest, where fallen trees were blamed for the deaths. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A downed tree that fell on power lines is shown blocking the NW Seabeck Highway near Bremerton, Wash.,Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015. Rain, high winds, and power outages were expected throughout the Puget Sound area into the night Tuesday due to a Pacific storm system. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Debris from the beach below is tossed up and over a seawall by wind-blown waves and toward traffic Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle. Rain and high winds snarled the morning commute in the Puget Sound area and the Inland Northwest braced for severe weather that could include wind gusts to 70 mph. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A large tree lies across a street after being blown over by high winds near downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. The winds followed a front that moved through California during the weekend, dropping rain and snow while lowering temperatures. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
An American flag flies half-staff in a strong wind at Los Angeles City Hall on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. The winds followed a front that moved through California during the weekend, dropping rain and snow while lowering temperatures. Flags fly at half-staff in Los Angeles in honor of victims of terrorist attacks in Paris. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Palm fronds line the banks of Echo Park Lake after severe winds near downtown Los Angeles on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. A cold front that whipped up a damaging tornado in a central California town moved south Monday, buffeting the Los Angeles area with gusts topping 60 mph. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
A man climbs Bernal Heights Hill on a cloudy day in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. A storm system moving across California is bringing cool, wet weather to the low lands and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
A man carries an umbrella as he walks across a street in San Francisco, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. A storm system moving across California is bringing cool, wet weather to the low lands and snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Storm clouds gather over Port of Oakland cranes as viewed from Berkeley, Calif., Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. A storm crossed the region Monday morning, bringing rain, thunder and lightning to the drought-parched region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
SANTA ANA, CA., NOVEMBER 9, 2015: Sarad Lopez (cq) holds an umbrella while her mother shops on Fourth Steet in Santa Ana during a light rain November 9, 2015 (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA., NOVEMBER 9, 2015: Keisha Flores holds her umbrella while she shops on Fourth Steet in Santa Ana during a light rain November 9, 2015 (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Emergency workers transport an injured woman following a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. A storm crossed the region Monday morning bringing rain, thunder and lightning to the drought-parched region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: A plane flys above the Tidal Basin on a warm evening November 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Unseasonably warm weather in the Eastern U.S. has made the first few days of November feel more like late Summer. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Leaves change color on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, November 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: A woman rides a bicycle around the Tidal Basin on a warm evening November 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Unseasonably warm weather in the Eastern U.S. has made the first few days of November feel more like late Summer. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
People walk along Times Square in New York on November 6, 2015. New York recorded its hottest November 6 in nearly 70 years, as skaters splashed through puddles on a much-loved ice rink and commuters strolled around in T-shirts. AFP PHOTO/ JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman has an ice-cream on a cone as she walks along a street in New York on November 6, 2015. New York recorded its hottest November 6 in nearly 70 years, as skaters splashed through puddles on a much-loved ice rink and commuters strolled around in T-shirts. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: A helicopter flies above the Tidal Basin on a warm evening November 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. Unseasonably warm weather in the Eastern U.S. has made the first few days of November feel more like late Summer. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
JACKSON, MS - NOVEMBER 07: Volunteers exit the course after play was called due to inclement weather during a continuation of the second round of the Sanderson Farms Championship at The Country Club of Jackson on November 7, 2015 in Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Fallen autumn leaves on the road on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Mundelein, Ill. As the cold front that triggered showers and thunderstorms overnight moves off to the east, colder air will ride gusting west winds into the Chicago area Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2015: Snow making in full force after a fall Sierra Nevada storm dropped nearly a foot of snow at Mammoth Mountain and less in town in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2015.(Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2015: A bike rose rides through snow in town after a fall Sierra Nevada storm dropped nearly a foot of snow at Mammoth Mountain and less in town in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2015.(Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
MAMMOTH LAKES, CALIF. -- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2015: A fall Sierra Nevada storm dropped nearly a foot of snow at Mammoth Mountain and snowmaking is piling on in anticipation of a November 5 opening day in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2015.(Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 30: Residents of the Onion Creek neighborhood were evacuated in the morning October 30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. After Hurricane Patricia's passing last week, the region was hit with more torrential rain and possible tornadoes. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 30: Residents of the Onion Creek neighborhood were evacuated in the morning October 30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. After Hurricane Patricia's passing last week, the region was hit with more torrential rain and possible tornadoes. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 30: Residents of the Onion Creek neighborhood were evacuated in the morning October 30, 2015 in Austin, Texas. After Hurricane Patricia's passing last week, the region was hit with more torrential rain and possible tornadoes. (Photo by Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images)
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Winter storm watches and less significant winter weather advisories are in effect for a broad area from eastern Wyoming to southern Wisconsin and northeast Illinois, including Chicago. Some of the watches could be upgraded to warnings as the storm approaches.

winter storm bella

The low-pressure system from Ajax has merged with a powerful jet-stream disturbance responsible for a major Northwest/northern Rockies windstorm to usher in more typically cold mid-late November air into the northern half of the nation.

(FORECAST: Cold Returning)

With the cold air in place, another jet-stream level disturbance will intensify as it sweeps eastward over the boundary of this cold air from the northern Rockies to the Great Lakes and eastern Canada Friday into the weekend.

Moisture will be markedly more limited with this system than with Winter Storm Ajax, as well as the severe weatherand flooding rain that plagued the Plains and South.

However, the strength of the jet-stream disturbance, forcing a wave of low pressure along the frontal boundary, then strengthening it over the Great Lakes, will still squeeze out a swath of snow Friday into the weekend from the Plains to the Great Lakes and northern New England.

Winter Storm Bella Snow Forecast

winter storm bella

The relative lack of moisture and quick-moving nature of Winter Storm Bella should mitigate this from becoming a crippling, heavy snowstorm for many.

However, a swath of moderate to locally heavy snow is still expected from northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota to Michigan. Where smaller-scale, more intense snowbands temporarily set up, we can't rule out some 1 inch per hour snowfall rates for a time.

These are the areas where at least 6 inches of snow is most likely through Saturday.

Even this close in time, the exact placement of the heaviest snow may shift a bit north or south, depending on the exact track of the surface low.

Warm ground from what had been an exceptionally warm first half of November may take a small cut from total accumulations of snow, particularly on pavement. Also, while winds off Lake Michigan will contribute low-level moisture to the storm, relatively warm lake temperatures may also mitigate snowfall totals a bit near the lakeshore.

Surface low pressure is expected to strengthen once it reaches the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes, thanks to the intensifying jet stream disturbance.

The pressure gradient between this developing low and high pressure building in the Rockies and High Plains will produce increasing winds in the snow area Saturday, leading to some reduced visibilities in blowing snow.

Once the surface low wraps up in eastern Canada, some bands of lake-effect snow are possible off Lakes Ontario and Erie, and wrap-around snow may blanket the Allegheny Plateau, Appalachians, Adirondacks and high country of northern New England.

Given this first snow of the season in some of these areas may be locally heavy, slow down, leave extra time if you must travel, or consider postponing your trip.

Flight delays are probable Saturday, possibly even late Friday night, out of Chicago-O'Hare Airport, and are possible out of smaller regional airports, as well. Check your flight status before leaving for the airport.

Winter Storm Bella Snow Timing
Winter Storm Bella

Light snow will spread out of the northern Rockies and northern High Plains into the Missouri Valley during the day, then into the Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes (southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois) Friday night.

Season's first accumulating snow cities:

Friday: Omaha, Des Moines
Friday night: Chicago, Milwaukee

Saturday
winter storm bella

Snow continues in northern Illinois and southern to eastern Wisconsin, later spreading into much of Lower Michigan and northern Indiana.

Snow will end by afternoon in Iowa and northern Missouri.

Any rain may change to snow in northern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York Saturday night.

Increasing winds Saturday night may produce areas of reduced visibility in Michigan, and all the Great Lake snowbelts with the exception of the Lake Ontario snowbelt.

Season's first accumulating snow cities:

Saturday: Chicago, Grand Rapids, South Bend, Detroit
Saturday night: Erie, Pennsylvania

Sunday
winter storm bella

Lake-effect snow will linger in the Great Lakes snowbelts, south of Buffalo, New York, and north of Syracuse toward Oswego, New York, and the Tug Hill Plateau.

A brief round of light snow is also possible in the mountains of northern New England before ending.

Gusty winds may persist around the eastern Great Lakes and New England.

A few flakes may even fly across the central Appalachians from West Virginia into interior Pennsylvania.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central)

Check back with us at weather.com and The Weather Channel for updates and the latest forecast of this latest winter weather event.

November Heavy Snow: It's Been Awhile For Some

Despite the Upper Midwest's snowy reputation, heavy snow in November outside the Great Lakes snowbelts isn't as common as you might think.

According to National Weather Service data, Chicago hasn't seen a November with 6 inches or more of snow since 1978, much less 6 inches of snow in one November storm.

Average November snow in the Windy City is only 1.4 inches, just under 4 percent of their average seasonal snow. Their average date of the season's first 1 inch-plus snow is December 7.

Similarly, Milwaukee hasn't seen a 6-inch-plus November snow total in 20 years. In terms of snowfall so early in the season, Milwaukee has only recorded four 2-day snowfall totals of greater than 6 inches before Nov. 22, dating back to the late 1800s.

Five of the past nine Novembers in the Brew City haven't even produced one-half inch of snow, total.

Across the lake, however, Grand Rapids, Michigan, has had a break so far this November, lacking measurable snow prior to this weekend system. November 2014 was their record snowiest November, with 31 inches of snow during the month.

Jonathan Erdman is a senior meteorologist at weather.com and has been an incurable weather geek since a tornado narrowly missed his childhood home in Wisconsin at age 7. Follow him on Twitter and Google Plus.

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Winter Storm Bella to bring first snow of season to parts of the Midwest, including Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee

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