Major snowstorm to evolve into blizzard, halt travel in north-central US

A major storm will bring heavy late-season snow and blizzard conditions from portions of the northern and central Plains to the Upper Midwest from Friday to Sunday night.

While some of the snow will melt at times on area roads, the heavy rate of snow and gusty winds will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow and difficult, if not impossible, travel conditions for an extended period of time this weekend.

The worst travel conditions are likely to be centered on, but not limited to, the Interstate 35 and 90 corridors.

Airline passengers should anticipate major flight delays and a high number of flight cancellations centered on the major hub of Minneapolis.

The area likely to receive between 6 and 12 inches of snow is forecast to extend from eastern Montana to northeastern Wyoming, much of South Dakota, southern North Dakota, northern Nebraska, much of southern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

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Blizzard conditions are projected from much of Nebraska, South Dakota and southern North Dakota to central and southern Minnesota to northern Wisconsin.

The storm has the potential to bring 1 to 2 feet of snow to part of the same area that is likely to experience blizzard conditions.

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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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Other major cities in the region likely to be adversely affected by the snowstorm include Sioux City, Iowa; Valentine, Nebraska; Rapid City, Huron and Pierre, South Dakota; Miles City, Montana; Ortonville, Minnesota; and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

"The strong wind aspect of the storm, in lieu of snow, can lead to power outages and property damage over a broad area of the Plains," according to AccuWeather Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist Rich Putnam.

Operators of high-profile vehicles should be prepared for difficult cross winds along portions of I-25, I-29, I-35, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-94.

Significant turbulence is likely and may lead to issues during landing and takeoff well away from the center of the blizzard and may impact the hubs of Denver, St. Louis and Chicago.

The same storm will parent a multiple-day severe weather outbreak south and east of the snow area from Friday to Sunday.

In addition to heavy snow, blizzard conditions and severe thunderstorms, a significant buildup of ice may occur in part of Ontario, northern New York state and northern New England.

"At this time, the zone from Toronto to London and Windsor, Ontario, may have substantial ice storm," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson. "There is a risk of trees coming down and power outages in this part of southern Ontario with sleet farther north."

Strong winds will lead to areas of blowing dust and an elevated fire risk to end this week over the Southwest.

During early next week, the storm will pivot northeastward toward Hudson Bay, Canada, and colder air will be funneled across the balance of the Midwest and into the northeastern United States.

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