Storm to blast central US with blizzard conditions Saturday night to Monday
A major storm will combine snow and increasing wind to create a swath of blizzard conditions from the High Plains Saturday night to part of the Mississippi Valley on Sunday and the Great Lakes region on Monday.
While millions of people who had few problems heading to their Thanksgiving destination earlier this week, the same cannot be said for those heading home this weekend over a large swath of the Rockies and central United States.
The storm that began to produce snow on Thanksgiving Day over portions of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada in the West is the one poised to bring cause wintry trouble.
The storm this weekend follows a weaker and milder storm with rain forecast for the Mississippi Valley on Black Friday.
As the new storm moves along, the swath of snow will extend along an approximate 2,000-mile-long swath to the Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest during the extended holiday weekend.
Following local blizzard conditions over the Rockies during Friday night to Saturday, similar difficult and dangerous travel is anticipated for motorists along the Interstate 80 and 70 corridors of the Plains on Saturday night.
Near-blizzard conditions may develop from near the Topeka, Kansas, and Omaha, Nebraska, areas to Des Moines, Iowa, Rockford, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin, during Sunday. These conditions may occur even though the storm may begin as rain or a rain and snow mix. Temperatures will dip as the storm unfolds. Expect conditions to deteriorate across the I-35 and I-80 corridors in the region.
A general 3-6 inches of snow is forecast for a large swath of the central Plains and Upper Midwest with a band of 6-12 inches accumulation within and locally higher amounts.
The same wintry conditions may unfold in Milwaukee and perhaps much of the Chicago area from Sunday night to Monday.
"The combination of extra moisture from Lake Michigan, colder air and strong winds may lead to whiteout conditions and a rapid accumulation of snow in Chicago during the second half of the storm," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis.
Airline passengers departing, connecting or arriving in Chicago from late Sunday to Monday should anticipate substantial delays and possible flight cancellations. For some people, an earlier flight through Chicago may be wise choice.
Those with flights in or out of Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are likely to have an increasing risk of delays or cancellations spanning Sunday night and Monday.
Download the free AccuWeather app to check the latest forecast for your departure and destination.
Cold air from the storm will cause rain to change to snow or snow showers from west to east during this period. Gusty winds are likely to accompany the snow farther to the east over the Great Lakes region to the eastern end of the Ohio Valley.
From Monday to Monday night, as one part of the storm center weakens, a new center may form along in the coastal Northeast. Depending on how quickly this occurs, rain may change to heavy snow in parts of upstate New York and New England.
How much snow do you think will fall? Click on the image above to make your prediction now and play Forecaster Challenge.