This week, a winter storm system is set to bring harsh conditions to a significant portion of the northern U.S., spanning approximately 2,500 miles.
Already, certain areas in the intermountain West have been feeling its effects, causing disruption in many areas of life, including travel. To get the latest on this weather system and how it could potentially affect your life this week, please see below.
Blizzard Conditions Taking Aim at Northern Plains and Upper Midwest An expansive section of the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest, as well as a substantial part of the Rocky Mountains to the east, are facing storm warnings.
In addition, portions of Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota have blizzard warnings due to the powerful winds that will come with the snow.
Forecasters are predicting substantial disruption of traveling in the next few days, with snowfall of 1 – 2 feet which will extend from South Dakota to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
The snow will start on Tuesday and go on until Thursday. This week, the Twin Cities are projected to receive a hefty 18 inches of snow, with Minneapolis being the epicenter of the storm. This could even break the February record of 13.8 inches from a single event.
Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport may be shut down for a short period due to this high level of snow. This will almost certainly lead to a large number of flight cancelations and delays, generating a wave of air travel disturbances across the nation.
Blizzards may bring about difficulties for those traveling along interstates 29, 35, 90, and 94. With hefty snowfall and winds, some parts of the highway may require short-term shutdowns during the storm's peak.
Apart from the plentiful snow, there will also be the threat of a hazardous icy mix in the vicinity. The icy blend is expected to occur near the Iowa and Nebraska border, and reach up to the northern corner of New England.
It is anticipated that an area of ice measuring 1,300 miles in length will form near Omaha, Nebraska, reaching all the way to New Hampshire's coastline. The cities of Chicago, Des Moines, Milwaukee, and Detroit are likely to be affected. Accumulations of 0.25 - 0.50 inches of ice could potentially disrupt power and render roads unusable.
Delays in airline operations are probable in Chicago and Detroit airports as workers need to take time for deicing operations. The delays will probably start on Wednesday and stretch until Thursday morning. Please remember to check the status of your flight if your journey takes you through any of these airports.
Moving to the east, the mix of rain, snow, and ice will vary depending on the temperature when the precipitation begins. The Ohio Valley and the lower Hudson Valley of New York will likely not experience an abundance of ice, but this could bring about problems in higher areas. Thus, it is always a good idea to be prudent when driving for the first time following a storm.
In the northern portion of England, as well as Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, an accumulation of 12 – 18 inches of snow is forecasted. Coastal Maine and New York's upstate region will likely acquire 6 – 12 inches. This snow won't be quite enough to set records, yet will still cause a lot of problems.
The weather maker will introduce cold air to the north, whilst a significant amount of warm air will drift into the southeastern U.S. and beyond due to an area of high pressure located near Bermuda in the Pacific Ocean.
Wednesday could be a stormy day in the Ozarks, the Ohio Valley, the central Appalachians, and the mid-Atlantic, as the warm side of the storm could bring severe weather.
The forecast for many East Coast cities, like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia, is rain. The Midwest is no exception, with St. Louis, Cleveland, and Cincinnati also expecting wet weather.
Will this week's snowstorm be by the end of winter? Predictions suggest that more snow and ice are coming to the Upper Midwest and Northeast, carrying February out on a chill. This could continue into the beginning of March.
The West Coast is expecting a deluge of rain and snow, particularly in the Southern California area, beginning Thursday and lasting into the weekend. It is essential to stay cognizant of the forecast as it becomes clearer in the upcoming days.