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.

Static Central Snow Sat Sun 10 am

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: 

2017 winter weather predictions
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2017 winter weather predictions

This year's Farmer's Almanac predicts less precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest, but other areas might not be so lucky ...


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted La Nina will potentially emerge this winter season, bringing with it above-average precipitation and below-average cold temperatures.


But if La Nina does hit, it will impact each U.S. area in a different way ...

For example, the Rockies would likely be rocked with abundant snowfall, while the Midwest would be plagued with blasts of cold air.


Another more wonky model from Atmospheric and Environmental Research predicts that colder temperatures could hit the East Coast if there is a stratospheric polar vortex disruption.

Changes in the jet stream have a direct impact on weather patterns, and in the earliest days of December Americans could see a cold front and snow in the Plains and upper Great Lakes.

Averaging 44 inches of snow each winter, Boston is known to get slammed with tough weather. This year, NOAA predicts the historic city will see within 10 inches of that average.

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.

Static US Weekend

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.

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