Winter storm Polly will bring snow and ice to the Plains and Midwest through this weekend

By Jonathan Belles and Linda Lamj for Weather.com

  • Winter Storm Polly will follow quickly on the heels of Winter Storm Oliver.
  • Snow and ice are then likely in parts of the Midwest and Plains this weekend.
  • Parts of the Upper Midwest will see significant snowfall.

Winter Storm Polly will track through the central Plains and Midwest this weekend with another dose of heavy snow and a bit more ice.

(MORE: Winter Storm Central | The Science Behind Naming Winter Storms )

This latest round of wintry weather comes on the heels of Winter Storm Oliver, which helped carve out a deep dip in the jet stream over the West last weekend. The low-pressure system associated with this next burst of snow is now tracking from the Southwest into the Plains.

Instead of swinging eastward like many troughs do this time of year, the trough of low pressure is lodged in place from the Southwest to the northern Plains due to a building and stagnant dome of high pressure located over the Southeast.

RELATED: Early 2018 winter weather across the US

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Early 2018 winter weather across the US
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Early 2018 winter weather across the US
CHICAGO, USA - JANUARY 20: A view of the frozen trees and ornamentals at Whihala Beach Park with the impact of surges and extremely cold weather in Chicago, Illionis, United States on January 20, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ILLIONIS, USA - JANUARY 12: Huge waves crash onto the sidewalk of the Lake Michigan as strong winds drive huge waves reaching about 6 meters high along the Chicago shoreline after the heavy snowfall and strong winds hit Indiana, in Chicago, United States on January 12, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 9: The U.S. Capitol dome is seen surrounded by fog Tuesday morning, Jan. 9, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 23: Storm clouds pass over the dome of the U.S. Capitol building on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW YORK, USA - JANUARY 09: Crowd of people skate on the ice rink during cold weather following snow days at the Central Park in New York City, United States on January 09, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - JANUARY 09: City staff members shovel snow during cold weather following snow days at the Central Park in New York City, United States on January 09, 2018. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 08: A visitor from Vietnam makes his way across the frozen Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on January 8, 2018. A member of the National Park Service subsequently told people to leave the ice and said that 12 people had recently fallen through. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
CHICAGO, USA - JANUARY 6: A view of the coast of Michigan lake frozen due to the extremely cold weather reaching minus 20 in the nights hits Chicago, Illionis, United States on January 6, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, USA - JANUARY 6: A view of the coast of Michigan lake frozen due to the extremely cold weather reaching minus 20 in the nights hits Chicago, Illionis, United States on January 6, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, USA - JANUARY 6: A view of ice floating over the frozen Chicago river as extremely cold weather reaching minus 20 in the nights hits Chicago, Illionis, United States on January 6, 2018. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 06: A man walks around Central Park during freezing temperatures on January 06, 2018 in New York City. The extreme conditions suffered across the United States are a result of the 'bomb cyclone' brought along by Storm Grayson. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
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(MORE: Winter Storm Polly Leads to Multiple Pileups in Reno Area; Interstate Closed in Arizona)

Storm systems from the west are having to go northward and over that dome of high pressure, and Polly will do much of the same. By this weekend, the system will transit the Plains into the Midwest and potentially into New England.

Happening Now

Snow is flying across parts of Kansas into Nebraska, the Dakotas, Iowa and southwestern Minnesota. Freezing rain is also occurring in parts of Iowa and northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. 

Snowfall will increase and become more widespread across parts of the central and northern Plains into the Upper Midwest later today.

Winter storm warnings are in effect in parts of the eastern and southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities, as well as in northern Wisconsin into northwestern Michigan. A significant amount of snow is expected this weekend in this region, and travel will be dangerous. 

Winter weather advisories are in effect for portions of the central and northern Plains and the Upper Midwest. Driving in these areas could be hazardous due to reduced visibilities and blowing snow.

Here's what we know about this system, beginning with the timing followed by snowfall amounts.

Timing Out Winter Storm Polly

Saturday

  • The low-pressure system will cross from the central Plains into the Midwest.
  • Snow will fall on the northern side of this system from western Kansas into Minnesota and western Wisconsin. 
  • A stripe of ice or sleet is possible from northern Kansas and northern Missouri into Iowa and northwestern Illinois. 
  • Saturday night, snow, or a rain/snow mix, is expected across much of the upper Midwest into the northern Great Lakes. Some wintry precipitation is also possible in portions of northern New York into Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

(MORE: Why Freezing Rain Really is the Worst)

Sunday

  • This wintry system will begin to push out of the United States and into Canada during the day.
  • Snow will continue from parts of the northern Great Lakes into southern Canada and northern New England. 
  • Some ice or sleet will delineate the warmer air from the colder air from portions of upstate New York into northern and central New England.
  • Snow showers may persist in northern Maine through Sunday night.

(MORE: After Flooding Rain, Severe Weather is in Play From Texas to Tennessee and Southern Illinois)

Snowfall Forecast

  • A few additional inches of snow will be in the central Rockies, where snowfall totals of more than a foot are expected through Saturday in the highest elevations.
  • In the Midwest, areas from eastern Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan will receive 5 to 10 inches of snow. A few localized spots may see more than 10 inches. 
  • Lighter snowfall is anticipated from Nebraska into Iowa and western Minnesota.

Snowfall Recap

Below are top snowfall totals by state as of early Saturday:

  • Arizona: 8.1 inches near Flagstaff; 6 inches at the South Rim Visitors Center; 4 inches near the Grand Canyon
  • California: 14 inches at Mammoth Mountain and Homewood; 10.5 inches in Kirkwood; 10 inches in South Lake Tahoe; 6 inches in Kingvale
  • Colorado: 6.8 inches near Lyons; 5 inches at the Irwin Ski Lodge; 1.6 inches in Grand Junction
  • Nevada: 10 inches in Nixon; 9 inches near Sutcliffe; 7.0 inches in Stead; 6.8 inches in Cold Springs Valley
  • Oregon: 7.2 inches in Merlin; 7.0 inches in Gold Hill; 3.5 inches near Medford; 1.8 inches in Portland
  • Utah: 14.0 inches in the Snowbasin; 6.5 inches in West Haven; 5 inches in Salt Lake City
  • Washington: 6.1 inches near Bonney Lake; 2.5 inches in Tacoma; 1 inch in Seattle;

The higher elevations of northern Arizona experienced visibility reduced by heavy snow at times Friday afternoon. Parts of the Flagstaff metro saw as much as 8 inches of snow so far. Four inches of snow fell in two hours early Friday afternoon. 

Snow flurries have been seen even in the higher elevations around Las Vegas.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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