Snowstorm, gusty winds to snarl travel over central US beginning this weekend
A storm will track and strengthen over the north-central United States and produce a swath of heavy snow and gusty winds on its northwestern flank.
Not everyone over the Plains and Midwest will be in store for an extended break from cold air. While temperatures are forecast to rebound into the start of this weekend, from the central Rockies to the Upper Midwest, just enough cold air will come back as a storm rolls along.
The storm will produce snow along a 1,500-mile-long swath from the Intermountain West during Saturday to the upper Great Lakes on Sunday night and Monday.
People venturing along portions of Interstates 25, 29, 70, 80 and 90 may run the risk of getting stuck or encountering dangerous conditions.
Airline delays due to deicing activity and flight cancellations are likely with some aircraft connecting in Denver, Minneapolis and the secondary airports in the region.
Portions of the central High Plains and the Upper Midwest have the potential to receive a foot of snow with a swath of 3-6 inches of snow likely.
SEE: Winter weather predictions:
Enough snow to shovel and plow is forecast for Denver; Valentine, Nebraska; Huron, South Dakota; Sioux City, Iowa; Mankato, Minnesota; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
Even where only light snow falls, increasing winds will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow. Local blizzard conditions may develop, especially from parts of Nebraska to portions of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.
A narrow swath of ice or a wintry mix is in store near the track of the center of the storm from part of central Kansas to southeastern Nebraska, northwestern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, central Wisconsin and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Enough ice may fall in this area to glaze roads and elevated surfaces.
Meanwhile, farther south and east, enough warm air may be present to allow not only rain, but also the potential for locally heavy, gusty thunderstorms over parts of the southern Plains and the lower Mississippi Valley.
Thunderstorms may erupt as far to the west as Kansas and Oklahoma and as far to the north as southeastern Iowa and southern Wisconsin.
Even in lieu of thunderstorms, the combination of rain and gusty winds in the storm's warm sector may be enough to cause flight delays from Chicago and Detroit to Dallas and Houston.
In the wake of the storm, colder air will spill southward and eastward. However, at this time, the air does not appear to be as extreme as that already experienced Thursday morning.