Winter weather to make holiday travel treacherous in northern US

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Heavy snow, freezing rain and wind gusts will make holiday travel treacherous in swaths of the northern United States.

A storm is expected to bring rain and then snow to the Pacific Northwest as temperatures hover around freezing on Friday night.

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The same system will also dump heavy snow in the Rockies and High Plains late into Saturday, the National Weather Service said in its forecast.

Snow and freezing rain are also in the forecast for much of the Midwest and Northeast late on Friday and through Saturday as temperatures are to dip around freezing, the weather service said.

Look back on last year's Winter Storm Jonas:

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#Blizzard2016 aka Winter Storm Jonas slams the east coast
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#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 deteriorating weather may derail travel plans for some of the 94 million Americans who the American Automobile Association say will hit the roads during the holidays.

"Christmas, for travelers, is going to be a little dicey in some portions of the country," meteorologist Justin Povick said during his forecast on Accuweather.com.

Accuweather warns that blizzard conditions in the northern Plains over the weekend could cause treacherous white-outs along major interstate highways, power outages and airline delays.

"People from the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley to the central Plains will need to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions," Meteorologist Brett Rossio said on AccuWeather.com.

Signs of how bad weather may cause disruptions for holiday travelers were seen as early as Thursday morning as nearly 250 flights were delayed or canceled in and out Los Angeles International Airport due to high winds and high volume.

A blizzard watch is in effect for the area around Bismarck, North Dakota, where as much as a foot (30 cm) of snow fall and heavy winds will lead to "dangerous Christmas travel conditions", the National Weather Service said.

To the east, in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, motorists are told to "exercise caution" as snow and freezing drizzle are expected to limit visibility and make roads slick, the National Weather Service said.

Tornadoes, thunderstorms and hail are also in the forecast in the southern U.S. Plains, Accuweather said.

As their neighbors to the north deal with winter weather, people in southern Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee will enjoy unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day as temperatures are likely to soar into the 60s, according to the National Weather Service.

Related: Also learn more about the magical International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival:

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International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
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International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
Workers smile under an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 19, 2016. Picture taken December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An artist polishes an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 19, 2016. Picture taken December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Artists and workers prepare ice and snow sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 16, 2016. December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Artists and workers prepare an ice sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 16, 2016. Picture taken December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
A snow sculpture is seen for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Workers transport heads of models as they prepare to sell hats at the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
A snow sculpture is seen for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Artists prepare a snow sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Artists and workers prepare ice and snow sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 16, 2016. Picture taken December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Artists and workers prepare snow sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 15, 2016. Picture taken December 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Workers pull a giant ice cube out of the frozen Songhua River as they extract ice to make sculptures for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
Workers carving ice sculpture at Ice and Snow World park in Harbin city of China on December 20 2016.China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang will hold an "Ice and Snow Day" to warm up its winter tourism industry and sluggish economy in January 04 2017. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Workers carving ice sculpture at Ice and Snow World park in Harbin city of China on December 20 2016.China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang will hold an "Ice and Snow Day" to warm up its winter tourism industry and sluggish economy in January 04 2017. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Harbin residents building ice sculpture at ice and snow world in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Dec 16. As winter comes, more people come to tour Harbin to see ice and snow. Workers collect ice from the Songhua River and then transport ice and snow to tourist spots such as Harbin Ice and Snow World Park. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Harbin residents building ice sculpture at ice and snow world in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Dec 16. As winter comes, more people come to tour Harbin to see ice and snow. Workers collect ice from the Songhua River and then transport ice and snow to tourist spots such as Harbin Ice and Snow World Park. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Workers carving ice sculpture at Ice and Snow World park in Harbin city of China on December 20 2016.China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang will hold an "Ice and Snow Day" to warm up its winter tourism industry and sluggish economy in January 04 2017. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Harbin residents building ice sculpture at ice and snow world in Harbin, Heilongjiang province on Dec 16. As winter comes, more people come to tour Harbin to see ice and snow. Workers collect ice from the Songhua River and then transport ice and snow to tourist spots such as Harbin Ice and Snow World Park. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man lying at the front of ice sculpture at Ice and Snow World park in Harbin city of China on December 20 2016.China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang will hold an "Ice and Snow Day" to warm up its winter tourism industry and sluggish economy in January 04 2017. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Workers carving ice sculpture at Ice and Snow World park in Harbin city of China on December 20 2016.China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang will hold an "Ice and Snow Day" to warm up its winter tourism industry and sluggish economy in January 04 2017. (Photo by Tao Zhang/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Artists and workers prepare a snow sculpture for the upcoming Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, December 17, 2016. Picture taken December 17, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song
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