Blizzard to develop across central US at midweek, threaten significant travel disruptions

The powerful March storm targeting the central United States is expected to unload heavy snow and blizzard conditions from Colorado to North Dakota at midweek.

This is the same storm set to spark an outbreak of severe weather and kick up damaging non-thunderstorm winds across the South Central states.

After snow spreads and creates slippery travel over the mountains of the West during the first part of this week, the storm will cause heavy snow and gusty winds to ramp up across Colorado and spread to neighboring parts of the central High Plains on Wednesday.

The snowstorm should then track northeastward to the northern Plains Wednesday night into Thursday.

"Over six inches of snow can be expected from northern Colorado, including Denver, to western Nebraska, central South Dakota and southeastern North Dakota," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis. "Some places will even pick up over a foot."

Related: Winter storm blasts U.S. Southeast:

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Winter storm blasts U.S. Southeast leaving hundreds of thousands without power
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Winter storm blasts U.S. Southeast leaving hundreds of thousands without power
A snow-covered car is parked outside a home in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday - causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A man jogs with his dog down a snow-covered street in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday - causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Joslyn Fontanella, 8, takes a break from shoveling a walkway to taste some snow in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday, causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A driver in a small car follows three snow plows down a major road in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday - causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Cars move slowly on a snowy Durham, N.C., street after several inches fell on Sunday Dec. 9, 2018. A storm spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South has millions of people in its path, raising the threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and possible power outages. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)
A snow plow moves on a snowy Durham, N.C., street after several inches fell on Sunday Dec. 9, 2018. A storm spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South has millions of people in its path, raising the threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and possible power outages. (AP Photo/Jonathan Drew)
A Duke Energy crew works to restore power in Raleigh, N.C,. as snow continues to fall Sunday morning, Dec. 9, 2018. A storm spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South has millions of people in its path, raising the threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and power outages. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)
A couple shovels their driveway in Greensboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday - causing dangerously icy roads, immobilizing snowfalls and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people.(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 06: A woman jumps over flowing water along East Santa Clara Avenue in Santa Ana as heavy rainfall fell throughout Orange County on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Heavy rain from a winter storm passing through Southern California flooded streets. (Photo by Mark Rightmire/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
SANTA ANA, CA - DECEMBER 06: A curious onlooker watches a flash flood waters from heavy rainfall rushes through Hart Park in Orange on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Heavy rain from a winter storm passing through Southern California flooded streets. (Photo by Mark Rightmire/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
COSTA MESA, CA - DECEMBER 06: Joe Suzuki paddles around submerged cars on Pomona Avenue near 17th Street in Costa Mesa, CA, on Thursday, Dec 6, 2018. Heavy rain from a winter storm passing through Southern California flooded streets. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
GARDEN GROVE, CA - DECEMBER 06: A women rides her bicycle on the sidewalk of Downie Place near Fairview Street in Garden Grove, CA, on Thursday, Dec 6, 2018. Heavy rain from a winter storm passing through Southern California flooded streets. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
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In addition to Denver, other cities in the current path of the heaviest swath of snow include Cheyenne, Wyoming; Sidney, Nebraska; Pierre, South Dakota; and Fargo, North Dakota.

AccuWeather meteorologists will continue to monitor the exact track of the storm as any shift could cause the burying snow band to set up west or east of these cities.

"On top of the heavy snow, strong winds will lead to blizzard conditions with very low visibility and snow-packed roads," according to Travis.

Major disruptions to travel and daily routines await those in the path of this blizzard.

Travel can become extremely difficult to impossible along interstates 25, 29, 70, 76, 80 and 90. Officials may be forced to close stretches of these interstates and other highways.

"Anyone with plans to travel across these areas midweek will want to plan ahead for this disruptive storm," added Travis.

Cancellations are expected to mount on Wednesday as the blizzard rages at Denver International Airport. The airport may be forced to close at the height of the storm with disruptions likely to persist in the days after the storm as crews work to clear runways, de-ice planes and get flights back on schedule.

The ripple effect of disruptions at Denver can impact travelers elsewhere in the nation.

Schools not on spring break may be forced to close for one or more days.

Residents may also face power outages due to the strong winds, in addition to severe blowing and drifting snow. The greatest risk zone for regional to widespread power outages with the blizzard may lie from eastern Colorado to central South Dakota.

The snow can also be heavy and wet in nature where it starts as rain, making shoveling difficult in the storm's aftermath. The elderly and anyone with heart-issues should seek assistance in clearing sidewalks and driveways.

On the warmer side of the storm, heavy rain can trigger urban and flash flooding across a large swath of the Plains from Texas to southern Minnesota.

Melting snow can cause such issues to occur faster in the northern Plains. Residents should clear storm drains of snow to help mitigate flooding.

Omaha, Nebraska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Minneapolis are expected to be in the path of the storm's soaking rain.

The rain may end as a little snow in all of these cities. Even if there is not a significant accumulation, any lingering wet areas can freeze on Thursday night as fresh cold air plunges in behind the storm.

"We expect a major blizzard is expected to unfold with winds likely to approach hurricane force, heavy snow and massive drifts," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

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