Heavy, wind-swept snow to pummel central U.S. following Christmas

As people hit the road and take to the sky in the days following Christmas, a snowstorm is expected to take shape over part of the central United States.

"There is a potential for major travel disruptions with this storm," AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido said.

The storm will first bring rain and snow to California and the Southwest through Christmas Day before gaining strength east of the Rockies at midweek.

While the storm's exact track and corridor of heaviest snow are not set in stone just yet, people living in or traveling through the south-central Rockies, northern Plains and Upper Midwest should prepare for potential delays during post-Christmas travel.

Midweek outlook 12.24 AM

Given the potential for this snowstorm to impact the major hubs of Denver and Minneapolis, ripple-effect delays can spread to airports in other parts of the country that are not directly affected by the storm.

Even travelers across the southern tier of the central United States can experience disruptions, albeit to a lesser extent, due to rain, flooding and severe thunderstorms.

On the northern side of this system, heavy, wind-swept snow will be possible from the south-central Rockies into the north-central Plains and Upper Midwest, according to Vido.

At this time, the greatest risk of accumulating snowfall and travel disruptions may extend from northeastern New Mexico to central and eastern Colorado, western and northern Nebraska, South Dakota, south-central North Dakota, much of Minnesota, central and northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.

In a portion of this corridor, snow totals can reach 12 inches or more.

Storm Threat central us 12.24 AM

"Cities like Denver and Minneapolis may contend with this snowstorm Wednesday to Thursday," Vido said.

Snow can linger across the Upper Midwest on Friday, according to Vido.

Gusty winds can further complicate travel conditions by causing blowing and drifting snow and localized whiteouts on the roadways.

People with plans to travel along stretches of interstates 25, 29, 35, 70, 76, 80, 90 and 94 during the second half of the week should closely monitor the forecast in the coming days.

Download the AccuWeather app to get the latest forecast for your route.

"A swath of wintry mix, including ice, is likely to develop in between the plain rain and snow areas of the Central states," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "As with the case of the heaviest snow, the area of wintry mix will depend on the storm's track."

Precipitation can begin as snow in some areas before a push of milder air causes a changeover to a wintry mix or even all rain. Snowfall accumulations may be significantly cut down in such a case.

As colder air wraps in on the back side of the storm, locations that begin as rain could end as a period of heavy snow. This can occur in portions of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and southern Wisconsin.

Continue to check back with AccuWeather for the latest details on this upcoming storm.

12 PHOTOS
Snow batters Midwest after Thanksgiving
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Snow batters Midwest after Thanksgiving
Heavy traffic is seen on Interstate 190 near O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. A winter storm is expected to dump snow across the Midwest, on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Snow Warning signs mark an entrance to the Kansas Turnpike near Lawrence, Kan., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. The turnpike section of I-70 remains open. I-70 is closed west of Junction City, Kan. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Pedestrians walk as snow falls Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. A winter storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow on Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Rows of corn stalks stand in blowing snow north of Nebraska City, Neb., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Blizzard-like conditions have closed highways and delayed air travel as a winter storm moves through the Midwest. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 26: Residents in Humboldt Park dig out after an early winter snowstorm dumped several inches snow on the neighborhood on November 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The storm, which started yesterday morning with rain turning to snow, dumped upwards to a foot of snow in Chicago and the surrounding area. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Covered in plastic bags, Lyubov Menkevich walks near the Palatine Trails in the snow on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Palatine, Ill. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 26: Residents in Humboldt Park dig out after an early winter snowstorm dumped several inches snow on the neighborhood on November 26, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The storm, which started yesterday morning with rain turning to snow, dumped upwards to a foot of snow in Chicago and the surrounding area. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A woman shovels snow around her stuck car during a snowstorm in Arlington Heights, Illinois, U.S. November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
A snow plow truck clears the streets in Des Plaines, Illinois, U.S. November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski
Workers carry snow shovels as snow falls Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. A winter storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow on Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
A pedestrian walks as snow falls Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in downtown Kansas City, Mo. A winter storm blanketed much of the central Midwest with snow on Sunday at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing blizzard-like conditions that grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Snow builds on road signs near Lawrence, Kan., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. I-70 is closes from Junction City, Kan., to Wakeeney, Kan., due to low visibility. The area is in a blizzard warning. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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