Winter storm to create messy travel along 1,200-mile swath of central US

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By: By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

A storm will create dangerous travel conditions across a 1,200-mile swath of the central United States into the weekend.

Blizzard conditions could develop in major hubs such as Denver and Chicago.

People from the Rockies to the northern Plains and Upper Midwest are bracing for a new round of snow and travel disruptions on the highways and at airports.

"Motorists and airline passengers may want to explore an alternate or more southern route as confidence is high that there will be widespread, major travel disruptions with this storm," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

Mostly snow will fall from central and northern Colorado to northern Nebraska, South Dakota, northern Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and central Michigan. Motorists venturing along Interstate 90 should be prepared for snow covering roads, as well as blowing and drifting snow.

Take a look back at Winter Storm Jonas:

18 PHOTOS
#Blizzard2016 aka Winter Storm Jonas slams the east coast
See Gallery
#Blizzard2016 aka Winter Storm Jonas slams the east coast

A massive winter storm system pummeled the eastern United States in late January 2016, with two low-pressure systems merging into a potent nor’easter that dropped heavy snow from Virginia to New England. By late afternoon on Jan. 23, snowfall totals were approaching records in several states, and hurricane-force winds were battering the coastlines and leading to serious flooding. The storm was expected to continue through the morning of Jan. 24.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of the storm system at 2:15 a.m. EST on Jan. 23. It was composed through the use of the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects faint light signals such as city lights, moonlight, airglow, and auroras. In the image, the clouds are lit from above by the nearly full Moon and from below by the lights of the heavily populated East Coast. The city lights are blurred in places by cloud cover.

(Photo via NASA)

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: A woman walks in strong winds and heavy snow fall in Central Park on January 23, 2016 in New York City. A major Nor'easter is hitting much of the East Coast and parts of the South as forecasts warn of up to two feet of snow in some areas. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A man use a skiing on a snow covered street in Manhattan in New York on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A pedestrian walks in the center of a snow-covered residential street in Washington, DC on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

January 22, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): Massive #snowstorm blanketing #EastCoast clearly visible from @Space_Station! Stay safe! #blizzard2016 #YearInSpace

TOPSHOT - A man lays in a pile of snow in Times Square on January 23, 2016 in New York. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 23: Waves crash on the beach on January 23, 2016 in Cape May, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Nuns from the Fraternite Notre-Dame in Chicago, Illinois are covered in newly fallen snow as they walk along Constitution Avenue while snow begins to accumulate January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A major snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive up to 1-2 feet of snow. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Snow covers cars parked in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A man pushing a snow plough during a snowstorm January 22, 2016 in New York. / AFP / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks on snow covered Thomas Circle in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: A snowplow cleans up snow on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A winter snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with prediction of up to 30 inches of snow for the DC area. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - The White House is seen during a snowstorm in Washington January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People cross 15ht Street during a snowstorm in Washington January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Homeless covers from the snow in Central park on January 23, 2016 in New York. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past a restaurant during a snowstorm January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 22: Vehicles move along Interstate 40 as an overhead sign indicates 'Winter Weather Warning In Effect' during a winter storm on January 22, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A major snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with some areas getting a possible one to two feet of snow. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
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The storm also has the potential to spread accumulating snow to parts of the central Plains and the middle Mississippi Valley.

A wintry mix is in store from northern Kansas and southern Nebraska to southern Iowa, northern Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and southern Michigan. These areas along the I-70 and I-80 corridors are to face a combination of snow, sleet and freezing rain. This includes the cities of Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago; Detroit; Indianapolis and Cleveland.

"Parts of the central Plains could be like a skating rink for a time on Friday, due to the icy mix," Anderson said.

In areas from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley, the bulk of the storm will occur as rain. However, the beginning and end of the storm will bring wintry precipitation.

"People should expect treacherous driving conditions for the Friday evening commute around Chicago as snow moves in and becomes heavy," Anderson said. "Heavier snow will reach the Detroit area later Friday night, before changing to an icy mix on Saturday."

Around St. Louis, the worst of the storm is likely to be the tail end, when rain will change to snow and a freeze can occur on Saturday.

The plunging temperatures can cause wet surfaces and slush to freeze rapidly from west to east across the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes region during late Saturday night and Sunday.

"The snow, ice and gusty winds anticipated this weekend will likely lead to airline delays and potential cancellations in the major hubs from Denver to Chicago and Detroit," Anderson said.

The plunge of cold air will be rapid and significant as the storm rolls eastward.

"For example, around Denver, the temperature will plummet from the 50s F Friday to below zero by Saturday morning," Anderson said. "The rapid freeze with high winds and heavy snow will create blizzard conditions with major delays likely at Denver International Airport."

During Saturday night, blizzard conditions could also develop around Chicago.

Farther east, the storm will also bring a wintry and icy mix with slippery travel from as far south as the Carolinas to as far north as Maine during the weekend. The storm will bring the first accumulating snow to Washington, D.C. and enough snow to shovel and plow from Philadelphia to New York City and Boston.

Related: Also look back at fall around the world:

15 PHOTOS
2016 fall foliage around the world
See Gallery
2016 fall foliage around the world
Visitors view the autumn foliage and colours in the gardens and estate at Stourhead in south west Britain, October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A leaf floats on water in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on November 10, 2016. / AFP / dpa / Federico Gambarini / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read FEDERICO GAMBARINI/AFP/Getty Images)
A view of midtown New York City and the fall foliage in Central Park on November 3, 2016. New York City has been experiencing very warms temperatures for this time of year reaching into the 70's (20s Celcius). / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Foliage of wine glows in automnal colours in the sun on a vineyard over the river Neckar in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on November 7, 2016. / AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE (Photo credit should read THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP/Getty Images)
A maple tree with yellow leafs is pictured on October 30, 2016 in Sieversdorf, northern Germany. / AFP / dpa / Patrick Pleul / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read PATRICK PLEUL/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: People ride bikes along the National Mall past colorful fall leaves October 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. The fall foliage in the Washington area will soon be at full peak. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
YARMOUTH, MAINE, UNITED STATES - 2016/10/20: Ancient autumn cemetery. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
DAYTON, ME - OCTOBER 20: A pick up truck drives along Murch Rd. in Dayton, amidst peak fall color and early morning fog in the background. (Photo by Carl D. Walsh)Staff Photographer)
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA - 2016/10/18: Red and green foliage in tree. Beautiful Autumn or Fall season colours in a Toronto urban park. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 19: Fall foliage is seen outside of the German federal Chancellery on October 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is expecting rainy weather for the coming days as the temperature drops. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 19: Fall foliage is seen outside of the Reichstag, seat of the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, on October 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is expecting rainy weather for the coming days as the temperature drops. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
WAITSFIELD, VERMONT, UNITED STATES - 2016/10/16: Mad River Glen Ski Resort in autumn. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
REMSEN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/10/12: Autumn foliage at West Canada Creek. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - OCTOBER 7: Sailboats are surrounded by a maple tree at peak foliage on the Eastern Prom. (Photo by Jill Brady/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
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