Storm to unleash severe weather, disruptive snow over central US late this week

A multi-faceted storm will slam the central United States late this week with possible blizzard conditions to the north and severe thunderstorms to the south.

The same system will also be responsible for a surge of heat and wind over the Southwest and south-central U.S. that will elevate the risk of wildfires.

Severe storms may threaten 1,000-mile-long swath of central US

Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will be pulled northward across the nation’s midsection ahead of the storm.

Along the line dividing the warmth with an advancing push of cooler air, thunderstorms will erupt late Friday.

“The best potential for severe weather Friday will be eastern portions of the southern Plains through western portions of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley,” said AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Kayla St. Germain.

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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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Depending on the exact track and timing of the storm, severe weather may be possible as far north as Iowa and southern Minnesota.

St. Germain expects damaging winds and large hail to be the primary threats from these storms. However, she cannot rule out a few tornadoes.

Downpours from the storms may overwhelm storm drains and lead to street flooding, while frequent lightning will endanger anyone caught outdoors.

During Saturday, the risk for severe weather is expected to shift eastward and threaten outdoor plans from a portion of the Ohio Valley to the Gulf Coast.

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Warm winds to spark extreme fire danger in southwestern, south-central US this week

Snow, wind may trigger localized blizzard conditions in northern Plains

A rebound in temperatures ahead of the storm should not have residents of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest putting away the snow boots and shovels just yet.

Following a swath of snow that will sweep across the upper Great Lakes Wednesday into Thursday, the next storm could bring a late-season blizzard to the northern Plains, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

Plummeting temperatures will lay the groundwork for a swath of snow to set up on the storm’s northwestern flank.

“It will look more like February than April in the northern Plains,” said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.

Enough snow to shovel and plow may fall from the Dakotas and Nebraska through a portion of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan from Friday into the weekend. Snowfall may top a foot in part of this swath.

In some areas, rain or a wintry mix will precede the snow.

There is the potential for a prolonged period of sleet and/or freezing rain across the upper Great Lakes and into southeastern Canada with the storm.

People with plans to travel along interstates 29, 35, 90 and 94 during the late week and weekend should anticipate delays, reduced visibility from blowing snow, slick and snow-covered roads and possible closures.

Flight delays and cancellations are likely to mount across the region, including at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport.

Residents of and travelers through the areas at risk for snow and severe weather should continue to check back with AccuWeather for updates over the coming days.

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